7 Best Practices To Avoid and Fix Website Security Threats
Threats to data security can result in lost money, damaged reputations, regulatory violations, interrupted operations, and unrealized opportunities. As a result, companies simply cannot afford any kind of security breach.
A Chicago web development agency prioritizes web security by following these best practices:
- Conducting website security audits.
- Improving site configuration.
- Documenting all changes in the software.
- Applying input data validation.
- Encrypting critical information.
- Updating all web app dependencies.
- Backing-up all files and creating a recovery plan.
This article gets into the details of these essential web security practices. Find out how you can apply them. Let’s go!
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1. Conduct Website Security Audits
Website security audits aid companies in spotting vulnerabilities and potential security threats. Data protection and privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) affect many sectors. Audits can help businesses ensure they comply with these regulations.
Consumers trust businesses that protect their data. Businesses that undergo regular website security audits demonstrate that they value their customers by protecting customer data and clearly showing they are committed to protecting it.
Follow these steps to conduct a successful audit to reinvigorate your business and improve your website's security.
- Determine what needs auditing on the website, such as the root domain, subdomains, and any third-party integrations.
- Gather information, including the type of server your website runs on, the web application framework, etc.
- Identify vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and outdated software. Review access controls, authentication methods, and other security measures.
- Review compliance with data protection and privacy regulations, such as GDPR and HIPAA.
- Perform penetration testing to simulate an attack on the website and identify any weaknesses missed during the security scan.
2. Improve Site Configuration
Site configuration refers to the options and settings that determine how a website functions. This includes the web server, content management system (CMS), database, and other parts of the site. Attacks like SQL injection, in which malicious SQL commands are inserted into a website's database, are common.
You can protect your websites from such attacks by limiting database access to authorized users and only accepting input from trusted sources. Keep in mind that incorrect configurations can lead to unauthorized access to sensitive data.
A Chicago web development agency helps improve site configuration and promote website security by:
- strengthening and diversifying all server, CMS, and database passwords;
- maintaining up-to-date versions of the website's CMS, plugins, and server software;
- limiting who can log in to places on the website like the database and admin panel;
- using encrypted connections between the user's browser and the server;
- adding a web application firewall (WAF) to filter unwanted traffic and stop attacks.
3. Document All Changes in the Software
Documentation helps developers trace changes made to the software, including updates, fixes, and modifications. As a result, they and the security team can easily track and undo potentially harmful code changes.
Documentation of software changes is part of the compliance requirements for many regulatory bodies. Failure to record and turn in modifications may result in severe penalties. Keeping up with software updates also benefits businesses because it allows for rapid iterative adjustments that improve website security.
Web developers use these best practices to effectively document software changes:
- keeping track of updates to the website's code with the help of a version control system (VCS);
- keeping a log of all updates, fixes, and modifications made to the software, including reasons for changes;
- using a ticketing system to track issues and changes to ensure documentation and to avoid overlooking problems.
4. Apply Input Data Validation
Input data validation examines user input for correctness, security, and conformity to predefined standards. This is a crucial pre-processing step for website security because it prevents the input and processing of harmful data.
Injections of malicious code (SQLi), cross-site scripting (XSS), and other attacks that target flaws in the website's input validation process are all examples of malicious input data. They can lead to data theft, website defacement, or cyberattacks.
Developers implement strong input data validation with the following steps:
- Validating user input on the server before processing it to prevent attacks like SQL injection and malicious scripts.
- Validating user input for correctness against predefined patterns or formats with the help of regular expressions.
- Limit the input length of input data to prevent attacks that exploit input field length.
5. Encrypt Critical Information
Encryption is the process of transforming sensitive data into an indecipherable format using a sophisticated algorithm. Without it, anyone accessing the website's or network's database could easily intercept and read private data. Thus, encryption shields sensitive data from hackers to stop identity theft, financial fraud, and other cyberattacks.
Effective data encryption methods like the following ensure website security:
- Use SSL/TLS certificates to encrypt data transmitted over the network.
- Apply HTTPS to secure web traffic and ensure encrypted data transmission over the network.
- Implement strong encryption algorithms for data at rest.
- Include two-factor authentication, like a one-time pin, as an extra layer of security for user accounts.
6. Update All Web App Dependencies
Web application components, such as third-party libraries, frameworks, and plugins, should be up-to-date because attackers can access the application by exploiting outdated or vulnerable components.
A Chicago web development agency performs the following to keep all web app dependencies updated and secure:
- Regular scans to detect security flaws in the web application and its dependencies;
- Implement updates on all web app dependencies to fix vulnerabilities.
- Monitor security news from vendors of the dependencies used in the web application for new vulnerabilities or patches.
- Remove unused dependencies from the web application to reduce attacks.
7. Backup All Files and Create a Recovery Plan
Backing up all files and creating a well-documented recovery plan helps businesses quickly recover from cyberattacks or other incidents that may cause data loss or system failure. It ensures companies minimize the downtime associated with cyberattacks or other incidents.
To help recover from incidents and resume normal operations, web developers create recovery plans by:
- choosing a backup solution, such as cloud-based or software-based backup services;
- deciding how often backups should be performed depending on how frequently the website is updated, the amount of data on the website, and the level of security needed;
- creating a backup schedule;
- storing backups securely to prevent unauthorized access;
- creating a recovery plan with clear steps to restore the website and any lost data;
- train staff on backup and recovery processes so they know what to do in case of a security breach or data loss.
Avoid and fix site security issues by conducting security audits, improving site configuration, documenting all software changes, and validating input data. Also, encrypting critical information, updating all web app dependencies, backing up all files, and creating a recovery plan ensure site security.
All these best practices can make your website secure, effective, and engaging for your customers. For more ways to implement site security, contact Digital Authority Partners today.
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