The importance of CMS security and keeping your programs up to date
“Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world.”
Ginny Rometty said this back when he was still IBM’s chairman, CEO, and president.
Who are we to argue? The man is an industry legend.
Website security is a colossal cause of concern for anyone conducting business online.
Any website that deals with financial transactions, such as an e-commerce site, should be wary of cyber threats.
Because while the Hong Kong Police are keenly aware of the various modus operandi in the technology world and are doing their best to mitigate and solve crimes, it’s still difficult for them to get a jump on things before the illegal act is executed.
Taking charge of your security lies entirely in your hand. If your Content Management System (CMS) notifies you with updates, you’ve got to stop clicking “remind me later”.
We are all guilty of that, especially when we’re in the middle of a pressing activity. And we really do intend to follow up with it later, but let’s be honest — more often than not, we rarely get around to doing it.
CMS Updates Are Important For Your Website Security, and Here’s Why
CMS developers constantly update their open-source software to improve security, add new features, and fix existing bugs.
Let’s take a look at the many ways bringing your CMS up to date reap benefits.
1. CMS updates amplify your website protection.
Your CMS might be the best one on the market, but it will still have flaws, especially in terms of security. There are weak points that can serve as a gateway to breaking down your website security.
As much as we hate to admit it — hackers are resourceful and creative folks. They will try to find a way. And to stop them cold on their tracks, your CMS developer works double-time to stay ahead: identify potential loopholes, fix them, and hand you the solution through updates.
They take care of the hard part, so all you’ve got to do is press a button (and exercise patience) to protect your website.
2. CMS updates help improve your software.
CMS developers work on enhancing their software to make it more competitive. There are many supporting parts to every CMS, which need further improvements to make the user experience better.
Bear in mind that CMS is an ever-evolving product, like any piece of technology. New standards pop up, and the updates allow users to enjoy new functions and a host of features.
3. CMS updates address technical issues and bugs.
As CMS developers continue to hike up the quality of their product, they also seek to remove the technical problems that most users experience. These issues usually arise after the CMS product has been rolled out, and CMS manufacturers deliver the quick fix through updates and improve their CMS’ compatibility with other plug-ins.
4. CMS updates can help you save time in the long run.
Updates improve the efficiency of your CMS. If you’re ignoring updates, you’re only making things harder for you. After all, you’re the one left to deal with your daily tasks. Moreover, if you skip updates constantly, you’ll need more time to get it up to speed and enjoy all the new functions.
5. CMS updates prevent potential and unnecessary waste of money.
The way CMS updates can help you economize is two-fold. First, CMS update delays not only cost you time to bring it up to code; it will also cost you an arm and a leg.
Secondly, the price you pay for dealing with malicious codes and threats can be exorbitant in amount. It’s advisable to give your website a complete overhaul when hackers invade your website, which again can set you back financially and halt your business operation and progress.
By failing to conduct updates, you risk spending a lot of money and time in the future. Worse, you’re making your website susceptible to security issues and threats.
We can’t have that. We need to safeguard our CMS to protect our website and by extension, our business and customers.
Here are some ways you can refine your CMS security and protect your website
1. Have excellent security habits.
We’re so used to making the big picture complicated; we fail to recognize that sometimes, simple solutions exist. Something as basic as a password can enhance your website security.
We recommend updating your passwords habitually. Even better if you start using “passphrases” instead of passwords.
You’d also do well to familiarise yourself and your staff with social engineering so that you can all protect your business from malicious intent.
Remember: E-commerce website owners have a responsibility to protect their customers’ sensitive information, such as credit card numbers.
2. Backup your website.
When it comes to website security, don’t be overconfident.
Have you heard about the two travel agencies in Hong Kong being hacked? More than 200,000 pieces of customer service information fell into the wrong hands. We’re talking about two local agencies here, nothing high-profile.
It no longer matters what the size of your business is. Work on the premise that your shop on the internet will get attacked. This way, you’ll keep rotating backups.
Aside from backing up your website, you should also monitor if all of them are up and running. You wouldn’t want to discover that they were defective after your website had already been hacked.
Businesses in the digital world should be on guard, especially since hacks aren’t easy to detect from the get-go. CNBC states that hackers can go undetected for roughly six months. You might need to do routine checks to make sure your website remains unbreached. For instance, this website helps you identify if your email has been hacked.
3. Get rid of unnecessary apps and services.
It’s the simplest way to cut off potential attack vectors. Why create more exposure through platforms and services you don’t use?
Additional codes come with an additional burden because they open doors to possible vulnerabilities.
In line with this, consider restricting CMS access to your network or VPN users. But you need to plan this carefully, so it won’t affect your existing process.
4. Constant updates and regular upkeep
Of course, this set of tips won’t be complete without reminding you to keep your CMS updated.
We’ve highlighted the importance of doing so in the above section, but we’ve yet to explain what you need to do to keep your CMS on track.
First off, update your software with new releases and security patches. In most cases, you should look to your service providers to guarantee that your current technology is up to speed with fresh critical patches.
This isn’t only limited to CMS, but also involves other systems, services, and plug-ins.
Be proactive in knowing about patch updates because it can be a big issue for you in the future.
Make sure you have premium security by keeping a healthy server. Server configurations are ideal, but they’re not a possibility for everyone.
Instead, plug-ins and extensions are the fastest way to secure a server, but at the same time, they also pose a threat when not configured seamlessly.
Having an ongoing maintenance plan can mitigate the potential hazard. It involves checking the plug-ins, so they don’t become the bane of your website’s existence.
In the case of WordPress, running a website means having a bunch of third-party plug-ins. If you don’t update them routinely, they can ruin your website in more ways than one. Updates ensure that plug-ins remain compatible with WordPress’ latest version.
Pro tip: Backing up data also comes in handy before conducting your updates. So don’t forget to do them.
Should I Spend Money on Updates?
There’s nothing more infuriating than recurring expenses when you’re running a business.
But it’s something you need to accept when it comes to CMS (and your plug-ins). You will have to invest in regular updates.
Technology is evolving every day. The more you keep up, the better experience you provide to your customers. Otherwise, you won’t be able to run new plug-ins or programs available to your CMS’ latest version.
Aside from proofing your website security, there’s also plenty of UI perks when you update your CMS regularly.
Take Craft Commerce, for instance. Updating from Craft 2 to Craft 3 lets you enjoy extra features that can make your life easier, such as:
An easy-to-browse list of plug-ins that you can readily buy and install through the control panel
An impressive boost in speed
The transition from multi-local to multi-site
All these you can get for US$39/year. Not too bad, right? And if you don’t have the time and expertise to deal with the updates, hiring a third-party consultant can bail you out.
You’ll have to increase your budget for CMS updates, but at least you won’t have to worry about making mistakes, and you’ll be able to throw yourself into other revenue-generating activities.
To Wrap Up
Continued use of your CMS’ old version can challenge your website security and prevent you from basking in the additional features. There’s just no upside to it. You might argue and say: it helps you save money and time, but we’ve already dispelled those claims.
If you fear your website is already behind a series of updates, enlisting the Butter team’s help can save you from potential security risks while ensuring you have a chance to hit your website’s full potential.