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Secure Web Hosting

The threat of online crime makes secure web hosting important for most web sites. Though secure web hosting can't stop all Internet attacks, it can make web sites a lot safer. Keep reading to learn how to keep your website secure, and provide security for your customers.

Secure web hosting can help keep companies and their customers safe from a variety of criminal attacks. There are a number of components of secure web hosting, and businesses need to determine which secure web hosting features are important to them and find a web host that offers those features. The definition of secure web hosting varies by the company offering the secure web hosting, so it's also important to know exactly what is including in a secure web hosting package.

Online identity theft, fraud, and other Internet-based crimes are a major concern for US businesses, costing almost $560 million in losses in 2009 alone according to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. Though these crimes are perpetuated in a number of different ways, and there is probably no way to completely prevent Internet crime, using secure web hosting can help reduce incidents of online crime.

There are a number of types of crime that secure web hosting may be able to help prevent:

  • Stealing sensitive company information by breaking into the company's private files, emails, and other information stored in computers with an Internet connection
  • Theft of customers' personal information stored in a business's server or database
  • Theft of customers' credit card numbers and billing information during an online transaction
  • Hacking into a web site and changing its components, either to deface the web site or to defraud customers or the web site owners
  • Shutting down or disabling web sites

Secure web hosting is essential for eCommerce web sites to allow their customers to complete their transactions securely, especially if the business stores any customer information. It is also important for any web site that is connected to any information that should not be made public, including internal intranets used within companies, and for any web site that would sustain harm by being hacked into and changed. There is both a physical and a technological aspect to secure web hosting.

Physically, secure web hosting should ensure that access to the servers that store web sites is strictly limited. In some cases, servers may be locked in access-controlled rooms or in individual cages, with only security-cleared individuals given access to the servers. This reduces the chances that someone can access the information on the servers without permission, or take any actions that might change or disable the web sites hosted on the servers.

At least as important as physical security is technological security for secure web hosting. Possibly the most well-known form of Internet security is the use of encryption through secure socket layer (SSL) technology to deter theft of billing information during an online business transaction. An SSL certificate may be shared among several web sites on the same server, or a company may purchase its own unique SSL certificate for more security. Some web hosts also support advanced security features like the VeriSign seal, which provides more reassurance to customers that a web site is authentic. Though this type of security is one very important feature of secure web hosting for eCommerce web sites, there are other types of technological security to consider. Secure web hosting can also include measures to prevent anyone from hacking into the server and stealing or changing information stored there or intercepting emails. Passwords, firewalls, virus and malware protection, encrypted email, and monitoring services are some of the methods secure web hosts may offer to help keep information safe.

It's important for web site administrators to decide what level of security they need when looking for secure website hosting, because web hosts may have very different definitions of what makes their web hosting secure. For most web sites, a firewall, virus protection program, and password protections, along with a shared SSL certificate, are probably fine, but companies in some situations, such as those that store their customers' or their own private information or deal with medical records, may need a higher level of security. Though higher levels of security usually cost more, they also offer more services than less expensive secure web hosting.

Related Article: Web Hosting Customer Support >>

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