When running a business online, in addition to providing your customers with the best possible products or services in your field, website protection should be at the forefront of your priorities. Protecting your website against malicious programs and attacks by hackers not only benefits your business in the short-term, you’ll also flourish in the long-term by looking out for your customers and ensuring their private information will never fall into the wrong hands.
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In addition to the tools listed above, you should check out the website protection checklist we’ve prepared below. Follow these tips, and you can feel safe in knowing that your website and customers are well-protected from malicious elements.
1. Dedicated Server
Before you go about building an online e-commerce empire, you need to ensure that your website runs on a server that is powerful enough to meet you and your clients’ needs. You can save some money by choosing a shared server, but you’ll also have to be willing to deal with the consequences. Shared hosting often entails limited bandwidth, skimpy storage space, and in many cases, dubious data security.
Dedicated servers, on the other hand, give you a lot more freedom in terms of size and bandwith. You and your clients will also benefit from increased data security. Not only will transactions be more secure on your site, your organization’s private information will also be protected, so the prying eyes of the web can’t take advantage of you either. Again, you can expect to pay more for a dedicate server than shared hosting, but when it comes to website protection, it pays not to be penny wise and pound foolish.
2. Anti-Malicious Software Protection
It’s sad but true: unscrupulous souls are out there trying to steal the personal information of you and your clients. Whether it’s potential attacks by malicious software (malware) or hacking, your online store can be sabotaged and compromised in the blink of an eye if you’re not careful. That’s why you need to ensure that your website is protected from malware. Bear in mind that most computer viruses are written for Microsoft platforms, making it especially necessary to defend yourself against any potential viruses if you’re using a Windows server. Also, keep in mind that even if you’re running a Linux server, you can still be vulnerable to viruses designed to target Windows.
Again, you’re certain to lose out on sales if you don’t keep your website virus-free. Potential clients may not even reach your website, because their browser will warn them to turn back if your site is infested.
So how do you determine if your website has been hit with a nasty virus? It’s actually pretty easy — and free! Simply take a look at the list of free anti-virus website scanners we’ve provided above.
Once you’ve located the source(s) of your virus problems, you can clean or remove the infected files and re-upload them to your server. Because scanning your website for viruses is free, thanks to the tools above, you should regularly do so to keep your website safe and functioning.
3. Restricting Access to Important Files/Folders
If you have a file or directory that contains personal information, ensure that it is not accessible by the general public. To do this, you can restrict access using certain programs, such as Folder Lock, which utilizes password protection, data encryption and more to keep prying eyes out of your private information.
4. SSL Certification
If your website features a checkout/virtual shopping cart feature, you owe it to your clients to offer a secure payment gateway that protects their private information. SSL Certification is a standard method for ensuring that your e-commerce site is secure. There are many ways to acquire an SSL Certificate for your website. A hosting service, such as GoDaddy, may be willing to provide one for a price, or you can obtain one from a web security company, such as Symantec.com.
SSL certificates ensures that a safe, secure transaction occurs whenever your customers attempt to buy your products or services. This process is carried out through a combination of data encryption and a secured communication between your clients’ web browsers and your SSL secure server.
Acquiring these certificates isn’t free (nor are they expensive). However, if you decide to cut corners and do not elect to secure your website’s payment gateway, you will pay a different price in the form of lost sales. Your customers will be able to see, through their web browser, that your website is not secure, and it is unlikely that they will go forward with a transaction. We can hardly blame them.
Remember, website protection helps you build a bond of trust between you and your customers. Making prospects and clients feel safe when making transactions on your website is one of the most important things an online business can accomplish.