Enhance Your Website Security: Best Practices for Accounting and Financial Planning Businesses
In professional services industries, your website plays a crucial role in attracting clients and establishing trust. However, ensuring the security of your website is equally important, especially considering the sensitive financial information involved. Let’s look at some of the best security practices for your company website, specifically focusing on tools and strategies to protect your website and maintain the privacy of your clients’ data.
Analyse Your HTTP Response Headers
A great way to bolster your website security is by analysing your HTTP response headers. SecurityHeaders.com is a valuable tool that provides a rating system based on the analysis of these headers. Deploying the recommended security-based headers can provide significant levels of protection for your website. By using this tool, you can easily assess your headers and obtain information on how to deploy any missing headers, ultimately strengthening the security of your website and encouraging widespread usage of security-based headers across the web.
Limit Admin Accounts and Use Strong Passwords
Admin accounts hold the keys to your website, making them prime targets for attackers. It is essential to limit the number of admin accounts and ensure they have strong, unique passwords. Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring website admins to provide additional verification, such as a one-time password in addition to their regular login credentials.
Regularly Update and Patch Your Software
Outdated software, including content management systems (CMS) and plugins, can have vulnerabilities that hackers exploit to gain unauthorised access to your website. To prevent such attacks, keep your software up to date by regularly installing patches and updates released by the respective vendors. Enabling automatic updates can streamline this process and ensure you stay protected against known security flaws, but should be used with caution, as some updates – such as those for WordPress Plugins – can often break certain functionality within the site, so if automatic updates are enabled, the website content should be loaded and checked regularly to ensure proper functionality.
Implement SSL/TLS Encryption
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption is crucial for protecting data transmitted between your website and users. It encrypts sensitive information, such as login credentials and forms data, preventing unauthorised interception and tampering. Obtain an SSL/TLS certificate from a reputable certificate authority and configure your website to use HTTPS. This adds a padlock icon in the address bar, assuring visitors that their connection is secure.
Perform Regular Backups
Automated backups are a vital part of your website security strategy. In the event of a security breach or data loss, having recent backups enables you to quickly restore your website to a previous state. Implement a regular backup schedule and store backups in secure offsite locations or cloud services. Test the restoration process periodically to ensure your backups are reliable and up to date.
Avoid Exposing Email Addresses on Your Website
While including a contact email address on your website may seem convenient, it opens you up to various security risks. It increases your level of email spam because it becomes a simple matter for spammers to collect your contact information. Data and sensitive information associated with your business (such as your user naming convention) becomes easier to access through your email, and search engines penalise websites with exposed emails, considering them spammy content. This can lead to lower search rankings and decreased visibility for your website. By adopting one or more of the below alternative contact methods, you can ensure your website maintains a strong online presence.
Alternate Methods to Connect with Clients
Contact Forms: A contact form is a reliable and secure way for visitors to reach out to you. You can customise these to capture the necessary information: including fields for the visitor’s full name, email address, phone number, business name, and a message. However, remember that asking for too much information may discourage people from reaching out, so keep the form concise and user-friendly.
Clickable Phone Number: Another effective way for clients to connect with you is by providing a clickable phone number on your website. Ensure that the phone number is easily visible and accessible, especially for visitors browsing your website on mobile devices. By making the phone number clickable, users can simply tap it to initiate a call, making it a convenient option for immediate communication.
Calendar Booking Tools: Implementing a booking system on your website can streamline appointment scheduling. Tools such as Calendly, OnceHub, Book Like a Boss, or even Zoom allow potential clients to select a suitable date and time for a meeting or consultation, eliminating back-and-forth email exchanges and improving efficiency.
By following the best practices mentioned in this article, including analysing your HTTP response headers, limiting admin accounts, using strong passwords, regularly updating software, implementing SSL/TLS encryption, performing regular backups, and avoiding exposed email addresses, you can significantly enhance your website’s security posture.
Furthermore, by providing alternative methods for clients to connect with you, such as contact forms, clickable phone numbers, and calendar booking tools, you can ensure effective communication without compromising the privacy and security of your business and its clientele.
Remember, proactive measures to protect against cyber threats are essential for the long-term success of your accounting or financial planning business, so contact the Altitude Innovations Team today if you need assistance in adopting these security practices or implementing user-friendly communication options. By doing so, you can establish a robust online presence and build trust with your clients in today’s digital landscape.