This is the final post in a four-post series about how to prevent website hacking.
“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Your Website is Under Attack—and It’s Time to Put on Your Armor
If the CIA, FBI, and SEC websites can get hacked—and they have!—yours can, too. No one is impervious to attacks, and hackers will attempt to break into your site 24/7/365.
The key is for you and your website host to assume that hacks are going to happen so you can both be prepared. So ask these questions to any website host you are considering hiring:
- How often will you back up my website?
- How quickly can you restore my pre-hack version?
- What measures do you have in place to prevent and detect hacks?
If the host responds thoroughly with energy and enthusiasm, hire him or her and never look back. This person will be as vital as your lawyer and your accountant when it comes to your business’s longevity.
If the host responds by twiddling his thumbs or looking at his feet, run for the hills!
4 Simple Ways to Keep Your Website Secure
Once you’re sure your hosting provider will be proactive about your site’s safety, you must do your part, too. The good news is that a few simple daily steps can make all the difference.
- Visit your site twice a day, every day—on a desktop computer AND a smartphone. Did you know that some popular hacks affect only the mobile version of your website? Too many business owners don’t know that until it’s too late. Make it part of your daily routine to check your site on multiple devices—both after you arrive to work and before you leave. If you notice anything suspicious, report it to your webmaster immediately.
- Look at your analytics. Seen any referrals from porn sites? What about China or Russia? If so, tell your webmaster ASAP. Most of these referrals are benign spam attempts, but you can never be sure. The good news is that if you do business only in the 50 states, your Web host can make your website invisible to the rest of the world!
- Update your software. Is your site on WordPress? You should receive email notices when a new version of your software is available. Most WordPress updates are security patches and require only the click of a button to make your website even more hack-resistant.
- Get a copy of your website’s backup at least once a month. Your Web host already backs up your website, right? For added protection, ask to receive a monthly copy of your website’s files and data so you can store them locally. Why? No one should have unilateral power over your website except you. Website hosts aren’t always cooperative when you want to switch providers.
As we’ve explained throughout this blog series, there is no 100% safeguard against website hacking. In fact, a complacent, set-it-and-forget-it approach will increase your chances of getting hacked—and your chances of being sued if your hack spreads to someone else’s computer.
My three keys for success? Being prepared, staying vigilant, and hiring a reliable website host in the first place!
Want to know more about how to prevent website hacking? Call us at (410) 312-0081.
– Randy Goldstein, Web Programmer and Hosting Services Provider