5 Protective Measures A DIY Web Designer Shouldn’t Skip
On average, 30,000 websites get hacked every day. Countless pieces of new malware get created daily, meaning websites are always at risk of experiencing a breach, even the ones with up-to-date security. In 2016, American mobility service provider Uber lost the information of 57 million riders and drivers to hackers after a data breach. The company had to pay the culprits $100,000 just to have the stolen data deleted. If companies as big as Uber can fall prey to hackers, how can small businesses hope to protect themselves?
Fortunately, smaller businesses are less likely to get targeted by hackers, but it doesn’t mean they can never be a target. Any organization’s website will attract the attention of hackers if it’s poorly made and left almost completely unprotected. In this digital age, having a website is a must-have for any company looking to see success, and if your organization is looking to build its own, you must make sure it has all the essential protective measures.
In this article, we will discuss web design tips that will help DIYers create a site that isn’t easy picking to malicious parties lurking in the shadow of the Internet.
Use anti-malware software
It kind of goes without saying, but this is something a DIY web designer can easily overlook. Using anti-malware software is one of the best ways to protect your website as it shields it from malicious software such as spyware, adware, and worms. It has broader coverage, capable of dealing with threats that anti-virus software can’t. Anti-malware scan your website for anything malicious that has breached its defenses.
Anti-malware follows an efficient three-step process in protecting a system. First, it scans for threats based on characteristics and behavior. Second, it isolates the potential threat to prevent further infection and analyzes it within a sandbox. Lastly, it decides to delete the threat if it’s confirmed to be malicious or keeps monitoring if it’s legitimate.
Anti-malware software accomplishes these in a short time and you won’t even be aware as it all takes place in the background. The efficiency and reliability of anti-malware make it an absolute necessity in protecting a website.
Run periodic automatic backups
As established in the introduction, even big companies that have the best security measures in place can experience major breaches. What this means is that no website is invulnerable and malicious parties will eventually find a way to break through the defenses. While there are a lot of ways you can minimize the risk of data breaches, you still should be prepared for the worst. Ultimately, securing a website means always having it backed up.
You should always have an exact copy of your website and all of its contents in a secure and isolated location. This allows you to immediately restore your site in the event of a security breach, significantly reducing downtime. As a DIY web designer, you should set an automatic backup of your entire website in regular intervals. It guarantees that even if the worse comes to worst, it’s not the end for your website.
Install an SSL certificate
Cybersecurity provider Kaspersky defines a secure sockets layers (SSL) certificate as a “digital certificate that authenticates a website’s identity and enables an encrypted connection.” The web address of a site that has an SSL certificate installed begins with HTTPS while a site that does not have one starts with HTTP. An SSL certificate encrypts your website’s data as it’s sent to the server and back. This way, hackers won’t get any use out of your data even if they take it since it won’t make any sense.
Use reliable passwords
You can implement all the best security measures and still experience a data breach if you fail to implement strong passwords. Inadequate passwords are often the reason behind breaches and this can have a significant impact on your website’s operation, and by extension, your business. Depending on the size of your organization, there can be plenty of people working on your site so it’s crucial that you establish password practices.
Many people find it hard to maintain and keep track of their passwords so they end up using short, easy-to-remember, reused passwords that are easy to crack. Professionals recommend using a diverse number of passwords. To create strong passwords, it’s advisable to use as many symbols as possible and combine lowercase and uppercase letters. Avoid using numbers or letters in order and don’t use information about your life and business.
Apart from cyber attacks, another threat you need to protect your site and your organization from are lawsuits. A seasoned web designer is highly unlikely to overlook accessibility compliance when building a website, but a DIYer just might. Every website needs to comply with accessibility guidelines in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. There are plenty of practices you can follow to optimize the accessibility of your site. These practices include but are not limited to the following:
- Proper use of headings to organize content structure
- Using proper alt text for images
- Writing unique descriptive names for links
- Using other visual indicators other than colors
- Using tables for tabular data only
- Ensuring all content can be easily accessed via keyboard
Designing a website is indeed viable even without expertise, but you are bound to make security mistakes that may result in serious consequences in the future. The protective measures discussed above are just some of the basics that web designers follow in securing sites. If you don’t want to leave anything to chance and want to save time and resources, having professional web designers do the work is still the best practice. However, if you’re keen on going at it yourself, consulting experts isn’t out of the picture. You can hire QA engineers to check the quality of your website, so you can still design the site yourself while having expert guidance.
Article contribution by Bash Sarmiento
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