How To Ensure Maximum Security for Your Business Website: A Comprehensive Guide

Meryam Lehoufa
Meryam Lehoufa   -   December 1st, 2022
Outside wall with many security cameras pointing down at 2 people at a door
Cybersecurity has been a growing concern since the dawn of the digital era. In the last few years, the intensity, sophistication, and frequency of hacks and mega-breaches have increased at an alarming rate. According to Verizon, ransomware breaches have increased by 13% from 2020 to 2021. That's more than in the last 5 years combined. The damages of cybersecurity breaches are not only costly but, depending on the size of the business, they can also be disastrous and irreversible.

Despite the staggering damage that a cyber attack can cause, website security is not a priority for most small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In fact, 48% of businesses state that they are too small to be targeted by cyber-attacks. This underestimation of cyber security risks is one of the main reasons why SMBs usually have weaker security postures and are thus prime targets for cybercriminals. That’s not to say that big businesses are immune to cyber threats. We have all witnessed how 2022 was marked by some massive ransomware attacks impacting big companies like Nvidia, the world’s largest semiconductor company, and three Toyota suppliers.

To better illustrate the gravity of cyber attacks, let’s look at some statistics:

  • The average data breach cost in 2022 is $4.35 million compared to $4.24 million in 2021.
  • The possibility to detect and prosecute a cybercrime in the U.S. is estimated at around 0.05%.
  • The average time to identify a breach in 2022 is 207 days, and the average time to contain it is 70 days. Thus the total breach lifecycle in 2022 is 277 days.
  • In order to regain control of critical IT systems, about 6% of companies report having to pay a ransom.
These are just a few noteworthy hacking statistics to help you understand what your business is up against. Moreover, as businesses and organizations strengthen their defense technics against potential threats, cybercriminals are also adapting their strategies to bypass these defenses. Thus building a future-proof security strategy for your business has never been more imperative.

Why is your website security vital for your business’s growth and longevity?

Your business website is the anchor of your online presence. In today's digital economy, your website is often your first contact with customers. That said, if not properly secured, it can also be a cybercriminal's way to attack your business’s infrastructure and exploit your critical data. Putting both your business and your customers at risk.

The impact of a cyber security breach can vary depending on the timing and duration of the breach, the size of the business, and the industry in which it operates. For instance, a cyber attack against a business in the healthcare or financial sector might have significant damages compared to that against a business operating in the manufacturing sector. There are, however, some common consequences that cyber-attacks and data breaches can wreak. 
Think of website security as insurance – it provides business liability protection. To put you in the picture, here are the top reasons why securing your website is imperative to your business's success, growth, and longevity:

  • Safeguard customers’ data: Your customers trust you with their sensitive data, like their names, dates of birth, credit card information, email addresses, etc. That’s one of the main reasons why they choose to do business with you. Studies state that 65% of the customers who had their data stolen from a compromised website will not return to it. Keeping your customer’s data safe at all times should, therefore, be your top priority. 

  • Avoid litigation: Failing to comply with privacy and data protection laws can subject your business to severe fines and penalties. Some of these laws are:
    • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
    • The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
    • The Federal Trade Commission’s Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
    • The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)

  • Protect business assets: Besides business and customer data, a vulnerable website could also take a toll on your business assets and infrastructure. If hackers manage to install viruses on your website, your expensive computers and physical machines could also be at high risk of being irreversibly damaged. This in turn could jeopardize critical business operations that depend on those machines.

  • Secure business reputation and earn clients’ trust: Your organization’s reputation takes time to build and significant effort to maintain, but it can be instantly tarnished. One of the most harmful impacts of data breaches is that they can cost you the priceless trust of customers and stakeholders. Next to recovery challenges, confidence issues are one of the top reasons why 60% of SMBs fail, within 6-12 months, after a company discloses a breach. Let’s not forget that every minute of downtime is a competitive disadvantage for your business.

  • Boost SEO and avoid search engine blacklisting: Did you know that Google quarantines at least 10,000 suspicious websites every day?. If your website gets blacklisted, it will lose almost 95% of its organic traffic. On the other hand, securing your website prevents malicious bots from blocking good traffic to your website, including the crawlers that search engines use to understand your website and rank it in relevant search results.

  • Increase ROI and prevent financial losses: Now to the devastating financial damages – it’s predicted that cybercrime will cost companies worldwide an estimated $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Each of the above situations  will somehow impact your sales. It’s also worth noting that the longer a breach remains undetected, the higher its financial impact. A secure website, on the other hand, can help generate more conversions since customers are bound to make more transactions when they trust a website.

  • Avoid the extra costs of website cleanup: Prevention is better than cure, and this goes for your website security as well. Hiring a professional to clean up a hacked website is much more expensive than securing it upfront. Cleaning up a website is not just about removing the bad code, but it’s also about testing the whole website and ensuring that it’s safe to use again. In the worst-case scenario, the whole infected system might need to be replaced if the damages are irreversible.

What makes a website vulnerable to cyber attacks?

Before we get into website vulnerabilities, let’s first go over the common types of website security threats that your business can fall victim to.

  • Cloud-based attacks: As organizations are increasingly moving much of their infrastructure to the cloud, cloud-based web security attacks are also evolving at an accelerated pace. In fact, cloud-based attacks have risen by 630% between January to April 2020. Some of the common cloud-based attacks include:
    • Spyware
    • Cross-site scripting (XSS)
    • Trojan horses
    • Distributed denial of service (DDoS attacks)
    • SQL injection attacks

      The popularity of cloud-based attacks is mainly due to their flexibility and the fact that they can often be done remotely. The good news is, two-thirds of these cloud-based security attacks can be prevented with adequate and effective security practices.

  • Ransomware: Ransomware is one of the top security menaces to websites and web applications. This form of malware leverages encryption to block a victim’s access to data or a computer system. During a ransomware attack, hackers threaten to destroy or publish sensitive data unless a ransom is paid. Ransomware is spread using several ways like malicious URLs, email attachments, malvertising, drive-by downloads, USB drives and portable computers, pirated software, network propagation, etc. Ransomware attacks have increased by 92.7% in 2021 compared to 2020.

  • Phishing attacks: Phishing is a common social engineering attack used by cybercriminals to trick victims into disclosing confidential information and/or account credentials. This is usually done by sending out fake emails that appear as if they’re coming from a legitimate and trusted source, such as a business or colleague.  Phishing scams often involve redirecting users to websites that are infected with malware. These website threats rose by 600% during 2020 and are expected to increase in 2022.

  • API attacks: Given that they provide higher degrees of access to data that is requested by users and other applicants, APIs are highly susceptible to attacks. The wide variety of API attacks makes them harder to spot. The most common types, however, are the following:
    • Stolen authentication attacks
    • Distributed Denial of service (DDoS) attacks
    • Man-in-the-Middle attacks
    • SQL, Command, XML, and LDAP injection attacks

  • Supply chain (or third party) attacks: Another emerging, and usually overlooked, type of cyberattack is aimed at supply chain partners. Supply chain attacks tripled in 2021 compared to 2020 and are predicted to be the biggest cyber threats by 2024. This type of cyberattack is when a business or organization is breached through vulnerabilities in the weakest link (or links) of its supply chain. This could mean targeting the company’s trusted vendors, distributors, partners,  etc, who have poor security postures. Once hackers manage to breach the organization’s system, the personal data of thousands, or even millions, of its customers can be compromised.

So what makes your website vulnerable to security threats and attacks? 
The top website security weaknesses that malicious actors can potentially exploit to launch attacks against your business are the following:

  • Broken authentication: This type of vulnerability focuses on user access. It’s when hackers manage to compromise sensitive data that can be used to assume user identities, such as keys, passwords, or user account information. Broken authentication can be due to flawed design and implementation of identity and access control systems or lack of implementation of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). 

  • SQL injection flaws: Considered as one of the most severe security vulnerabilities, SQL injection flaws occur when unfiltered data is passed to the SQL (Structured Query Language) server, browser (XSS), or the LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) server. Hackers can leverage these flaws to inject their commands and coding into these areas so they can impersonate an administrator. Once they manage to do that, they can read, create, update, or delete data.

  • Cross-site scripting (XSS): This is another subcategory of injection flaws. Cross-site scripting is a common input sanitization failure and it refers to a client-side injection attack. Meaning that, instead of targeting the web application itself, hackers target the website users. Attackers inject malicious code, usually JavaScript code, into your web page or application, which is then executed by unsuspecting users who visit the page. XSS grants attackers access to the user’s browser and enables them to do things like activating Trojan horses, compromising users' accounts, or tricking users into giving out private information.

  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF): Distinct from Cross-Site Scripting, Cross-Site Request Forgery tricks users into making a request that they did not intend to make. In the event of a CSRF, a third-party website issues a request, through the user’s browser, to a target website where that user is already authenticated, like a bank or online shop. Simply put, CSRF is intended to exploit the trust that a website has in a user’s browser. After tricking the user to click a link (sent via email for example) or access a page, the attacker leverages the user’s browser to transfer funds or perform other malicious activities.

  • Misconfiguration of Security Network: One of the most prevalent and severe security vulnerabilities that leave your business open to risk is security misconfiguration. The latter encompasses numerous types of vulnerabilities that stem from a lack of proper configuration. Some examples of security misconfigurations include:
    • Using default credentials for databases, cloud server instances, web servers, etc.
    • Having poor firewall policies.
    • Failing to encrypt sensitive data like API keys, passwords, or cryptographic keys.
    • Not properly configuring cloud settings.
    • Using outdated software and plugins.
    • Exposing session ID in the URL.

  • Unvalidated Redirect and Forwards (also known as Open Redirect): This vulnerability is linked to a lack of proper validation during page redirecting. Input filtering issues like this one can allow attackers to redirect users to phishing or malware websites by manipulating seemingly safe URLs. 

  • Sensitive data exposure: Whether in transit or at rest, data must always be protected. There are several ways in which sensitive data, like log-in details, passwords, email addresses, and financial information can be exposed, including:
    • Transmitting data in clear text.
    • Lack of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol that encrypts and authenticates data.
    • Using weak or default cryptography keys.
    • Using weak or outdated encryption algorithms.
    • Misconfigured cloud storage locations where data is stored in plaintext.

  • Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR): Insecure Direct Object References is a broken access control vulnerability that occurs when a reference to an internal implementation object, such as database keys, files, directories, and database records is exposed in the URL. Unless an access control check or other protection measures are implemented, hackers can easily manipulate the URL to gain access to unauthorized data or compromise the entire application.

How to maximize your business website security?

Now that you understand where threats come from, how can you effectively address the above vulnerabilities?

Website security requires proactiveness and vigilance in all stages of website planning, design, development, testing, and usage. Therefore, a robust and comprehensive website security strategy should take into account three essential elements: Technology, process, and people.

Let’s look at each element in further detail.


Securing the technology that your website uses to run is the first and most paramount step toward the safety of your website and its visitors. Besides installing antivirus software, an SSL certificate, security plugins, and a web application firewall (WAF), the following best practices are also a must to secure your website’s technology infrastructure:

Keep website software updated
A lot of website security attacks could be prevented by simply keeping all website software updated. This includes applications, server operating systems, security software, plugins, etc.

When software is not regularly and promptly updated, hackers could have more chances to find security loopholes in your unpatched software that they can exploit to compromise your website. Updates keep your website healthy and secure as they quite often contain security enhancements and vulnerability fixes that help strengthen your website's defense against threats.

Choose a secure and reliable web hosting service 
Your website hosting plays a major role in the performance of your website, and also in its security.  When choosing a hosting service provider for your website, make sure that they have security top-of-mind. Some essential security features to look for in a hosting service include but are not limited to:

  • Secure access
  • Regular Back-ups
  • DDOS prevention and CDN support
  • Hardware Security
  • Malware detection and removal
  • Server and sitewide firewalls
  • Bundled SSL certificate
  • Network monitoring
  • PCI-compliant payment processor (for e-commerce sites)
While most web hosting providers are engaging in at least several standard security practices, you should still evaluate the level of security that they offer compared to competitors and whether that level it’s aligned with your own security needs.

Invest in a robust, modern CMS
This is one of, if not the most critical point when it comes to website security. A robust, future-proof CMS is the cornerstone of a successful, secure, and future-ready website. When it comes to security, your CMS should empower your efforts to maintain a healthy and safe website and effectively combat current and emerging threats.

Traditional or coupled content management systems are inherently less secure due to the fact that the front-end content delivery segment is linked to the administrative back end. This makes the entire CMS exposed to any security issue that affects the front-end of the website. A decoupled CMS, on the other hand, provides a more secure platform since its back-end is separated from its front-end delivery system.

That being said, simply choosing a decoupled CMS over a coupled one isn’t enough to enhance the security of your website. There are other factors that determine the resilience of a CMS platform to cyber attacks. Your CMS must also meet the following criteria:

  • Secure third-party integrations.
  • Secure storage of user’s data.
  • A robust framework.
  • A modern, future-proof architecture that can withstand the ever-evolving cyber attacks.
  • Compliance with privacy and security standards and regulations.
A vulnerable CMS puts both your website and your clients’ data at enormous risk. Therefore you must choose wisely. 


In terms of process, the following security procedures are critical to ensure optimum website safety:

Schedule regular back-ups
No matter how secure your website is, you should always be prepared for worst-case scenarios, that’s where regular website backups come in. Reliable, regular backups can be your last line of defense in the event of a malware infection, an employee’s mistake, hardware failures, or any other incident that resulted in data loss or damage. It allows you to recover your data and get your business back up and running in a short time.

That being said, for your backup strategy to yield the desired results, you need to consider the following best practices:

  • Automate your backups.
  • Store your backups offsite or in the cloud.
  • Be redundant in your backup process (backup your backups).
  • Always test your backups to make sure that data was successfully copied.

Perform regular security audits
Consistent threat monitoring is critical to quickly detect suspicious or malicious activities and red flags before they grow into more severe security issues. Running regular security audits on your business website helps you identify and fix any loopholes in your security systems. It also allows you to determine the necessary steps you need to take to enhance your website’s security features. 

There are numerous scanning and monitoring tools that you can install to ensure the safety of your website. Some examples of suspicious activities to monitor include unauthorized user creation, unexplained increases or drops in website traffic, installation of new plugins or extensions, changes in page loading times, incorrect file permission settings, etc.


According to Verizon’s 2022 data breach investigations report, 82% of breaches involved the human element, including social attacks, errors, and misuse. The following procedures will help you mitigate employee-related security risks.

Restrict privileges and set user access controls
Having full control and visibility over which data gets accessed and by who is of utmost importance to your website's overall security. Therefore, you need to apply the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP). This principle is about giving a user or entity the minimum levels of access or permissions needed to complete a required task. 

What this means is that you should be selective when granting user access to your critical resources, like your website's databases, backups, and admin dashboard. Also, before assigning administrative privileges to certain individuals, make sure that they’re aware of security threats and how to avoid them. This takes us to the next point.

Conduct regular security awareness training for all employees
Did you know that companies that engage in security awareness training have 70% fewer security incidents? An effective and holistic security awareness training program should cover all of the following topics:

  • Social engineering attacks (phishing, etc)
  • Passwords and authentication
  • Malware
  • Mobile device security
  • Physical security
  • Public Wi-Fi
  • Internet, social media, and email use
  • Remote working
  • Cloud security
  • Removable media
Security awareness training should be mandatory for everyone in your organization, including senior executives and board members.

How Redakt can take your website security to the next level

As we’ve previously mentioned, your CMS plays a central role in the security of your website and critical data. At Redakt, we take your security as seriously as you do because we know that your business’s survival depends on it. Building the most secure CMS in the market was, thus, our number one priority.

Allow us to explain why Redakt’s unrivaled performance takes website security to a whole different level.

First and foremost, Redakt is the first ever enterprise-grade CMS to be fully built on the cutting-edge ASP.NET Core technology. This modern framework not only allows for cross-platform deployments, easier site development and management, and high-performance scalable systems, but it also provides a multitude of security features that enhance your website's security against all of the aforementioned cyber attacks, with no exceptions.

With Redakt, you don’t have to worry about common security issues like SQL injections because we simply don’t use SQL databases. Instead, Redakt offers more modern and secure alternatives that you can choose from, including:

  • Fast databases that can be run on-premises or hosted like MongoDB and RavenDB.
  • Highly scalable cloud databases like DynamoDB and CosmosDB.
  • A local file database for smaller projects like LiteDB.
For maximized security, Redakt allows you to put your CMS back-end behind a firewall, separate from the publication front-end. This ensures the back-end is secure and never reachable via the public internet. What’s more, Redakt also performs regular patches, upgrades, and audits of software implementations and employs the latest security best practices to protect your business against evolving cyber threats. 

Redakt is more than just a modern content management system, its hybrid architecture offers greater security and scalability compared to a traditional or even purely headless CMS. To facilitate your daily business operations, the .NET 6.0+ framework that Redakt is built on also allows for secure and easy integration with both existing and emerging technologies like the latest tools and libraries.

Don’t take our word for it. Schedule a product demonstration to see how Redakt is committed to keeping your website secure and empowering your business to reach its full potential.

Final thoughts

As cybercrime becomes more sophisticated, your business’s reputation, website authority, and online visibility are at risk all the time. By adopting a holistic strategy that involves applying security best practices and implementing the most secure technology, your business can stay one step ahead in today’s uncertain and ever-changing economy.

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