Now more than ever, customers turn to the internet before they decide to visit a local bar or restaurant, and it's a trend that's only increasing. But just having a website isn’t enough. To keep visitors’ data safe and your business’s reputation intact, you need to have the right website protection plan in place.
That’s because businesses in nearly every industry are finding themselves the victims of hackers, including restaurants and bars. Earlier this year, Applebee’s discovered that malware had been installed at more than 160 of its locations, compromising the data of thousands of customers. While point-of-sale (POS) attacks are the most common threat, your website can leave you exposed, too.
Here, we explain why website protection is so important in today’s digital age, and highlight seven steps you can take to improve the security of your website and any data you’re collecting.
Why website protection matters for your business
Like most brick-and-mortar businesses, there’s been a rapid push to integrate technology into day-to-day operations. This can mean quicker payments and faster ordering. However, it can also mean that you’re playing catch up when it comes to security.
For bars and restaurants, there are a few main points of entry for hackers. The first are POS systems. Since they’re so widely used and have a high daily transaction rate, these platforms are a very likely target for hackers.
POS intrusions are especially dangerous because the data contained within these systems is very detailed and could range from customers’ credit card information and addresses to dates of birth and more.
Hackers can also use a technique called a DDoS attack.
During this type of attack, your website experiences a high volume of server requests, causing your website to be taken offline. While it doesn’t cause as much damage as a POS attack, it can still have an impact on revenue because people won’t be able to visit your site until it’s back online.
By putting the right website protection plan into place, you’ll be able to keep consumers’ information secure while ensuring your website is always available to potential customers.
6 ways to protect your website
Online security starts with protecting your website. This is especially true if you’re using your site to take orders or collect customer information. Take these seven steps to secure and protect your site.
Use a trusted hosting provider.
Install an SSL certificate.
Perform regular security and malware scans.
Keep your WordPress site secure.
Back up your website on a regular basis.
Limit user access to your site.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each step.
1. Use a trusted hosting provider
Website security begins with your host. Even if you have the most secure website in the world, it won’t matter if your host doesn’t value security.
You might think you’re saving money by going with the cheapest hosting option available, but it can cost you a lot more in the long run if your website becomes compromised.
GoDaddy offers a variety of security tools, including malware removal, to help protect your site. You can also opt for a managed hosting solution, which takes much of the weight of security off your shoulders and makes it the job of an experienced provider.
Related: How to find the best hosting company
2. Install an SSL certificate
Using an SSL certificate on your site is a must if your site processes transactions in any way. An SSL certificate enables an HTTPS connection, which will secure any data that’s shared between a user’s browser and the server.
Plus, since Google recently began flagging sites without an HTTPS connection as "not secure," it’ll help your search rankings.
3. Perform regular security and malware scans
Sometimes it’ll be obvious that your site has been hacked. Other times, it might be difficult to know when your site is infected. For example, you might have a malware injection that’s running in the background, collecting data, but isn’t changing the performance of your site.
That’s why it’s a good idea to complete regular website security and malware scans.
This feature is built into most WordPress security plugins. It’s also a value-added service that a reputable web host can provide.
4. Keep your WordPress site secure
Don’t let that scare you away.
WordPress has a number of plugins and security features that can turn it into one of the most secure platforms out there.
Related: WordPress Security Resources
Online security is naturally reactive, meaning that patches are released when security holes are found. For this reason, you should regularly update your WordPress core software and any themes or plugins you have installed. Failing to update your site will leave the back door open to whoever has the skills to walk in.
Make it a habit to update your site regularly.
It’ll only take a few minutes, and it’s crucial to your website protection process.
5. Back up your website on a regular basis
Your site is only as good as its last backup. Even with all other website protection measures in place, there’s still a risk. By regularly backing up your website and all of your sensitive information, you’ll have a point to restore from if it becomes compromised.
6. Limit user access to your site
Most security risks will stem from other people using your site. Even if you’re using a security plugin and have a very strong password, there’s no point if your other site users don’t.
Enforcing strict password requirements will help, but it’s also a good idea to limit site access for other users. With WordPress, you can easily do this by assigning different user permissions based on the tasks they’ll be accomplishing on the backend of your site.