Putting a website security plan in place is necessary for the safety of your website. Without such a plan, you can never ensure the security of your server and user data stored in it because there’ll be numerous unfixed vulnerabilities and no clear solutions to utilize in the situation of being hacked.
13-Step Guide to Creating A Successful Web Security Plan for Your Server and Data
Because ultimately, it’s planning that saves you from chaos in trying times! No plan means no solution and chaos all around.
Now, if you already know all of that but could not put your website security plan in place because you didn’t know how to go about it, don’t worry.
You’ve come to the right place, and by the end of this article, you’ll know everything necessary to create a proactive web security plan. Let’s get started!
1. Use SSL Certificates
The first, most basic step that you should take to protect your website is installing an SSL certificate on the server. This step should be taken when your website goes live at the beginning itself, but if you didn’t take it at that time, you should do it now.
An SSL certificate protects your visitors from a variety of phishing and Man-in-The-Middle (MiTM) attacks. In case you don’t know where to get your SSL certificate then there are so many SSL providers available in the market such as Comodo, Thawte, GlobalSign, RapidSSL certificates, etc. who can help you to choose the best SSL certificate for your online venture. SSL certificates render authenticity and trust factor to your website by encrypting the in-transit data between a web browser and client-server.
2. Ensure To Have A Backup
Once you’ve your website up and running with an SSL certificate, the next important step is to ensure that all your website data is backed up regularly. The data backup prepares you for the worst-case scenario when your website is hacked despite all the necessary precautions.
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You can swiftly migrate your website to another server in such a situation if you have a backup. On the other hand, if you don’t have a backup, it can be extremely difficult to move to another server without losing your data, forcing you to stay on a compromised server for much longer, resulting in more data loss and damage.
3. Make security everyone’s priority
One person can’t ensure cybersecurity. If others in your organization, or even your customers, are not serious about it, then it will backfire for everyone. Therefore, it’s necessary to make cybersecurity a priority for everyone in your organization and even outside your organization among people who access your site.
As a general rule of thumb, all your employees and customers should use strong passwords, double-check the domain before logging in, and protect their devices with a good antivirus and anti-malware program.
Other rules may vary depending on the nature of your organization and data, and they may be suggested by dedicated cybersecurity professionals.
4. Install A Firewall
A firewall program protects your website from a wide range of common security threats like DDoS attacks, spam, bots, brute force attacks, and so on.
By protecting your site against these attacks, a firewall doesn’t only keep your site secure but also optimizes its performance, which a wide range of bot traffic would have otherwise compromised. Therefore, you should invest in a good web application firewall for the safety of your site.
5. Keep Everything Updated
Often websites get hacked not because they forgot to configure any necessary security tool but because they didn’t update the software and other tools that they’ve configured. Whether it’s a malware scanner, a plugin, the CMS, or the server’s OS – everything requires an update after some time to keep up with the new threats that emerge in the market of cybersecurity.
If you’re not updating your software regularly, you’re giving cybercriminals the upper hand to attack your website.
6. Introduce a bounty program
Discovering vulnerabilities in any website is not the work of a few people alone. If you want to ensure the best security standard on your site, you need to ensure that as many vulnerabilities as possible have been fixed. And to ensure that you need the help of as many minds as possible.
So how do you get as many talented minds as possible to fix the vulnerabilities in your site? By starting with a bounty program. A bounty program may seem like an expensive affair because it requires fairly rewarding every bounty hunter.
Still, in the long run, it can save you thousands of dollars that would have been wasted if someone took advantage of those vulnerabilities. So, if your budget allows, introduce a bounty program for the safety of your website and network.
7. Scan your website for vulnerabilities
Regularly scanning your website for vulnerabilities is also necessary to ensure its safety. New vulnerabilities keep emerging every day, and if you don’t keep checking for them, then there’s a good chance that you’ll end up at the mercy of someone else.
You should scan your site regularly for all the vulnerabilities and read about new vulnerabilities emerging in the cybersecurity space periodically. These things will help you ensure that there are no major vulnerabilities in your site, thus making the job of attackers very difficult.
8. Use a VPN Connection Regularly
Your privacy is also necessary for the safety of your website. If your traffic can be intercepted, your website’s login credentials may also be stolen and compromised. And while SSL Certificates can prevent a common cybercriminal from stealing that information, they may not be able to protect you when your government or ISP wants to steal your login information.
Those powerful entities may break the encryption of SSL to reveal your login credentials. In such situations, only a VPN connection can come to your rescue.
9. Automate and integrate security tools
If all of your security tools require human intervention to work, you’re already highly vulnerable to the risk of an attack. There may be moments when you forget to run an important tool, which may give an attacker the much-needed opportunity to compromise your site.
Therefore, it will be much better if you automate various cybersecurity-related tasks and integrate all the tools to ensure their smooth operation regularly without the need for any manual intervention.
10. Continuous Assessment and Quick Response Before Incidents
Finally, it’s necessary to continuously assess and evaluate the state of your website and server. Real-time threat detection and quick response are necessary to minimize the damage in any situation of cyberattack.
So, you should put real-time threat alert systems in place and use them to assess the user activity on your site continuously. In case of any alerts, ensure that you act swiftly by taking the necessary steps or even migrating to another server if needed.
11. Put an Incident Response Plan in place
We just discussed the importance of acting swiftly in case of an attack and taking the necessary steps as per the gravity of the situation. However, you can’t move swiftly until you have a plan in place that describes what steps are to be taken in which situation.
The Incident Response Plan describes what steps are to be taken immediately after the detection of a cyberattack. By documenting the whole process, you can avoid panic and confusion in those crucial moments after detecting an attack and acting swiftly.
Even if you’re not available, someone else in your organization can take the right steps if a plan is defined and documented.
12. Hire a cybersecurity professional
If your budget allows, hire a dedicated cybersecurity professional who can monitor your website security round the clock. Many of the steps outlined above can be implemented properly only by someone who is a cybersecurity professional.
There’s a good chance that such professionals can give you many tips and advice specific to your use-case for boosting your website security. So, if you can afford it, you should hire a dedicated cybersecurity professional.
13. Limit administrative privileges and user access
Finally, control the number of users who can access your web server, and especially the users who can access it with administrator privileges. If you’re a small business and more than two people have admin privileges to your server, that’s more than enough already.
The greater the number of users who can access your server, the greater the threat to your server because any of those accounts can be compromised by someone to hack into your website. If you want to avoid it, put some curbs on who can access your server and who cannot.
Creating a web security plan is not the easiest thing on the planet, but with the right guidance, it’s certainly doable. That’s why we created this list of 10 steps that can be followed to build a proactive web data security plan for your website.
In case you still have any questions regarding the same, feel free to share them in the comments, and we shall try to answer them. And if not, put your website security plan in place today!