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10 Essential Security Measures for Student-Run Websites

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In today’s digital age, you don’t need to be a strong programmer or an expert cybersecurity specialist to create and admin your own web pages. You might not think about this, but there are plenty of student-run websites on the internet right now. The most common examples of such websites are educational projects, blogs, personal portfolios, school clubs, and more.

Basically, the thing that connects these sites is that they are governed by young learners. You might be the administrator of your own small web page, or you might take the reins with several other students for a publicly available website. But with great online freedom comes great responsibility, especially when it comes to security! 

There are lots of cyber threats to pay attention to right now. You can definitely use some research paper help for your homework and spend some more time boosting the security measures of your online space. If you neglect the security of your website, you might lose not only followers but also personal data, financial information, and even website ownership!

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So, are you currently an owner or an administrator of a website? This article is definitely for you! Read on to learn about 10 essential security measures for student-run websites so you have all the knowledge needed to build a resilient online space.

Choose the right hosting platform

This is the first building block for any website. Of course, you might happen upon a read-made site and just take administrator responsibility. But in some cases, students decide to build everything from scratch. A hosting platform is a foundation, so you need to choose a reputable provider with a strong track record in security. Here are some of the features to look for:

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  • regular backups;
  • intrusion detection systems;
  • malware scanning;
  • customer support.

Since students are often on a budget, they might want to opt for free hosting services. Choosing them is pretty tempting, but you put a huge risk on your security. Free services often don’t have any of the features listed above, so your website will be exposed to vulnerabilities and cyber attacks. Investing in a secure hosting platform means your website’s long-term safety!

Think about the passwords

Everybody knows that you shouldn’t have a weak password, especially if you use the same passwords for many websites. This is a solid rule for the users, but it also applies to website owners! Your passwords are the protectors of the backend. So, if they are weak or reused, it’s pretty easy for cybercriminals to take them and steal your admin privileges.

Here are some general recommendations for anybody who needs to come up with a reliable passcode:

  • minimum length of 12 characters;
  • a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols;
  • no personal information like birthdays or pet names;
  • use two-factor authentication for an extra layer of protection.

With these measures, it would be much harder to jailbreak your password and gain access to your website from the backend. 

Don’t procrastinate when it comes to software updates!

Outdated software is exactly how cybercriminals can get to your sensitive data. Hackers can use the vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to your systems. This is why you need to invest in a quality content management system for your website. They often have automatic updates, which include the system, the plugins, and the themes.

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Pay attention to backend security

We mentioned before that the backend is where you manage content, users, and settings for your website. This is like a control center, and the security of this center is very important! Just like when you use the best paper writing service, you want your personal data to be safe, right? For your own website, try choosing a content management system with built-in security features:

  • user access control to limit access to only those who need it for content creation
  • permission levels for those who need access to website maintenance

You should also review user accounts on your site and remove those that have been inactive for some time. This way, you reduce the chances of potential attack vectors for criminals.

Use plugins and widgets carefully

You won’t download some unknown application from a third-party store on your phone, right? The same goes for plugins and widgets. Of course, they serve a pretty important purpose in terms of functionality and design. But they also introduce potential security vulnerabilities. You should research every plugin and widget before installing it. Here is what you can do:

  • look through reviews and the reputation of each plugin;
  • don’t use any pirated or outdated plugins; they are full of security holes!
  • update your installed plugins on a regular basis so they have the latest security patches.

It’s always a good idea to remove any widget or plugin that seems suspicious to you. For example, it might start asking for personal data or for unauthorized access to the rest of your website. Also, don’t download anything from unauthorized sources! These widgets might seem harmless at first, but they can start harvesting data immediately after download.

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Think about data security

Almost any student-run website has to deal with user data in one way or another. For example, in case you collect such data as email addresses or comments, you have a responsibility to protect it. There are some of the most popular practices to safeguard user data, even when you don’t have a degree in cybersecurity. Here are a couple of such techniques:

  • use encryption and strong passwords for database access;
  • implement anonymization or pseudonymization;
  • always inform the users about your data collection practices.

Your users have a right to know when their data is being harvested! You can clearly state on your website that you won’t use it for harm or for harassing them in the future. It’s a pretty normal practice for bigger websites to send a notification to users about data privacy, like about using cookies. You can use a plugin to deliver similar messages to your users as well.

Always do backups of everything

You might be very careful about your cybersecurity, and yet it might not be enough. Sometimes, disasters happen, especially when you least expect them. So, don’t forget to do regular backups of your website! You can do it by yourself, or you can use a content management system that would automatically do it for you.

It’s also a good idea to store your backups somewhere else other than your server. This way, your users will be protected even when your servers are down. The best choice for you here is to use third-party cloud storage. There are some pretty great services that don’t cost much. This simple step can make a world of difference when something goes wrong!

Try to stay informed about new security threats

It might be hard for students to balance their studies and running a website. So, not all of them have the time to constantly read something new about the world of cybersecurity. But you need to understand that new vulnerabilities emerge all the time, and hackers always develop new tactics to exploit them. This is why you need to stay vigilant! Here is what you can do:

  • subscribe to security blogs;
  • read advisories from reputable sources;
  • audit the security of your website;
  • ask your content management system administrators to update regularly.

Remember that you might not have enough experience to prevent any threat, but it’s in your hands to stay informed!

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Education is key!

Apart from staying informed by yourself, you can also create a culture of security awareness for those students who help you run the website. It’s also a great idea to educate your users as well, for example, by asking them to create stronger passwords. You can create meetings with your peers to talk about common cyber threats and best practices for online safety.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Last but not least, this is pretty simple. If you don’t think that you have enough expertise to protect your website and your users – don’t hesitate to seek help! There are lots of resources that are available to students, including online forums, free tutorials, and professional security services. You need to estimate your budget and decide if you can hire a professional.

There are also many web developers and security specialists who offer their advice for free. They definitely possess enough expertise and knowledge to detect any issues with your website and offer effective solutions. Just remember that you are not supposed to be a security expert, so seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a proactive approach and responsibility. 

To Sum Up

So there you have it, 10 essential security measures for student-run websites! With these simple tips, you can create a safe and secure online space for your community! Even when your website doesn’t have a lot of visitors, you have to protect their privacy and personal data. Also, you will protect your online reputation and promote trust from users. It’s a win-win situation!

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