The world is a great place for businesses today, all thanks to technology. You can have an online store or a website where you promote your business to the entire world. Some people never even set up a physical shop - they only sell online. Others boost their brand recognition and communicate with a huge audience thanks to technology. They develop websites that bring in traffic, leads, and conversions. But, there’s one big challenge that’s set in between all these perks - cybercrime.
Cybersecurity is estimated to cost businesses over $10.5 trillion by 2025, and it’s already up by 600%. Even though we keep finding new ways to beat cyber criminals, they are getting more creative, too - constantly finding new ways to harm our websites and businesses.
According to the 2022 report by IBM, data breaches reached an all-time high last year with $4.35 million in cost. Eighty percent of companies have experienced at latest one big cyber attack in the last year, while 83% suffered more than one data breach.
So, not only are we not immune to this, but we are extremely vulnerable. Now when cybercrime is more present and difficult to prevent than ever, we can’t push our luck.
We need to take action to protect our business online presence, including our website.
With that in mind, this article will share with you the best practices for web development for your business.
1. Invest in fraud detection software
The number of security threats these days is endless. We are talking about brute force attacks, credential stuffing, SQL injection, cookie poisoning - and much more. There’s no way that you can keep track of it all manually. Many of the attacks to your website will be minimal and so frequent, they are impossible to see until they do their damage.
If you want to boost your website’s protection, start by investing in fraud detection software. Software like SEON will do the following and then some more:
- Monitor your users and their data
- Investigate and look for risks
- Inform you of the risks
- Take action based on your preferences
In other words, you can automate the software to block unwanted actions that can harm your website development and performance.
2. Conduct regular security threat audits
Regular audits will show you the current state of your organization and website security. It’s paramount to do these often because cybercrime can occur at any moment. During audits, you can detect many things including:
- Cybersecurity vulnerabilities
- Suspicious employee activity
- Gaps in compliance
- Suspicious activity of privileged users or third-party vendors
If you do this often, you can analyze threats - potential and existent, and set proper security measures to prevent or get rid of them.
After all - you can’t have good cyber security if you don’t know what needs to be protected - and who the culprit is.
3. Create a strong cybersecurity policy
When you have data - at least some of it thanks to your audits over the years, you need to create a cybersecurity policy. Every business that stores data online, communicates with customers on the Web, and even more when they develop a website - needs a good cybersecurity policy.
The cybersecurity policy is a formal guide about your company’s measures toward boosting the efficiency for cybersecurity. It’s what your employees and security experts use to protect your business. It keeps everyone on the same page, which is very important these days.
Today, most hackers will use people as an entry point to your website and your company. A 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report shows that 82% of breaches come with a human element.
If you don’t tell and show your workers how they need to keep your website and business safe, how can you expect them not to join this 82%?
With a good cybersecurity policy, you have people-centric security for your business. It’s a way to keep everyone on the same page. Here are some of the things to include in your policy and in practice:
- Create a policy and share it with everyone involved
- Regularly conduct training for cybersecurity
- Communicate the major threats and risks to your employees
- Secure - and limit their access to your most sensitive resources
- Monitor the employees’ actions when they deal with critical data
4. Control the access to sensitive data
The web development process and the management that comes afterward will probably include a big list of people who access your data. You can’t be granting privileges lightly to everyone. If you do this by default, everyone can access your sensitive data - even the ones that don’t need access at all!
The more people that access the data on your website or the web development process, the higher your cybercrime risks.
If you want to decrease the risk of insider threats and prevent hackers from getting to the sensitive data on your website, you need to use a principle we call the principle of least privilege.
This means that you’ll assign each user the access rights they absolutely need. You can always elevate their privileges when necessary - and can even automate this process.
The idea is to also keep track of your employees to see if they need the data they have access, too. If they no longer need it, you need to revoke the corresponding privileges.
5. Be careful with your passwords
When you give people access to your website, social platforms, email, and sensitive data, they usually need a password to access it. Employee credentials are one of the most common entry points for criminals. They use weak passwords, enter them on public Wi-Fi, never change them, share them with others, etc. The list goes on and on.
This is why you need a strong password policy for your website and businesstoo. For starters, you need to require that everyone with access has a strong password. You know how that goes - letters, symbols, numbers, long passwords - the whole endeavor.
It doesn’t end there, either. You can use specialized password management tools that will require password change regularly, or provide ready, safe passwords to individuals.
And, of course, there’s the matter of two-factor authentication - one of the best cybersecurity methods of today.
6. Manage the supply chain risks
The vendors for your company, your partners, the suppliers, the subcontractors - they all make your business susceptible to supply chain attacks. Many of these people will have access to your web development process or the website itself.
Between 2019 and 2022, there was a 742% average increase in software supply chain attacks per year. When this happens, the criminal disrupts or infiltrates one of the suppliers or partners that access your website data or your network. They use this to insert malware and hack your company.
So, how do you manage and address supply chain risks?
Basically, you need a good strategy for cyber supply chain risk management or C-SCRM. This is how you can boost the visibility of your supply chain and prevent attacks before they harm you.
7. Encrypt the data
Encryption today is a very basic process, one that’s absolutely necessary if you want to protect yourself and your customers from cyber-attacks. Encrypting data that are processed through your website will keep things confidential and hard to reach.
This is the most common practice for protecting information that’s sensitive across transit. You can also use it to secure data that’s permanent, or as we call it, ‘at rest’. This includes information stored on databases and your website.
8. Perform regular data backups
There are many ways in which you can lose important data. Your website can be hacked overnight, with everything you worked so long and hard to achieve. This is why you need backups. Even if you have the best and strongest measures to protect it set in place, a ransomware attack or any other form of attack can make you lose your access to it.
If you ask any security professional, they’ll tell you that it is not possible to avoid cybercrime altogether.
Even if you do avoid this, what about natural disasters? What about data you store in a device that gets stolen or breaks down? What if the tools you used or platforms you have your website on fail to provide you with the security you need?
It’s very important to take measures to protect your website and your data but you should always have a contingency plan in place, too. So, perform regular backups of your data, even the one that’s stored on the cloud.
Ensure you have copies of all the information and content you have on your website. Store data for customer purchases and accounts safely and back it up.
Every now and then, take a look at your backup. Make sure it’s working. Upgrade it if necessary.
Is your website safe enough?
Going through these 8 steps, do you feel that your website is safe enough? Before all else, it is your job to ensure that the business-critical web development goes seamlessly and that data and sensitive information are protected.
So, roll up your sleeves and go through this list step by step. If there’s anything on it that you missed, the time to fix it is now.