Submitted by: Elad Domb
Most people are familiar with email viruses and the need for protecting a personal computer against infection. But what are you doing to ensure the safety and security of your website? Most often, business owners leave this side of things up to their web designers and web hosting company. But how do you know that what they are doing is enough to protect your website and business? Let s look at a few basic things regarding web hosting security that you need to know about.
What Cyber Criminals Are Doing
Hackers and cyber criminals really don t have a conscience; they aren’t worried that they may be destroying your business or livelihood. Sometimes it is just a game to them to see if they can access and destroy the information held on your website. Other times, they may be after your customer data or business information so they can commit fraud and make online purchases with your customers’ credit cards. They do this by planting malicious code into your website. This code can then run undetected while they harvest the information they want. This is usually referred to as spyware, malware, trojan horses and key loggers. If your website is not protected against these programs, you could find yourself becoming a virtual victim to these hackers.
What Part Does Your Web Hosting Provider Play?
Many business owners will tell you that while they have some basic knowledge about combating spyware and malware, they do not have the time to keep up to date with all the latest information. This is understandable. You have a business to run which involves keeping customers happy. However, you can never afford to just ignore the problem. One of your best options is to make sure that your web hosting providers are the experts. Check with them regarding what protection methods they have on the servers to ensure your website s security. Make sure that the programs they are using are verified in the computer industry and that they are run on a basis where they receive regular daily updates.
Protecting Your Website Content
The most common way that information is uploaded onto a website is through FTP, also known as File Transfer Protocol. While this is the most widely used method of uploading information, it is not particularly secure. Hackers can intercept the transfer, and add, delete or change information. They then send it on its way to your website without you even being aware of it. They could put malicious code into the content which could capture your business or company details, depending on the nature of your site. Even the content of your website is valuable. No doubt you took many hours to write it so you will want to protect it. A more secure way of transferring information is known as SFTP. It is a similar protocol to FTP except that it has added security features so the transfer cannot be accessed by hackers as easily.
Protecting Your Customers’ Information
If you have an ecommerce site, it is absolutely essential that you make use of SSL to protect your customer information. SSL is known as Secure Sockets Layer. What this does is encode and hide information such as customers’ credit card numbers, customers’ billing addresses and other pertinent information. If you do not have this in place on your website, you are leaving your customers vulnerable to identity theft and credit card fraud. Hackers are pretty efficient when it comes to getting their hands on that information if it is not encoded. They could be making purchases online and using your customers’ credit cards long before they become aware of it. If you run an e-commerce site, make sure that your hosting provider has SSL. In addition, they should be able to provide you with an SSL certificate which you can place on your website to show customers you have a secure website for them to transact on.
How Diligent Is Your Hosting Provider About Website Security?
Any good web hosting provider will know how essential it is to have good security. Hackers are constantly coming up with creative new ways to access your website information and send out viruses. No hosting provider can afford to be anything but proactive in their approach to combating cyber criminals. If when speaking to your hosting provider, you get the impression that they are not terribly concerned about keeping up-to-date security measures then it is time to look around for another hosting provider. They should be the experts and able to provide you with the latest protection available.
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