You may have seen in the news over the past year or so how a small band of Somali pirates can hijack the biggest ships on the open sea! If you own a ship your first rule ought to be “Do NOT sail near Somalia!” So, you own a business and you rely on a web hosting service. Is your business anywhere near Somalia at the moment? Actually there are probably a lot more computer hackers than there are pirates and these computer hackers will find you no matter where you are!
The real question should be: Is your website secure from hackers?
The answer to the question above is probably “yes, but only for the moment!” It is the eternal battle of good vs. evil. As the anti-virus movement gets more secure, the hacker nation gets smarter. A lot of times the thief teaches the cops a thing or two. It goes without saying you should be as prepared as possible. One of the first steps you can take is to identify the most vulnerable areas of your website. For example, if your operating system’s default parameters were not changed by the system administrator upon installation this may be an open invitation to an attack. Take steps to ensure that proper password etiquette is always used among the many users involved in your enterprise. You can use a password generator that produces completely random letters and numbers for passwords and have a scheduled password change every 45 days or so.
Email etiquette is just as important. Emails that request information should be scrutinized. The best way to identify a fake email that is asking for a password (one that mimics every aspect of a real email) is to look at and recognize the URL of your web hosting login page before replying. Most web hosts provide a firewall for protection, be sure your web hosting company offers you some type of access or authority to configure this firewall.
If the captain of a ship hears on the radio that there may be pirates in the area he most likely will alter course promptly. This is very valuable information. Software patches and updates are very valuable information. Not only do you need to know what updates and patches are needed to keep your web site protected you need to when they are available. In the digital security market there are information services whose primary function is to track the latest software vulnerabilities and provide you with the latest information on updates and patches for these vulnerabilities. These services also provide key statistics such as the severity of the virus or hole, the potential impact, the programs it affects, protection guidelines, and any archived news about the particular virus or breach.
As your business continues to move forward there are always ways to improve and grow your ability to fend off computer hackers. Pick and choose the ones that fit your budget and your business and you just might find smooth sailing ahead.