Nine out of 10 small business start-ups have a website, according to a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association, and it is just one of the multiple digital business tools. employed by about 70 percent of business owners today. There are numerous business advisers who insist that the website is the “hub” and that all marketing efforts should derive from the website and link back to it in order to be of business benefit.
In view of its importance, then, how can a business owner take effective steps not only to ensure website effectiveness, but to protect it from harm and control the content it contains? Just what are the greatest threats?
Carelessness and malicious tampering are cousins. Locking the door against a visit by either is smart business. It is not unfair to say that everyone recognizes the benefits of regularly scheduled backup procedures and periodic security checks. It is the actual practice that is sometimes neglected. Major problems can be caused by such neglect.
If you have ever had to reconstruct a website because of lost or corrupted files, you know the time, effort and money entailed.
And, if hacking forces shutdown of your website, it can damage your business credibility, your customer support and your bottom line as well as require giant steps to solve immediate problems. The “web” of influence can be enormous, and the lasting damage from just one incident cannot be measured in simple economic terms.
Once you have regular backup procedures in place, on a scheduled periodic basis that works for you, the second vital concern is website security. Open-source software that makes it easy for you to find, install and use good platforms, scripts and plug-ins also enables malicious users to easily infiltrate and alter your website. Always install the newest updated versions to minimize that risk.
In addition, utilize security plug-ins that actively fight hacking attempts. Many are free of charge, and are designed to actively resist and counter the prevalent hacking attempts that threaten your website security. Copyblogger’s Managed WordPress hosting division, notes that there are between 50,000 and 180,000 unauthorized log-in attempts every day at their hosted sites.
Online security should be an ongoing responsibility for everyone, not just a business website owner, according to Jerod Miller, who offers 10 simple ways to stay ahead of the threats.
Some of the protective actions you can take are derived from simple common sense. It may be a little more difficult for you to remember a 10-character password that contains symbols, numerals and capitals in addition to an alphabet string, but that simple trick also foils hackers and vandals. Wouldn’t you rather memorize a difficult password than face Google shutdown because of a malicious malware infection?
As already stated, the second easy tactic to protect your website is to keep up with updates. The updates are issued for a reason: They make everything work better, provide safety and security and plug holes that might exist. You would be remiss to not to take advantage of them. They’re free.
Third, think about who and how your admin access operates for your site. Set it up in a logical way that ensures your ability to monitor and maintain your site, add the information you choose to install on a regular basis and in an efficient way, and continue to monitor procedures.
Professional website hosting can also make a vital difference for the safety of your business website. Choose your hosting service with care, and you take a giant step toward security as well, allowing you to concentrate on the truly important tasks of growing your business, serving your customers, and maximizing your profits. Your hosting service acts as a defensive team, and also as first responder in case of attack. To compare various services, and pick the best web host for your website needs check out WhoIsHostingThis.com.
In addition to choosing a reliable hosting service, there are two other control measures that you should never abandon: Always connect from a secured website, and manage your website only via encrypted connection. Just make these two procedures an unbreakable habit.
If you’re new to the “digital game,” or if you are trying to go it alone in an effort to get your small business up and running, you may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of site security and management requirements. Business advisers note that your website can be simple and still effective; flash and expensive design are not necessary to promote your message.
The best advice available is to focus on simplicity in the beginning, assure that your site is safe and that it links to other social media or to established methods of contact in order to promote your brand, your products or your service.
Morris also advises “cleaning” your site to make it safer, simpler and more effective. Eliminate old themes and plug-ins, he says. Organize your files, “clean your cabinets,” and update the structure if you must. Keeping your website tidy will not only make problem detection easier, but will ease the reconstruction if it becomes necessary.
Finally, the issues of control and vigilance are supremely important. In the digital world, as in previous times, there are always opportunists and those who choose to wreak havoc. Keep your finger on the pulse of your business and maintain control over your website personally or through a trusted, designated “other person.” Because your website is not static, it requires regular maintenance and attention. Neglect it and you will pay the consequences.
Be vigilant. Just as your own website is not a finished product, neither is the World Wide Web. One thing is certain: Today’s threats may be forgotten tomorrow. But, surely, there will be new challenges to website security looming large on the horizon. You must study up and take charge.