Safer internet day is here. Here’s what you should do.

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For more than a decade, the second Tuesday of February has marked Safer Internet Day in more than 100 countries around the world. At its core, Safer Internet Day is all about making “the Internet a better place and the world a better place with the help of the Internet.”

Recognizing the ever-expanding role the internet plays in our lives, companies like Google and Microsoft are getting in on the act, encouraging people to take active steps to improve their online security.

Where you, the website owner, come in

Safer Internet Day is a great opportunity to get a conversation going around your site’s security. After all, staying safe online isn’t just on the consumer (although they really should stop using “12345” or “password” or “qwerty” for their logins).

Web owners, too, have to take responsibility for security, not least because it’s good for business (not-so-fun fact: 45% of people say they either definitely or probably wouldn’t shop at places that have been hit with a security breach).

With that in mind, here are a few ways you should do your part in making the internet better.

  1. Add an SSL certificate whenever you’re asking for data

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    Because it’s so common, and so important, you’re probably already well-informed about SSL certificates. But to recap: SSL is a way to encrypt data sent from websites to servers and databases, and is used to protect information like credit card numbers, login credentials, and any other personal information you might be requesting from visitors.

    There are many SSL certificate vendors out there, GoDaddy being one of them. Point is, if you’re asking for sensitive visitor data, you need one.

  2. Actively monitor yourself

    There are many vulnerabilities out there, from the ultra-common (like cross-site scripting and SQL injections) to the ones that were just discovered yesterday. New vulnerabilities crop up all the time, which is why it’s important to constantly test your site against them.

    You can’t be expected to keep up with all the latest — you’ve got a business to run. That’s why we recommend purchasing a vulnerability scan. They help detect your vulnerabilities and let you know how to correct them. Make sure you go for an established name like McAfee, because they’ll have the resources to maintain an up-to-date vulnerabilities database.

  3. Back it up

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    Even when you’ve done your best to ensure your site is safe, bad things can happen. Software updates can leave you vulnerable. New code can expose you to threats. The most important thing to do then is fix the problem and get going again.

    And while you may assume your web host is backing up all your site’s files, the reality is most are under no obligation to do so. If you lose your site, it’s not on them to retrieve a copy. So, to be a responsible site owner, take ownership and keep your site’s files backed up yourself.

  4. Show off your reputation

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    Internet users want to engage with sites that are safe. So if you’re taking all of the necessary precautions to protect your site and your visitors, it makes sense to show it off, no?

    Displaying a security seal on your site is a great way to let visitors know that your site has been scanned and is, indeed, safe. Pro tip: some products, like McAfee SECURE Certification Pro will even show off your security status in Google, Yahoo and Bing search results, which can help increase your traffic by proving to visitors that you’re safe even before they’re on your site.

Wrapping up

We hope Safer Internet Day motivates you to take web security seriously! As a website owner, we recommend not only auditing your site’s security today, but year-round.

Already using the free version of the McAfee SECURE service? Upgrade now.