Your website is under constant attack – whether you run a massive multinational or a small online shop, there’s an infinite number of bots, fraudsters, and spammers using all manner of hacking tools and techniques to scrape as much data from your site as possible.

Even if you only ever connect to use online banking, email and social media, hackers want to get their hands on your data, so it’s vital you take your online security seriously.

Here are six steps you need to take to make sure you stay safe online…

1. Update your passwords

If you’re still using the same old email account you set up years ago, there’s a good chance you’re still using the same old password – a study by online security firm TeleSign, found a fifth of us (21%) are still using passwords that are over 10 years old, and nearly half (47%) have had the same password for the last five years.

The study, which polled over 2,000 people from both sides of the Atlantic, also found that almost a quarter (73%) of online accounts are protected by duplicate passwords, so if hackers find their way into one of your accounts, they’ll quickly find a way into the rest.

So the first thing to do is update those old passwords and pick a unique one for each account, and avoid using any words that could be easy to guess, such as your place of birth, your child’s name or your favourite sports team.

And when it comes to websites, you should also make sure you have a unique username and avoid the defaults, such as the ‘admin’ username issued by WordPress.

2. Use a password generator and manager

No matter how random you’ve made your passwords, they’re probably not as secure as you think – if you can remember all of them, it’s safe to assume they’re not varied enough to be secure – so using a password generator and manager could be the way to go.

Download a free password manager like Dashlane or LastPass, which can regularly generate random passwords, then store and sync them across multiple devices so you don’t have to try and remember any random codes.

3. Regularly update your software

It’s all-too-easy to put off running software updates, but they’re essential to ensure both the smooth running and security of your website – most successful hacks are carried out on software weaknesses that are patched up via updates, so failing to regularly install these updates means you’re leaving the door wide open for hackers to take anything they want.

So make sure you run any updates as soon as they’re announced, or use the automatic update function, paying particular attention to operating systems, anti-virus software, web browsers and CMS updates.

4. Step up to two-step verification

Two-step verification is an added layer of security that prevents hackers from accessing your accounts, even if they’ve managed to get hold of your password – once enabled, you’ll have to enter both your password and a code sent to another device, such as an in SMS sent to your mobile, before you can log in.

All of the main social platforms are now offering two-step verification, and although it may seem like a hassle, it’s well worth the extra few seconds it takes to log in if it means your data is kept secure.

For more information on how to turn on two-step verification, check out Turn it on.

5. Have your website audited

Websites can pick up all manner of bugs and glitches during development, and if they’re not fixed or are simply ignored, these can cause compromises in your site’s security that can easily be exploited by hackers.

The EdgeThreeSixty team can carry out a full audit on your site to identify and fix any bugs, or if you need a total online overhaul, we can develop a completely bespoke and secure website using an Umbraco or WordPress platform. Get in touch to discuss which solution would be best for your business.

We also provide secure hosting and support service packages for mission critical websites that need to work perfectly 24/7, 365 days a year. Our sophisticated system alerts us to any interruption in service by text within 5 minutes. We’ll know about the issue before you do.

6. Regularly back up your data

Hackers are constantly coming up with more advanced ways to steal your data – whether through sophisticated phishing scams or increasingly complex viruses – and so it’s worth being prepared just in case the worst should happen.

Make sure everything on your devices are backed on your computer, and that everything that is backed up on your computer is then backed up on a separate hard drive – one that’s physically separate and stored away from any other hardware.

Even if everything is backed up in the cloud, you should still back it up manually on an external hard drive, just in case your cloud storage is compromised in any way – the recent Yahoo email attack proves that all businesses need to take cyber security seriously.