How to protect your WordPress website from a data breach

Advancements in technology have led to a significant increase in cyber-crime. A recent survey commissioned by The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) revealed 46% of businesses in the UK identified at least one breach or attack in the last year.

With the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on the 25th May, organisations of all shapes and sizes are reviewing current policies and procedures to ensure a data breach doesn’t happen.

GDPR places obligations on organisations who process or hold data to put in place strict controls to keep data on their customers and employees safe. To ensure your WordPress site remains safe to attempted cyber-crime, make sure you take these simple steps.

1. Implement Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to the login process to protect against brute-force attacks or stolen credentials. Not only will you need a password to log in, you’ll also need an authorisation code that is sent to your phone (by SMS) or email account.

The secondary step in the login process means the person has to verify their identity, making it much harder for a hacker to gain access to your website and compromise your data.

2. Keep your WordPress themes and plugins up to date

Using outdated themes and plugins can open your site up to vulnerabilities. Although you can’t completely eliminate the possibility of an online attack, keeping your WordPress core, themes and plugins up to date will significantly reduce the chances.

You should aim to do a regular audit of your plugins to see which ones you are still using. Any that you no longer need should be disabled and properly removed from your site so that they don’t become a possible entry point for hackers.

3. Make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS

If you’re going to collect sensitive information or conduct transactions online, you should plan on changing from HTTP to HTTPS on your website.

HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP. It’s an encryption method that secures the connection between the browser and the server, making it harder for third parties to intercept data passed between the two systems. Without HTTPS, any data passed between the browser and server can easily be deciphered by hackers leading to a possible data breach.

Your customers will probably be looking for the padlock in the address bar before entering card details, so it’s vital to meet their expectations when it comes to keeping their sensitive information safe.

4. Add a firewall

Firewalls are designed to prevent unauthorised access to a private computer network. All messages entering or leaving the intranet will pass through the firewall where they’ll be examined against a specified security criteria.

Adding a firewall will help protect confidential information from those not authorised to access it, such as malicious users that originate outside your network.

5. Train staff to spot the signs

Not only should you focus purely on systems improvement, it’s important to also improve staff awareness and vigilance. While concern over malware or hacking can be addressed with an investment in technology, human error can only be addressed with training.

Aim to provide regular training for your employees to make them aware of the detrimental effect a breach can have on your brand, reputation and the bottom line. Your employees should be a business’s first line of defence rather than a weak link in the chain.

WP Tech Support can do more than just protect you from attacks by keeping your WordPress system and plugins up-to-date. That’s the easy bit. Our website experts also carry out a manual health check at the outset providing recommendations for improving the security of your site.

Our holistic, preventative approach to protecting your WordPress website will ensure you’re less likely to suffer from a data breach. Take a look at our monthly payment plans to find out more.

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