Website security has been in the news lately as a result of the hacking of hundreds of thousands of sites by a Russian crime ring. This incident resulted in the breach of information such as usernames, passwords, email addresses and even credit card information. This massive crime has implications for all web publishers as it relates to the security of your site and the information you capture about your visitors.
How a publisher should approach website security is dependent on a lot of variables. If you are like most, you probably host your website with a third party provider. In these cases, the security of your site is in the control of your hosting provider. You are their customer, so you have the right to be informed about their security practices and security offerings. You can start with these questions you should ask your hosting provider.
If you are offering a login on your site, you should consider moving to an encrypted site (HTTPS). Google announced it will be boosting the rankings of sites which offer encryption, which is positive reinforcement. If you are not offering logins or conducting e-commerce transactions, encryption is probably not necessary.
If you are collecting information about your readers, such as capturing user email addresses for newsletters or email marketing – you will want to be certain this information is stored securely as well. There are a number of advantages to using a third party email marketing providers including compliance with CAN-SPAM laws and working with internet service providers to maintain good status on whitelists. You can find a list of providers in this article.
The security of your website cannot be ignored in today’s world. There are easy steps and questions you can ask to insure the safety of the content you produce and the information you collection.
-Lark Dunham, Director of Product Management