Many businesses rely on computer systems to run their operations smoothly and efficiently. Web-based platforms offer many advantages to small and larger businesses, making it easy to streamline day-to-day operations. Everything from clocking employees in and out, to keeping pristine financial records, to tracking inventory can be done using a relatively simple computer system.

While these systems offer many positives, they also introduce their own set of risks. Cyberattacks can steal and destroy personal information, hijack your website and more. These attacks often go unnoticed. They can be frightening, but they can also be prevented with five tips, according to an article on smallbiztrends.com.

Update software

This is the site owner’s responsibility, regardless of who built it, says the article. Companies like WordPress and Joomla release updates frequently that make their software less vulnerable to attacks. These updates should be installed to ensure the latest version of your software is running to protect against hackers.

The article also urges site owners to clean out their sites of any unused and outdates plugins, which can be used as gateways for cyberattacks.

Build layers of defense around your site

Use a Web Application Firewall as your first line of defense, notes the article. They guard against incoming traffic that can harm your site. New technology allows owners to “rent” these firewalls at a lower cost. These “services don’t require you to hire security experts or attempt to learn every aspect of web security,” states the article.

Go from HTTP to HTTPS

“HTTPS, or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, is a secure communications protocol that is used to transfer sensitive information between a website and a Web server,” explains the article. Moving a website to this secures your users’ data even more.

HTTPS is a necessity for online transactions, but often, the rest of the website is HTTP. However, Google is about to use HTTPS as a search ranking factor, so that will surely change, says the article.

Be smart with passwords

Many attacks have been successful with guessing usernames and passwords, so make sure yours is strong. Use a combination of alphanumeric characters, symbols, upper- and lowercase characters, and make sure it’s at least 12 characters long, explains the article.

Changes your passwords often, and make sure they are not the same for all the websites you use. “Store users’ passwords in encrypted form,” states the article.

Hide admin directories

Cyberattacks can happen when hackers scan the directories on your web server for names like ‘admin’ or ‘login.’ Use “innocuous sounding names for your admin folders that are known only to your webmasters to greatly reduce the possibility of a potential breach,” the article shares.