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When you run a business online, whether it is a website for your brick-and-mortar business or an e-commerce website, you need to think about security. There is a lot of information sent over a website, from your own confidential information to a customer’s credit card and banking information, social security number, name, address, and phone number. It is essential that you protect your website from hackers and intruders the best you can.

Protect Your Network From Intruders

Protecting your network is a big part of protecting your website from hackers. This is a good place to start and is easy to implement. Begin by ensuring you have a firewall up and that it is active at all times. While a firewall alone might not be enough to completely protect your server, it definitely goes far in keeping hackers and intruders out. There are different types of firewalls, so you might want to discuss this with a security expert.

After making sure you have a good firewall, also protect your network with strong passwords. This goes for the network itself and anything tied into your business website. Never use any word that can be found in the dictionary, since they are easier to guess. Also avoid using names or words and numbers that can be associated with you, like a business name, address, phone number, social security number, or license plate number. It should only be a combination of numbers and letters, including uppercase and lowercase letters, and symbols. Change the password periodically and don’t use the same password for everything.

Finally, limit the access to the server. There is no reason all employees should have the same server access. If you have an IT team, they should be the only ones with access, aside from yourself.

Have Your Site SSL Encrypted

Once you know your network is secure, it is time to secure access to the website itself. An excellent way to do this is by having your website SSL encrypted. Recent studies conducted by Blue Coat found that as much as 35% of all traffic is now SSL encrypted online. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption is a type of security technology that protects sensitive information from being transmitted to an intruder. It means that if you are selling products online, a customer can enter their home address and credit card number without a hacker being able to access the data. Many Internet users now know to look for the “Https” instead of “Http” at the beginning of a web address before entering any personal or confidential information. They know that the extra “S” means it has proper SSL encryption.

Schedule Updates and Maintenance

Some security issues occur due to having out-of-date software or equipment. It is essential that when you run a website or small business, you are keeping up with the required updates. For example, the software you use is likely to have occasional updates. Make sure you keep up with these, in addition to your computer and server’s updates as they become available. If you are using an out-of-date software program, it makes it easier for an experienced hacker to gain access.

Maintaining the server and network is also important, which should be done by updates your network administrator sends to you. Again, if you are new to maintaining a server and network, you might want to consult the hosting service or another professional and ask about updates you need to do manually. Some of these updates might be done automatically. Also ensure that the equipment you are using for your network and server is updated and the best available.

There are consultants that specialize in network and website security if you are still unsure about how protected you and your customers or clients will be. Making sure you have a firewall, regular updates, and SSL encryption are good places to start and provide exceptional security for your website.