You can think of your database as a storage room: It holds all the data needed to allow a visitor to interact with your site. That very fact makes it an attractive target for cybercriminals, and that is why database security should be a top priority for your business.

Monique Becenti, product and channel marketing specialist, SiteLock

Like any small to midsize business, your website is a critical component of your operations. It serves as your digital storefront, customer support portal, and primary channel for communicating valuable information about your brand. However, if you use a content management system, it’s easy to forget about one critical component of the website: the database.

A database is the driving force behind a CMS website. It stores all input data your customers provide, such as online form submissions and sales data. Any time a visitor performs an action on your site—whether that’s filling out a contact form or clicking on an image—information is transferred to and from the site’s database.

Consumers and lawmakers are becoming less tolerant of companies that fail to protect customers online.

You can think of your database as a storage room: It holds all the data needed to allow a visitor to interact with your site. That very fact makes it an attractive target for cybercriminals, and that is why database security should be a top priority for your business.

How SMBs Can Secure Their Databases

As awareness of cybersecurity threats and data privacy issues grow, consumers and lawmakers are becoming less tolerant of companies that fail to protect customers online. In fact, one survey determined that 78% of consumers would stop engaging with a company online if it had experienced a breach, and another 36% would stop engaging with that company altogether.

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In order to protect consumers’ information, database security should be top of mind. Here are four best practices to help SMB retailers secure their databases and avoid the consequences of security breaches:

1. Utilize encryption. Implement a Secure Sockets Layer—often referred to as an SSL—to establish an encrypted layer between your web server and a visitor’s browser. You should also encrypt all data that’s stored in your database.

2. Install a scanner and firewall. Get an automated database scanner that can detect and remove spam content and malware before it spreads throughout your database. Use a web application firewall to protect your perimeterfrom malicious bots and attacks from external networks— including SQL injection attacks, backdoor attacks, and the security risks outlined in the OWASP Top 10.

3. Sanitize input fields. The forms on your site can be vulnerable to an SQL injection, which is a type of cyberattack hackers use to inject malware into entry fields to gain unauthorized access to your website—or worse, your database. Securing these input fields with a CAPTCHA can help protect your database from bots spamming your site.

4. Perform updates and backups regularly. Always keep your CMS software and plug-ins up to date to prevent security breaches due to vulnerabilities found within outdated software. Also, back up your website files in the event malware damages these critical components. As a best practice, your backup solution should store your files and database offsite.

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Given the growing importance of data privacy and protection, database security should be a key requirement for any SMB doing business online. Follow the tips above to take responsibility in securing your data so it doesn’t become valuable to cybercriminals.

SiteLock is a cloud-based website security provider.

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