What If My Website Is Not Secure?

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When it comes on to web security, there are usually many questions that are asked. At times it seems there are more questions than answers. Having a not secure website comes with many risks and if you are a website owner, you should be made aware of them and make good on sharing a great website experience with your visitors. Hopefully after reading this article, you will have some of your questions answered to make this possible. Let’s start with website security.

What is website security?

Website security speaks to the actions, steps or measures taken to protect data and information being shared on a website (domain). Its main purpose is to eliminate and prevent cyberattacks to the website intended for illicit gains/intentions.

Why should you have a secured website?

A secured website means that its developers have taken the steps to protect and safeguard the website against various cyberattacks, such as: malware, DDoS attacks, defacement and so on. To identify a safe website is pretty easy. Whenever a website is deemed as “safe” this is usually indicated by the protocol located in the site’s URL as HTTPS which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.

This indicates to the visitors that the current connection established to this website is secured. The key tool here in securing a website comes down to what is called a Secured Sockets Layer or SSL Certificate, which indicates that there is an encrypted connection active. More on this later.

What happens if my website is not secured?

When a website is not secure, the site runs the risks of being exposed to several attacks. As stated earlier, a secure website can be identified by looking at the URL bar for a HTTPS indicator however, for a not secure website the “S” is missing. Making it HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and usually when the site is accessed, there is a warning/safety sign indicating that the website is not secured. With HTTP, data is being transferred without encryption. Therefore intruders can intercept and decipher the data being transmitted. For a website owner, having a not secure website can affect your website in a number ways. Let’s take a look at some of them.

1. Cost to repair or fix issues

For web developers, it is actually cheaper to invest in security for your website than risk the website being exposed. If the website comes under a cyberattack, you may lose clients as a result of the breach. Additionally clients may not feel any sense of security when accessing this website thus resulting in a decrease in client-base.

If there is a breach and sensitive information belonging to clients are exposed, the business automatically becomes liable for various penalties. Therefore, it is important for website owners spend the time to ensure that their website is secured.

2. Reputation Ruin

A website’s integrity is very important and this should be reflected in its reputation. Visitors to any website often visits site more frequently because of this. Sites such as Google, Yahoo, Amazon and so on have a reputation to maintain. If any website fails to establish and maintain a solid reputation as a result of a breach, its reputation is automatically negatively impacted.

Clients are usually less likely to revisit and share unsecure website with others. By establishing a secure and safe website for clients to use, a significant boost in confidence and trust is extended.

3. Reduce Traffic

A cyberattack on a website may block access to that site forcing visitors to use another website. This directly impacts traffic to the site as visitors often see this as being unreliable and somewhat unprofessional. Visitors are less likely to enquire what happened but rather find an alternative which results in a reduction of traffic to that site. In addition, if clients are made aware of the cyberattack, they will more likely stop using that website resulting in a loss of traffic.

How to secure your website?

1. Use an SSL Certificate

As mentioned before briefly, a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is a digital certificate which certifies and authenticates that a website’s identity is established and that the connections between servers are encrypted. This will determine if a website is safe for use and allows the website to be upgraded to a HTTPS protocol.

When a website is not secure, it remains at HTTP. SSL certificates establishes a website’s data security; which means all the sensitive information that will be shared across the servers is protected. SSL certificates protects a website from data breach, therefore without it, both the user and the developer are at a higher risk of having a data breach.

2. Get a Web Application Firewall (WAF)

If you own a website, you should consider installing a WAF to filter traffic coming in to the website. WAFs block harmful bots and cyberattacks that can be sent across the web server. WAFs partnered with other security features also reduces the vulnerabilities of the website.

3. Make frequent software and plugin updates

As technology advances, software and plugins becomes outdated, and as such, these become potential weaknesses in the system. Website owners should periodically update their software and plugins to enhance the security as time goes by. When web software and plugins are up-to-date, they further add to the strength and security of the website, making it less susceptible to cyberattacks.

4. Tighten Network Security

Ensuring that only a limited number of users have access to the website’s key tools is paramount. If you own and operate a website, only trustworthy persons should have access to your web tools. It would help to set up clearance access for different users and segregating duties or limiting control of important areas of the website. Additionally, a strong password works and should be used as a layer of security. If possible, employing a security expert to increase website data security could be an asset.

5. Perform Website Backups

As a last case scenario, developers should do regular back-ups of data in the event an attack does take place. This ensures that you have the most recent copy of your website saved and you are able to restore your website quickly if the need arises.

In Closing

A not secure website presents many negative implications for a website owner. With the increased use of technology and its inclusion as a part of our everyday life, it is paramount that if you own a website, time should be taken to ensure that your website is secure. Consider constantly enhancing the security measures to match with the efforts of intruders. In so doing, you will be more into smiling at the size of your income than crying at the sight of your expenses.