Protect your clients and your reputation
In today's digitally driven world, a website is necessary if one is to be considered relevant. To maintain and leverage this relevancy demands attention to detail, especially when it comes to web security. The security of your website should be top of mind, especially as dental laboratory sites continue to advance and incorporate online case and file submission. The more online data shared between dental practices and laboratories, the more appealing your site is for cybercriminals.
Just as you wouldn't neglect maintenance on your car and hope nothing bad happens, you should not assume that security breaches won't happen to your site. Poor website security makes your clients' information vulnerable and could leave you with a ruined reputation. You may wonder, "Is my website at risk?" Don't ask if your site is at risk; instead ask if it is secure. The following are important aspects of web security that would be considered the bare minimum. If your site is missing some of these factors, then now would be a good time for a full site audit.
An SSL certificate encrypts all information and establishes secure sessions with browsers. Many people assume that only e-commerce websites need one, but in reality, they have become a necessary aspect of any reputable website. Not having one can negatively impact your Google ranking and any client who visits your website will see a "not secure" message in their browser.
A monitoring plug-in is the first addition you need to have on your WordPress-based website. It will automatically monitor incoming traffic, filter malicious bots, and log any attempts to access your administrator account. If you have yet to install a security plug-in, the two most popular options are Wordfence™ and Sucuri Security.
Minimal Features and Plug-ins
Going overboard with features and plug-ins will not only add clutter to your site but also make it more susceptible to security breaches. Having a lot of them is similar to having a ton of windows in your house. You may like all of the windows, but they serve as additional entry points and make your home more vulnerable to a break-in. Essentially, there are only three plug-ins that a laboratory site truly needs: a security plug-in, an auto-SEO plug-in, and a contact form plug-in.
Secure Administrator Password
Using an easily guessed password like "password1" or "admin" is a surefire way to get your website hacked. Comprise your password out of unique numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters, and reset it periodically. Never email your password since inboxes are easily compromised, and you cannot guarantee the security of your email's destination.
Redundant Data Backups
It is necessary that you keep backup copies of your website in more than one area. If your site does get hacked, this allows you to revert to the last secure point. It helps you easily reset your website so that you can handle everything else that comes with a security breach.
If you are interested in further investing in the security of your site, consider the option of additional IT resources. A dedicated IT person, department, or outsourced partner will provide custom-tailored services and can offer a proven solution to update and maintain an existing site or build you a new site from the ground up. A new website affords the opportunity to have the most updated security features, ensuring strong security due to its airtight design. If you have a CMS-based website like Wordpress, it is critical to run updates on plug-ins to ensure that any vulnerabilities are patched to close any unsecured entry points.
Whether you decide to invest in an in-house IT solution, outsource, or go with a scaled-back option, security is the foundation of any reputable website. It reassures your clients and prospective customers that you value privacy and want to maintain the integrity of their information.
About the Author
President of AMG Creative
Fort Collins, CO