While you have been researching all that it takes to start a business, the question of security must have popped up more than once. You had to consider your business data security, your finances, the physical security of your future employees and assets. However, chances are that you thought that at least when it comes to your website, that your job ends with hiring an agency to build it.
In reality, the safety of your website needs to be considered even before building it. Your domain name and consequently your brand can fall prey to cybercriminals which means that the question of domain name security affects both you and your prospective customers. To help mitigate that, here are three simple but essential pieces of advice you should take into consideration before your website goes live.
Choose your password wisely
When it comes to passwords, observe your domain name security as you would the security of an important account. The password needs to be strong or you might as well send an invitation to cybercriminals to hijack your domain name. What’s crucial is that it also has to be unique – online services are often compromised so if cybercriminals get hold of your user names and passwords for another account you used the same password for, they will have no problem stealing your domain name.
Your password should be a secret for others, and by that, we don’t mean only the people from whom you would hide your Facebook password, such as your friends and family. Not even your web hosting providers or web designers need to learn it and they also shouldn’t be listed as registrants of your domain name. However, in case you wish to add a third party to that list, make sure you are acquainted with yours and the third party’s contractual obligations regarding the administration of your domain. Creating a strong and unique password is a simple, yet potent way to protect your domain name.
Add 2-factor authentication
There is a much stronger source of protection than the usual security questions such as your first pet’s name or your mom’s maiden name and that is – two-factor authentication (2FA). Technology helped businesses develop beyond anyone’s wildest dreams but it also opened the door to criminals as well. With the help of technology, hackers can test a staggering amount of password combinations per second so before protecting your domain name with just a security question, consider adding the mentioned 2FA.
Two-factor authentication acts as a second layer of security in the sense that, after the initial entry of your user name and password, you have a second step as well. In this second step, you need to enter a unique strain of numbers. This strain of numbers, that is, the one-time password (OTP), get be generated in several ways – you can get it in an SMS after successfully completing the first step, via a physical device designed specifically to generate it, an app you install on your phone, (secondary) email account or even a voice call via a text-to-speech service. All in all, 2FA is an excellent addition to your domain security, and you only need to check the registration agreement to see if such multistep authentication is available.
Look beyond .com as a TLD
There are two main reasons people go for .com as the top-level domain (TLD): the first is that its popularity makes it a safe choice from their perspective, and the second is that they aren’t aware that there are any other options. The thing is, when you are coming up with your domain name, besides prioritizing security, you would also want something unique to stand out among so many and having a .com at the end won’t contribute much to that cause.
So, what you can do is to choose another reliable TLD but that will make your website name memorable. What’s important is that Google treats .me, that is, country code top-level domains (ccTLD), like any generic TLD. This means you can reap all regular SEO benefits, while your domain name security can be additionally protected with Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) and a Registry Lock. In this manner, you would be ensuring security without inhibiting the creativity of your domain name.
Anyone who manages to access the account you hold with your domain name registrar can steal your domain name. However, the good news is that there are ways to prevent cybercriminals from diverting your visitors to their website or accessing your business email. It all starts at the core, that is, a strong and unique password, on top of which you can place 2FA as an additional layer of security, as well as DNSSEC and Registry Lock.
Besides these protocols, you also need to be mindful of your online behavior and refrain from automatically opening attachments you receive in emails or clicking on links. In addition to that, you should report any website or malicious activity you encounter so that you can actively help the fight against cybercrime.