Online Security

Website Security 101

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Category: Online Security , Securing Your Website

Your business website should represent every aspect of your business — and that definitely includes security, honesty, trustworthiness and ethics.

Fortunately, a few simple actions can insure that your business website more than lives up to the standards you set, and helps assure that no one who visits your website will get any unpleasant surprises.

Webhosting Security

The largest and most familiar online threats — viruses and worms, identity theft, hacking — will be the primary responsibility of your webhosting service, the company that actually stores your business website on its computers, and may also maintain your website domain (address).

Reputable webhosting services and companies:

  • Maintain strong and constantly updated anti-virus, anti-spam and firewall software, as well as installing all relevant updates and patches as soon as they become available. Before signing up with any webhosting company, make sure that they help provide these fundamental security features.
  • Offer recognizable and respected secure communications, including high-level encryption (translation of confidential information into code) and transaction privacy protection.
    • If your website doesn't offer credit card and other monetary transactions — many small and medium-sized businesses don't — your webhosting service should still offer a Site Confirm Seal that you can post on your business Web site to confirm at a glance its trustworthiness and respectability.
  • Protect you against the hijacking of your own website by criminals or hackers who want to use it for malicious purposes. Review the list of features and services your webhosting company offers and ask about their anti-hijacking (and Web site domain name) protections.
  • Adhere to the same standards and respect for your customers that you do: for your business, your own website should not share or otherwise disclose the names (including email addresses) of your customers, prospects and visitors.

Personal Approaches To Business Website Security

In addition to security services provided by your webhosting company, there are steps you can and should take to add your own assurances to your business website's security profile:

  • Write a website policy that no customer or visitor information will be shared with any third-party, and post the guarantee (over your signature) on a special page within your own website. A link to that page from other business website pages provides an easy and effective way to put a "face" on your commitment to strong security practices and policies.
  • Write a computer and business website security policy for your employees, and insist that they sign it and follow its rules.
  • Take advantage of high-profile/low-cost graphical reinforcements of security practices and policies such as the Site Confirm Seal mentioned above; make sure that your web designer — or you, if you make your own web pages — post such graphics prominently on your business website's home page and on all other pages.

A visit to your business website should be professional, informative and above all secure. By working closely with your webhosting service and Web designer (and by following these rules yourself if you make your own Web pages) neither you, nor more importantly your customers, will have to deal with security issues when dealing with your business' website.