4 things you need to think about.
Internet security is very rarely out of the news. So, what better time to cover some of the basics you should be thinking about when it comes to the security of your website and your business.
For your website to appear online it needs to be stored somewhere and made available on the internet. The location of you website will be on a computer server, connected to the internet, and normally located in a secure data centre. This is referred to as hosting. The majority of small business websites are likely to use what is called shared hosting. This means that your website, along with many others, will be hosted on the same server and the resources shared.
As a website owner you therefore have limited control over what other websites are hosted on the same server. Things to identify and consider are
Do you know what type of hosting you have and do you know what features you are paying for?
If your hosting is free, then it is unlikely you will have the most secure solution. As in a lot of things, you generally get what you pay for.
Is it hosted by your web developer (hopefully not on a server in their bedroom!) with their other websites on a dedicated server or is it mixed with ’unknown’ sites? You could be sharing with sites of an undesirable nature and potentially more attractive to hackers. Any malicious code will have an impact on the server and therefore your site as well.
We don’t want to think of the loss of our website (and potentially business), but you should know what happens if it did get ‘hacked’, or the hosting server crashed and your data could not be recovered, or data is mistakenly deleted. Is your website backed up as part of your hosting? If not, then make it a priority to ensure it is.
Domain name ownership
You should own the domain name for your website, even if it was bought on your behalf by your web developer or hosting company. This is more about protecting your business as in time your business will have been built around your domain name and you do not want to be held to ransom should relationships deteriorate with your web developer, a former employee or a supplier, if any of them have the domain registered in their name. It is your business, your website, so you should own the domain name. If you are not sure about the ownership of your domain, you can check this out using the WHOIS tool (type whois into Google and use any of the listed tools to run the check). Enter your web address and it will identify the name and address of the owner. If it is not you then you should request to have it transferred, assuming you did pay for it.
Have you ever thought what would happen to your website if your developer decided to quit being a developer, travel the world or follow some other pursuit? It does happen, and the end result can have a significant financial impact on your business. We all like to think people will do the right thing, make the appropriate arrangements, and your business will carry on as if nothing has happened. However it is better to be prepared. As a minimum, you should at least take a copy of your content (text and images) so that if the nightmare scenario hits you, then at least you have the information that could be passed to another developer. Having the domain name in your name is really key in this situation, as defined above.