Do you believe your website security is sufficient to protect your internet business, your website and your customer details? It is estimated that around 10,000 websites around the world are hacked on a daily basis.
There is a tendency for hackers to target small and medium businesses because typically, they have less or no security measures in place. In many cases small and even medium businesses will choose to have a website built or maintained based on the cheapest cost. We can tell you this is false economy. A professionally created website cannot and should not, be thrown together in a hurry and on the cheap.
As web developers, who are very familiar with client horror stories of inadequate web development experiences. We have rescued many clients who have fallen afoul of poor quality developers who are quick to over-charge, but are inexperienced and use in-expert development practices. We understand how difficult it can be to find a good web designer from amongst the many available, in a field you yourself know little about. Paying top prices doesn’t necessarily mean getting a top result, unfortunately.
Website Security is Essential
In today’s internet, having your website secured against hackers and malware is essential. It doesn’t matter how small your website is or whether it is database driven or not, your website is vulnerable to attacks if proper procedures are not observed, and on-going maintenance by your website developer is not employed.
We have many clients who don’t believe in the need for on-going website monitoring and maintenance – ie: system updates and backups. Despite our best efforts to explain the need for both security and updating their websites with new content, they choose to ignore the sensible advice we provide and slowly sink backwards into the organic ranking and outdated coding abyss and are shocked when no-one can find their website or it is hacked and their domain name or email is black-listed by Google.
This regrettable state of affairs is avoidable, but of course it does come at a cost. It’s a little like not regularly checking the oil and water or tyres on your car and ensuring services are done as your mechanic advises. If you keep driving and ignoring the fact that time takes it’s toll, one day you are far from home with an over-heated motor or worse – and very out of pocket.
The Role of Web Servers
Web servers open a window between your network and the world. The care taken with server maintenance, web application updates and your web site coding will define the size of that window, limit the kind of information that can pass through it and thus establish the degree of website security you will need to have. Basically, the mot secure web server is the one that is turned off and not working at all.
Server hosts or web servers, are the companies which provide the space on a server (computer) which allows your website to be viewed by the world. If your server host company doesn’t have tight security protocols in place, if they don’t update their servers to use the latest server software and don’t monitor their servers and perform regular scans and backups, your website and thousands of others which use those servers are at risk.
You have two options: One, take the time to learn about quality server hosting yourself so you understand the process, or Two, ensure you are dealing with a web developer who knows their stuff and can advise you on whether the server you use follows good security practices. A good web developer who offers server hosting services to their clients, will always ensure they are using security conscious and efficient server hosts. We ourselves use servers based here in Australia and we re-sell to our clients with complete confidence that we resell server space which is very well secured and maintained.
Website Security Risks
If your website has assets of importance or if anything about your website puts you in the public spotlight then your web security will eventually be tested. In other words, someone will try to hack into it.
It is an established fact that poorly written software creates security issues. The number of bugs that could create website security issues is directly proportional to the size and complexity of your web applications and web server. Most complex programs either have bugs or at the very least, weaknesses, and to add to that, web servers are inherently complex programs. Websites themselves may be complex and intentionally invite ever greater interaction with the public. And so the opportunities for security holes are many and growing.
The very same programming that increases the value of a web site, also allows scripts or SQL commands to be executed on your web and database servers in response to visitor requests. Any web-based form or script installed on your site may have weaknesses and present a web security risk.
The balance between allowing website visitors access to your resources through a website and keeping unwanted visitors out of your network is a delicate one. There is no one setting that establishes totally effective security at an impregnable level. There may be dozens if not hundreds of settings in a web server alone. And then there is the website code….
Website Visitor Security
A website security issue is faced by your website visitors as well. A common web site attack involves the concealed installation of code that will exploit the browsers of visitors. Your own website is not the end target in these attacks. There are, at any one time, many thousands of web sites out there that have been compromised. The owners have no idea that anything has been added to their websites and that their visitors and their personal information are at risk. Visitors subject to successful attacks may be installing nasty code onto their computers and be completely unaware of it.
This article only touches on the need for website security. It doesn’t provide answers or solutions. If you have questions about your website security and how it can be managed, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to advise.