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Website security counters rise in cyberattacks, data breaches

Priority Marketing - website security blog

Website security is increasingly important as data breaches and cyberattacks continue to skyrocket.

In fact, a report from Harvard Business Review notes there was a 20% increase in data breaches from 2022 to 2023. Globally, there were twice as many victims in 2023 compared to 2022, the report states. Harvard Business Review specified three areas that led to a jump in data breaches:

  • Cloud misconfiguration
  • New types of ransomware attacks
  • Exploitation of vendor systems

Website security plays a major role in preventing data breaches. It is just one component of an overall strategy for businesses and organizations to protect their digital livelihoods.

During a Tech Bytes segment on ABC7, John Joyce, an owner of CRS Technology Consultants, likened website security to safety measures for a traditional retail store.

“If you have a brick-and-mortar shop downtown, you’re probably going to lock the doors at night,” he said. “You’re going to have security cameras up. You’re protecting your inventory. Those same principles apply to the web, so when you have someone that wants to break into your site, they’re not going to steal your physical product, but at that point, you are a steward of other people’s information.”

Website security tips

Priority Marketing’s experienced/talented Web Development Team offers a variety of professional services for businesses and organizations. Services include website security and protection, responsive website design, WordPress development, website hosting and management, website analytics and tracking, E-commerce solutions, ADA/508 design and development, search engine optimization, landing pages and funnels, page speed and core web vitals optimization, and web video production. Priority Marketing leverages emerging technologies to prevent the most common types of web attacks, some of which can shut down websites, steal customer data and effectively hold a company hostage until a ransom is paid.

Here are three simple tips to keep websites safe and secure:

(1) Form a partnership

Partnering with a trusted, reliable website builder or host ensures a site features the tools to safeguard data. At a minimum, this includes:

  • An SSL certificate: A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate provides secure, encrypted communications between a website and internet browser. Web developers typically install SSL certificates on pages that require end-users to submit sensitive information, such as credit card details, usernames and passwords, addresses and account information. SSL certificates are renewed annually.
  • Firewall: Priority Marketing now implements Virtual Patching that monitors, filters and protects dangerous traffic to and from websites. Unlike a standard Web Application Firewall (WAF), V-Patching runs on the website itself and offers superior protection because it applies additional context to monitor the website.
  • Anti-malware software: These software programs protect networks, systems and individual computers from malware. Programs continuously scan a computer system to prevent, detect and remove malware, as well as fix any problems that malware may have created. This software runs in real-time, offering protection that never stops.
  • Multi-factor authentication: This is a step in the login process that requires a second form of verification to gain access beyond just typing in a username and password. A special code is usually delivered by text, email, phone call or authentication app to verify a person’s identity when trying to access a website.

After launching a site, web developers will keep that site up to date on the back end, ensuring the framework is in place to defend against potential security risks. New threats emerge daily.

(2) Strengthen passwords

One of the easiest – and low-tech – ways to enhance website security is to update and strengthen website passwords. Microsoft notes that “password security starts with creating a strong password.” The technology company defines a strong password through five characteristics:

  • Length: At least 12 characters long, preferably 14 or more.
  • Composition: A combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Difficulty: Do not choose a word that can be found in a dictionary or the name of a person, character, product or organization.
  • Variation: It should be significantly different from previous passwords.
  • Personal: Make it easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess. Memorable phrases are good, too.

Use a secure password manager to keep track of passwords. Businesses should implement password policies that require employees to change them every 30, 60 or 90 days.

Because most cyberattacks come through email, individuals should always be on guard. Never click on links in suspicious emails or texts.

(3) Back up data

IT professionals encourage businesses and organizations to regularly back up their data. Decades ago, companies kept important files and documents in secure, fire-resistant storage. Oftentimes, paper documents were transported to secure, off-site facilities. Now that most documents are available electronically, cloud storage or server storage offers peace of mind.

Important documents should never be stored solely on one individual’s hard drive. Cybercriminals are just as likely to target a single computer as they are an entire network. Backing up data is like having a spare house key… just in case.

WATCH: FAQ Fridays Quick Tips

Web solutions

Priority Marketing has developed, designed and maintained hundreds of secure websites. The firm provides a full range of award-winning, integrated web services using a full-circle approach. Web developers optimize every site with search engine ranking in mind, crafting unique content that provides value to a client’s target audience. Prioritizing and safeguarding the security of digital assets is a paramount focus. 

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Looking at website security as an area of focus for your business or organization? Please give us a call today at 239-267-2638 or send an email to LetsTalk@PriorityMarketing.com.

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