Many businesses never even think about it until it happens, but the consequences can be terrible.

All of a sudden your website goes down. It has been hacked and now all of your customer’s information has been compromised. Hackers have made quick work of ripping off the personal data that you have stored and sold it to competition, posing as you. Not only has this potentially ruined or severely damaged your business, but also your customer’s trust.

Too often businesses don’t think about the security of their website until it is too late. However, if you take an active role in ensuring that your site is secure from the beginning, you can prevent these horrible circumstances from happening to you.

Your Web Hosting Company

It all begins when you choose the hosting company for your website. Some web hosting companies take security more seriously than others, while some web hosting companies don’t exercise due diligence in ensuring security across the board. Take every measure to make sure that the web hosting company that you choose takes your website security very seriously.

Private web hosting is typically more secure than public web hosting, which is often shared with many other users. It takes a little more work on your behalf to host your own website, but this gives you complete control of all security-related issues.

Encrypted Connections

Always use encrypted connections when you are transferring sensitive customer data, including the login page for your website where you enter your name and password. Anytime the data passes between your site and a user such as yourself, it should be encrypted. Otherwise the data is sent in plain text and anybody to intercept it can read it easily.

Keep Your Website Updated

Whenever a new security update is available for your website don’t delay. Make sure to keep your security software up-to-date because security software is always the safest when it is straight out-of-the-box.

Over time, hackers play with the program and figure out the weaknesses so that they can get by them. Using the latest software prevents these weaknesses. If your software is not up to date, it could be full of holes that hackers can take advantage of.

Choose Your Passwords Carefully

Make a point never to use your name, birthday, children’s names or other obvious personal information for a password. The best password is a random string of letters and numbers. Save it somewhere so that you can copy and paste when you need to login, but make sure that you save it somewhere safe. It is always best to not have your password written down or saved in a text file, but as long as you’re very careful with who has access to that information it is still safer than just using a poor password in the first place.

Be Careful What You’re Clicking

Be careful when you’re downloading anything from Internet, especially when you’re opening email attachments. These downloads can include malware that quickly infect a computer, steal your passwords, and can even reach out breach the security of your website.

The Worst-Case Scenario

There is an old saying that says just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Unfortunately this attitude is a sensible position to take when you’re online. Hackers devote every day, all day, trying to break websites and software. If your business relies in your website and you’re handling personal information, you are a target. When assessing the risk that you face, always imagine the worst case scenario.