You wouldn’t leave your house unlocked, or your handbag lying open in a room full of strangers (well, maybe you would but that is an issue for a different time), so why not take the same interest in the security of your web host?
Whether your site is a personal blog, a portfolio or a professional company website, you need to be confident that it is as secure as possible. With the internet becoming more and more accessible from anywhere in the world, it has fast become the standard in both business and wider communication. It has also become a bigger target for hackers and opportune tech-heads to challenge themselves and see how far they can get. Even if your company doesn’t deal with money directly, there is still information that be taken and used unethically.
Although it sounds like something from a film (Melissa McCarthy, I am looking at you), identity thieves are a real threat to the internet world. They seek information that they can use to gain something – usually money, but it could be access to something else, or mere glory. Identity thieves are known for operating on a long-term basis; they continue until they are caught.
Not all hackers are out to steal information or money though. Some do it just to cause mayhem, because they enjoy watching their work have a disruptive effect on others, and want to prove that they have the power.
When you consider your web host, you should take into account their security measures. The majority of them are fully aware of the threats out there and have taken action to counter against them, but you should still double check so you can be fully confident in hosting with them. They should be able to reassure you that both their servers are completely safe, and your individual website has the necessary tools protecting it too.
Here are some acronyms that might be useful to know – find out more here:
SFTP – If you have ever uploaded files, you should know about File Transfer Protocol (FTP) – SFTP stands for the same thing but more secure, and who doesn’t want that? FTP, while fairly secure, is still vulnerable to hackers. Interception is the aim here, and if they are really good, they can adapt the file and carry it on its way is you don’t have SFTP! No one will be any the wiser. Definitely make sure that your web host has this in place.
SSL – SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. SSL makes sure that the connection between your website and the server is encrypted, and therefore more secure. The way to tell if SSL is in place is to look at the URL; it’s really simple. It the website address starts with http://, it does not have an SSL certificate. If it has the extra ’s’ on the end (https://) then you are all good! I bet that has answered a life-long question! Just me? Okay then. This is especially important if you run an e-commerce site, as consumers want to be confident that their payment information and personal details are safe.
Backups –Backing up your files and data should be done regularly so that if disaster strikes, you don’t lose months’ worth of information. The majority of web hosts will have a tool that you can use easily to ensure frequent backups are taking place. However, you do need to take responsibility yourself to ensure the security of your own data.
Server maintenance –web servers need maintenance and checking just like every other product. The web host should be responsible for adequately servicing the server in order to keep an eye on any alarm bells and potential attacks. This also ensures that under-the-radar problems are picked up quickly and dealt with.
These are all really important things to consider, and should almost be second nature to those who are using web hosts. Hopefully this has helped to clarify for you which web hosts can be considered safe enough to host the precious possession that is your site.