A Startup’s Guide on Proactive Web Security

For startups, it is never too early for security. According to reports, about 75% of all websites have security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Without adequate protection, your site is subject to DDoS attacks, data loss or theft, and other forms of security breaches that may compromise the future of your startup.

That said, below are the essential steps to help you establish a secure foundation for your company’s growth:

Enhancing web security

1. Get a Secure Platform for Your Website

Today, the process of site building is eased by DIY blogging platforms and content management systems such as SquareSpace, Wix, and WordPress. Each platform has their own security solutions that protect their users. But for a CMS like WordPress, you need to pay closer attention to the software, themes, and other integrations you use with your site.

Keep in mind that hackers can insert malicious code in assets such as themes or plugins to steal links from your site, display unauthorized ads, or cause your site to go defunct. That’s why a rule of thumb is to only get assets from reputable sources. But even if you’re downloading plugins or themes straight from WordPress’ repository, see to it that you run an exploit scanning tool like AntiVirus.

2. Incorporate Security Tools

Fortunately, there is never a shortage of security tools that can help you protect your digital assets. Some plugins are even free of charge and can provide sufficient security for small websites. You can integrate a web application firewall, run a malware scanner, improve the login security of your admin accounts, and so on.

There are several security plugins you can choose from when for stepping up your WordPress security. Eventually, you may need to elevate your account into a paid subscription to get better security for multiple domains. That said, make sure you check reviews and ratings for each plugin to pick the best one for the long haul.

3. Implement Additional Encryption

Encryption is something you need to consider as early as picking a good hosting company. Simply put, you can’t expect enterprise-grade security in one-dollar hosting companies. But at the very least, make sure you pick a reputable host that supplies an SSL/TLS certificate for your site. This certificate is essential for initiating encrypted connections between users and your server.

You can also implement encryption in your local business network by setting up a VPN or Virtual Private Network. For example, if your remote employees are trying to connect to your business network, using a VPN connects their browsers with your server through a “tunnel” that adds an extra layer of encryption—effectively blocking eavesdroppers.


4. Invest in Real-Time Threat Intelligence

No matter how many security apps you use with your site, you can never be 100% safe from zero-day attacks. These are exploits carried out by cybercriminals before security vendors become aware of the security loophole. Although you could be patching your security software on a timely basis, there is a chance that you could be hours too late in acquiring the definitions.

To protect against the latest threats, you can “crowd-source” threat intelligence from contributors in the InfoSec industry. Basically, you will tap into XML-based data feeds that can help you identify the newest threats such as SQL injections, cross-site scripting, DDoS attack vectors, and so on. While some crowd-sourced threat intelligence services are paid on a subscription basis, you can also tap into organizations like the Malware Information Sharing Platform to get free resources about the latest security threats.

5. Create Timely Backups

Although proactive web security focuses on preventive measures rather than detection, you can never be too safe especially if your business’s future is on the line. In case all your security measures failed to prevent an attack, a backup will help you restore your site into working order in the soonest possible time.

Backups make a lot more sense when made right after a major update on your site. However, it’s better to perform regular updates to cover every ounce of progress made. For this purpose, you can count on remote backup services that do the dirty work in the background as you focus on developing the rest of your site.