Recently, one of our own websites received 116 attack attempts from a foreign country within a 10-minute time period, and unfortunately, that’s nothing unusual, with hundreds of thousands of hacking attempts made every single day to unsuspecting small businesses. And all you have to do is scroll through the news to learn of yet another cybersecurity threat – from voter registration breaches to malware that affects our fitness trackers, and everything in between.
Thankfully, in our case, the hackers were unsuccessful in affecting corecubed’s home care marketing site, due to our proactive engagement of the latest security measures. Want to keep your home care website as safe and secure as possible? Our in-house web security and maintenance specialist, John O’Leary, shares four strategies to thwart hackers:
- ALWAYS make sure every user on your WordPress website has a secure password – and a password such as “mysitename2017” is not even close to secure. There are plenty of online resources for generating tough-to-crack passwords.
- It’s equally important to keep your site’s WordPress core and all third party plugins up to date. Picture a game of whack-a-mole and you’ll get a feel for how often new security issues are popping up. Hackers are always finding new ways to get in, and the developers of WordPress and its plugins are constantly responding and patching the holes the hackers make. But they can’t help you if you aren’t installing the security updates they’re releasing!
If you’re running a version of WordPress that’s gone two or three years without an update, there are a plethora of security patches and responses to threats that you aren’t taking advantage of – setting yourself up as an easy target for robot hackers. If your WordPress website and its plugins are left out of date for too long, it’s only a matter of time before your site runs into trouble.
- Install and properly configure security software like iThemes Security or Wordfence. WordPress on its own is pretty secure (as long as you mind your p’s and q’s when you pick your passwords!) but it doesn’t provide enhanced security features. Installing one of these plugins and enabling its security firewall and scanning features will go a long way towards keeping the hackers out.
These plugins will send you email alerts when something concerning happens, like a file has been changed, or perhaps it’s noticing an increase in attempts to log in to your site by hackers. It’s VERY important to read these emails thoroughly, and if the email suggests you take action, contact your web developer/webmaster and have them look into it.
- HTTPS! We highly recommend purchasing an SSL certificate from your web host (or check to see if your account comes with a free one; some do) and start serving your site securely. This means your site’s URL will be https://mysite.com rather than http://mysite.com. The addition of the little ’s’ in the http and the fact that visitors will now see the free “secure” lock icon in the browser when they access your site has a few advantages. The main one is, of course, SEO for your home care website. Search engines like Google have started ranking sites with https in front of their names higher than insecure sites. Security is another key advantage. Any data between your website and your visitor’s computer is encrypted. This makes the hacker’s job just that much more difficult when they are trying to snoop in on your traffic to maybe catch a glimpse of your password, etc.
If all of this sounds a bit overwhelming (or even Greek) to you, you’re not alone! Maintaining a secure home care website and top-notch home care SEO requires a combination of skill, home care industry expertise, and meticulous persistence – but is so crucial to keeping a safe, working online presence for businesses who could face serious repercussions if their website were to go down.
Keeping your home care website site as safe and secure as possible is as simple, however, as partnering with the home care marketing specialists at corecubed for ongoing professional web maintenance services. Contact us at 800.370.6580, x1, to learn more about our inbound marketing strategies for home care agencies!