How Web Security Can Protect Your Business Online

web security

Web security is a critical element of an organization’s digital defenses. In addition to protecting data at rest, it should also protect information in transit and prevent attacks on the website itself. With recent strides in cloud and mobility, it’s more important than ever to make sure that employees and customers can connect to your business online, with minimal risk.

With the rise of mobile and cloud, cybercriminals are expanding their attack surface, creating new ways to steal data and money. Effective web security requires a holistic approach, and an in-depth knowledge of the most common threats. A well-designed website should use strict password policies, two-factor authentication, and encryption for sensitive data. Additionally, a robust web application firewall should monitor all traffic and requests to ensure that only authorized users can access the site’s functionality.

The first step in ensuring effective web security is to conduct a vulnerability assessment. Using commercial third-party tools and manual pentesting, your team can examine user authentication, authorization processes, database and file storage practices and data validation to determine the overall security health of your site. Once you have identified potential vulnerabilities, prioritize them based on their severity and impact to the business.

To mitigate risks, use SSL/TLS to encrypt data in transit and to prevent SQL injection attacks. Ensure that your content management system (CMS), plugins, themes and underlying server software are up to date and apply security patches as soon as they are released. Consider deploying a sanitizer for all incoming user data, including POST requests and cookies, header information and uploaded files. Keep up to date on the most popular hacks by referencing the Open Web Application Scanning Project (OWASP) top 10 and by utilizing automated vulnerability scanning tools like those offered by WebSitePulse.

Other common threats to watch out for include botnets, cross-site scripting (XSS) and denial of service (DoS). A Botnet is a network of hijacked computers, each running a piece of malicious code that is then used to perform nefarious activities, such as sending spam messages or engaging in distributed DoS attacks. XSS attacks, on the other hand, involve the introduction of malicious code into an otherwise trusted website by placing it in unprotected input fields.

The ideal web security solution leverages multiple technologies to stop malware and ransomware, block phishing domains, encrypt passwords, and more–building a holistic defense. Combined, these functions should stop attacks before they reach the endpoint and cause damage. In addition, a secure gateway should inspect all traffic and requests, leveraging SSL introspection to identify known malware samples by their signature, and to prevent data exfiltration. Lastly, a web security solution should provide advanced monitoring to detect suspicious activity and quickly respond to it, such as detecting the occurrence of brute force login attempts or unusually large numbers of failed logins from the same IP address. This allows the solution to respond quickly, and even remotely shut down an attacker’s attack before it escalates into a larger threat.