Safe And Secure: Personal Information Online – Is It Safe?

When a customer is shopping for a product or service online, they assess a lot of things while trying to find the right website to use.  The look of the website is important; consumers want clean, professional looking websites that are easy on the eye and free of spelling mistakes. It’s also nice if the website loads quickly and is easy to use.  However, one thing that many people don’t talk about to their web developer, but that is becoming increasingly important to many people, is safety and security.

What Happens to The Data You Gather?

The Internet is an important part of most people’s day to day lives now, and people hand over a lot of data to major websites – from their names and addresses to interests, bank details, employment history, personal photographs, and more. It’s only natural that they want to know what happens to their data once they send it to those websites.

If you gather personal information about your customers, it’s important that you ask your web developer to ensure that the data is stored safely and securely. Ask the following questions:

  • Where is the data stored – on your server, or somewhere “in the cloud”
  • If it’s stored in the cloud, does the host of the cloud server comply with relevant privacy laws?
  • What format is the data stored in, is it encrypted?
  • Is the data sent to your server over a secure connection?
  • Who can access the data after it’s submitted?
  • Can users delete the information if they no longer want to use your site or service?
  • How secure is your store or content management system?
  • How secure is your server?
  • Can you monitor your server for intrusion or attacks easily?

Watching Your Server

Remote monitoring features are a useful way to keep an eye on the safety of your servers.  When you put a server online, you’re inviting people to attack it.  Even if you never advertise the existence of that server, there’s a good chance someone randomly scanning a large range of IP addresses could stumble across your system and decide to rattle the gates a little bit, testing for vulnerabilities.  The sooner you’re alerted to the fact someone is doing that, the better.

You can learn a lot from remote monitoring. Even basic remote monitoring systems will let you see who is using your website, where they’re coming from, any error messages that are happening, and the current resource usage of your server.  If you want more information, such as failed login attempts, or a history of people that have logged in to areas that shouldn’t be accessed by the general public, then you can set that up too.

Of course, remote monitoring only allows you to react to problems.  You should be proactive about preventing them too.  Make sure that you or your web developer keeps your system up to date, and that your server admin sets up a strong security system that ensures your servers don’t share more information than they need to, and that they lock accounts or block IPs if there are too many failed login attempts.

This article was written by James Harper on behalf of web developer Xibis, experts in remote monitoring. To find out more about this web developer or remote monitoring, visit their site.

Photo: elhombredenegro