You may hear of some type of online security breach almost daily. From hacked email accounts to larger-scale malware attacks, online security is an ever-present concern in our digital world. However, you don’t have to be a technological guru, nor pay a high-dollar guru to protect your blog or website. No blog can ever be 100% protected, but there are simple rules you can follow that will cheaply secure your blog and will lessen the chances of you and your customers becoming online victims.
Update your Blogging Platform
Blogger, WordPress, Tumbler and other blogging platforms update often to correct their bugs. Blogger and Tumbler will update automatically, but if you are self-hosting on a platform like WordPress, you will need to update it yourself.
Always remember to update your platform regularly to ensure you have the most secure version.
The first line of defense is to protect your blog with a good password. Passwords that are easy to guess make a hacker’s job quite simple. Change your passwords at least every six months and be sure that each time it has the following characteristics:
- Contains 12 or more characters
- Includes digits and symbols
- Contains lowercase and uppercase characters
- Is different from your other login passwords
Never share your passwords and keep them recorded (if you must) in a safe location. You can also enable two-step verification on most blog accounts such as Blogger and Tumbler to create a second layer of protection.
Deal with Spam
Spam is mostly annoying, but it can also be dangerous when links are followed to harmful websites or downloads. It is a common problem for bloggers but can be easily mediated.
Moderate your comments regularly and only approve genuine comments. If you allow users to register on your website, you will also want to moderate these before approval. Remove any users that are spamming.
If you sell products from your blog, the most cost-effective route to secure payment processing is to outsource this function. PayPal and other payment processors use encryption software to protect the exchange of this information.
For small businesses (like Vivint), outsourcing will cost about half of what an in-house processor would be. If you determine that your business is ready for in-house processing, make certain that your encryption software and certificates are updated often.
Use a Website Monitor
Monitoring your blog is another job you might consider outsourcing. A website monitor will regularly check your blog for security issues and keep your site’s security updated. They will also inform you of the simple ways to fix any problems you are faced with.
Protect your Computer
As with all online security, you will want to make sure your own computer is protected. Anti-virus and anti-spyware software will help insure that your own computer is not infected, and by so doing, protect your blog and its visitors.
Back-up Your Blog
Because no blog or website security will ever be good enough, you will want to consistently back-up your blog on an external drive or other online back-up service. This will allow you to rebuild if your blog is ever the unfortunate victim of hacking.
These simple steps are inexpensive and some are even free. They require some diligence, but it will be well worth the time and effort. Should you ever fall victim to criminal hackers, you can be prepared and save yourself the headaches of lost data, revenue and possible legal action taken against you for not providing a secure site for your customers.