September 15, 2015
There’s nothing worse than getting hacked. I’ve dealt with several situations where a site was hacked and the clean-up is never fun. Sometimes critical business assets are lost or compromised, and other times the site was destroyed completely. If you are selling products, your reputation can be tarnished if your customers data is exposed. Fortunately, there are a few steps that can be taken to ensure your privacy and security.
1. Use Strong Passwords
This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how insecure the password you are using might be. Using your maiden name with a number is not a secure password. The amount of data that is out there about you is unnerving. In fact, this is how the latest iCloud celebrity hacks happened, hackers guessed passwords based on available personal information until they hit the mark. Instead, I recommend using a password generator and saving these in a spreadsheet. I use http://passwordsgenerator.net/ which generates random characters. These passwords are very secure and will keep your information sealed. Use a different password for each account you own.
2. Keep WordPress and any plugins you use up-to-date
Nothing will leave you more vulnerable to hackers than using out-of-date software. This is because most of the time, new versions are released to patch holes in security issues. This is especially the case with WordPress core and plugin updates. A regular schedule to update software should be followed to ensure you are closing doors on preventable security threats.
3. Frequent Malware and Security Scans
Many times your site could already be hacked and you wouldn’t know it. Hackers take advantage of small business websites to further distribute their malware. This could mean your site becoming blacklisted and losing all of that hard work on your SEO. To prevent this, I recommend using iThemes Security Pro WordPress plugin. They recently partnered with Sucuri to improve their robust platform even more. If you need assistance with setting this plugin up, give us a call.
4. Automated Weekly Backups
I really can’t stress this point enough. In times of need, backups can be the single most important asset to have on hand. Your web hosting company should also have backups on hand, however it is a much longer and larger process to restore these versions. Instead, I highly recommend installing iThemes BackupBuddy. This plugin is really easy to use and comes with all the features you would need in a backup solution. I set my options to backup twice a week and send to an off-site location (Amazon s3 storage), that way if my site ever goes down, my back up doesn’t go down with it. If I ever need to restore my site, BackupBuddy comes with a migration feature called importbuddy. In fact, it is so easy to restore sites with BackupBuddy, that I usually use this service to move sites and create development environments of live sites.