A Swindon web developer is warning businesses to keep their websites safe, as part of an initiative to tie in with Safer Internet Day today (Tuesday, February 9).
The annual event aims at encouraging people to work ‘together for a better internet’ by adopting online safety.
But web developer DMJ Computer Services, based in Swindon, believes safety on a website is sometimes overlooked.
“We’re generally well aware of the measures we need to take to stay safe when using the internet, like using complex passwords, regularly changing passwords, and being vigilant over opening phishing emails,” said Martin Jarvis, managing director of DMJ.
“But businesses also have an obligation to make sure their websites are safe for visitors. This is all the more important now, with so many more transactions being carried out online, while bricks and mortar premises are shut due to Covid.
“Just as you’d have security at a physical premises – guards, locks, alarms etc – you need an online equivalent for a website.”
Martin says an essential first step is to check a website has an SSL certificate installed, and that it is properly configured. This ensures that when visitors interact with a site they do so in a secure way, because SSL encrypts website traffic.
“It’s not just e-commerce sites that need SSL,” said Martin. “Any site that provides contact forms, forums, comments and feedback, really need it too. Not only does SSL increase security, but search engines – including Google - look more favourably on pages with this security measure.”
Controlling what happens to any stored data is also an essential security element, as is keeping tabs on who has access to the data. Only those who currently need to have access to a website admin area should have login details. It is important to remove admin rights to, for example, former employees – anyone who may have needed access in the past but doesn’t any longer.
Finally, working from home can throw up website security challenges. Martin’s advice includes setting up a computer lock, and password protecting any files and apps containing customer data.
Martin added: “Making your website safe to use will not only benefit your visitors, but will improve your engagement, and ultimately your sales, if it gives them confidence in your site.”