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Reading time: 8 minutes

Published: March 11 2024

Kinga Edwards

11 March 2024

8 Trends and Website Security Requirements for 2024 and Beyond

Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, which means that they have more ways to penetrate a website and cause damage.

Whether you are a business or an individual, you should aim to do your best to protect your website. 

The security checklist below ought to be a solid reference for those looking to improve the overall security of a website.

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1. Secure personal devices

Start with securing personal devices. Not all cyber attacks come directly from the internet. Some hackers first target user devices and exploit vulnerabilities there to access the website. 

It goes without saying that your computer has to have antivirus software. As a rule of thumb, you should also avoid public Wi-Fi, which is notorious for often missing even the most basic security protocols.

Ideally, nobody else should have access to your computer. However, if you cannot ensure that, at least implement some measures to protect it, such as needing a password to log in.

You can also set up the device so it goes to sleep early if nobody is using it. Whenever you wake it up, it will ask for a password. Of course, when you are alone and find the feature a nuisance, you can disable it. Learning how to keep Mac from sleeping or another device is relatively easy.

The bottom line is that secure personal devices are the first security layer for your website. And keep in mind that if more people have access to the website, they should also protect their devices.

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2. Find a secure web hosting service

Not all web hosting companies provide the necessary security measures. They offer cheaper plans but skip the security features that should be present.

If your current hosting provider fails to deliver sufficient security features, switch to a different one. And if you are about to create a website, make sure that you choose wisely.

Some of the basic security features expected from a hosting provider include:

  • Data backups

  • Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)

  • Rootkit Scanner

When in doubt, reach out to the hosting provider's customer support and ask them directly. They should give the details and might even offer additional security measures when hosting your website.

3. Update the software and plugins

Outdated software works like a charm for hackers wanting an easy target. Bots that scan the internet for websites to attack identify those with outdated software and treat it as a perfect opportunity to cause damage.

Website administrators should treat update requests seriously. The security plugins are a given, but one should not underestimate other plugins either.

Outdated software and website applications mean that the website is not secure. The longer you ignore the updates, the longer you expose your website to hacker attacks.

If you want a reminder, install an update notification plugin that notifies you about updates as soon as they come out. Alternatively, if there's an option to enable automatic updates, use it to ensure that your website runs on the latest version, even if you forget to update it manually.

4. Be smart about giving access to the website

Depending on the website type, multiple people might access it. High-level employees, for example, might need administrative privileges to carry out certain tasks.

Not every site owner is comfortable with giving access and for a good reason. Other people usually have one specific task in mind and they don't stop to think about the website's security.

Even if they don't mean it, they might make a small mistake and expose the website to a potential cybersecurity threat.

Regardless of whether you trust someone or not, make sure that they know what they are doing. Content management systems vary in terms of complexity. Confirm that the person accessing the site will not jeopardize it. 

At the end of the day, it is better to be safe than sorry. If it takes time to educate them about secure website usage, so be it.

5. Secure the website's URL

A secure URL is a crucial aspect of securing a website. Add HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).

The former is there to ensure that the content is not intercepted or interrupted while in transit. 

In the case of SSL, it's an imperative feature for websites that require signing up, registering, or making other transactions. SSL encrypts the connection, hiding visitor's personal details from prying eyes by encrypting the data.

If somebody visits your website and finds it missing HTTPS and SSL, they will consider that a red flag and avoid browsing further.

6. Back up the data

Backing up a website is not a direct way to stop a cyber attack. It's more of a measure that you count on when something happens, and you need to restore corrupted or lost information.

As far as backup options go, there are several solutions to consider. First, you could store backups on the same server as your website. It's the most straightforward method. 

Yet, backing up data that way also means putting it in a place where you are prone to an attack affecting both the website and the backup.

It makes more sense to find an off-site solution, like an external storage accessory (hard drive) or even a computer you have at home. This, of course, means protecting the external storage solution from hardware failures and potential viruses.

Backing up data in the cloud is one of the most popular options. Clouds are known for their reliability. Plus, it helps that you can access the data from different devices as long as you have an internet connection. 

Pro tip: Utilize multiple backup solutions, so you have less room for error. In fact, you can back up your backups despite it sounding redundant.

7. Use cookies

Site cookies work as a security mechanism to ensure that the information stored by the website stays private.

Cookies store user information, but it comes at the cost of potential security hazards. Utilize secure cookies that can only be transmitted via an SSL connection. Your website should already have a site-wide SSL certificate.

8. Consider a web application firewall

A web application firewall (WAF) functions as a wall between the website server and the data connection.

It reads every single piece of information that goes through the website. Whenever something seems suspicious, the firewall will react and issue a warning to you while preventing a potential breach.

Modern firewalls come with a cloud-based model. You can apply for one that also offers additional features, such as filtering and stopping traffic beyond hacking attempts. 

Bots and spammers, for instance, are also a nuisance and a type of traffic you want to avoid on your website. If so, a web application firewall can help with that.

Wrapping up

Considering how quickly the digital landscape is changing, it's imperative to keep an eye on the latest cybersecurity trends and ensure that your website is protected.

Even if you run a personal site with nothing that hackers could benefit from, remember that many attacks occur randomly. So long as a site is vulnerable, it presents itself as a target for malicious hackers. 

Securing and maintaining a website isn't that difficult. Make the most out of the information mentioned in the article to give yourself peace of mind as a website administrator.

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