Your association’s website can enhance credibility and build community—or ruin your reputation if it’s hacked. Gary Grabowski, vice president and partner of Summit Business Technologies, explains how a secure hosting service can mitigate 99 percent of security risks.
What is secure web hosting? Secure web hosting means your website is stored on a server with the highest level of protection. This type of hosting service provides multiple layers of security to deter, detect, and prevent threats. With hackers using an army of bots to actively hunt, probe, and breach websites at a rate of 20,000 attacks per minute, association sites are always vulnerable. Unfortunately, many hosting services offer only partial security, but a secure web host prevents your website from falling prey to hackers.
What steps can an association take to make sure their web host is secure? Just because an association uses cloud-based technology doesn’t mean its servers are secure. Associations should ask whether their web host masks the physical location of the website, updates the content management system and plugins daily, locks out IP addresses that hunt for known vulnerabilities, backs up the site regularly, and restores the site if it gets hacked despite all these measures.
What could happen if the web host is not secure? The site can be loaded with viruses and ransomware to infect your office or your members’ computers, the homepage can be defaced or changed to embarrass your association, or your credit-card processing can be hijacked and members’ information stolen. The time and cost required to move your site to a secure hosting service pales when compared to the cost of lost members, lost trust, and a damaged reputation.