4 Website Development Security Practices Your Small Business Must Follow

It should come as no surprise that security is one of the most important aspects of web development for your small business. However, website-securitywhat many people fail to understand is that security is not so much about the technology itself as it is about mitigating risk.

There’s nothing that can be built digitally that is 100% secure because there are just too many potential problems. But we can take steps to mitigate the risks associated with assets. Here are a few of the assets that are part of website design:

  • Integrity of Content
  • Site Availability
  • Privacy of Data
  • Consumer Trust

Website design assets are not physical in nature. They are purely digital. Here, we’re going to look at the best practices that are used to reduce potential security risks of website design.

1. Identify Assets and Their Risks

We can only determine the possible risks once we have defined the exact assets. Let’s use the list above to look at some potential website risks.

  • Defacement of your website. (Integrity)
  • DDoS attacks. We see these quite often. (Availability)
  • Consumer data stolen. (Privacy)
  • Transactions errors. (Trust)

Your risks might be completely different, but you will almost always have at least one risk in every asset listed above. Identify them now and write down this information.  

2. Secure Requirements Gathering

This step isn’t exactly limited to website development security. It’s actually a step that all projects take as they’re being developed. In Layman’s terms, you are mitigating the way in which applications gather information. Let’s look at a few examples.

How will the website be used? In order to fully protect users, you need to answer this question in detail. If you’re developing a blog, then its use will be to share content. This helps you understand the potential risks.

Who will be using this website? Define their roles and assign rights. This should be used when designing authentication systems.  

What legal issues are there? If you’re planning to develop an ecommerce website, then you will need audit trails and digital signature capturing systems. A blog might be more lax and only ask for email confirmation when a user signs up.

3. Security Must be Part of the Architecture

Website architecture is the process that leads visitors from interested prospect to a visitor who follow through with a specific action. For example, if your blog is designed to capture leads into an email system, then the architecture of your website will be the system that they use to sign up to your list.

It’s important that you include security as part of this architecture. Using the same example from above, using a double opt-in method is one way to secure the sign-up process. Using captcha is another. Be sure that you have security built into the architecture.

Furthermore, these systems must be secured in their own right through encryptions, permissions, and only giving authorised people access to the data. You must protect it against malicious use.

Imagine the chaos that would ensue if your email list was leaked and then sold to the highest bidder. This would be just one of many possible malicious use cases.  

4. Pay Close Attention to Software You Use

The security of your entire website is going to be dependent on the software that’s used for hosting it. Your hosting account might be extremely secure but what about the software being used to stream media? Is it secure? What about the chat server that you’re using to connect with visitors?

For example, one of the newer types of attacks today is the classic buffer overflow attack. If your streaming media system is compromised, it can crash your entire website.

Did you consider security as part of your website development plan? Are you following the best security practices?  

About Catherine Park