6 Security Tips Every Web Developer Should Follow

By Alyse Falk

January 22nd, 2022

An image of a padlock

The market for web development is growing at a tremendous pace. As per recent stats, the online web content management market is expected to reach $14.3 billion by 2026, which is massive. The sole credit for this market goes to all the brilliant developers across the globe.

However, web development is not easy. Countless aspects need your attention, including security. As every digital technology industry is developing at an exponential rate, hackers have also devised some great methods to get their hands on critical data.

Therefore, when developing a website, it is crucial to take care of the security aspects. There are various things to keep in mind. Let's explore them!

Think carefully before storing data

The very first thing to consider is the type of data that will be stored on the website. Many websites unnecessarily collect user data that is not even needed. And if this data gets compromised, the website's reputation will be put in jeopardy.

Before allowing the collection of any type of data, think long and hard if it's necessary: you shouldn't overload a website with unneeded data. If you think that user data like credit cards, passwords, addresses are not required, you should not store them. This will make the website much more efficient, secure, and easier to manage.

Use strong passwords

Every website must be secured behind the strongest passwords possible. The success and safety of a business depends on it. If you're still using simple passwords like "qwerty123", you're an easy target for hackers. Passwords like this can be hacked in under 10 seconds.

So, to ensure that your website and business data remains secure, lock this data using strong passwords. A strong password always contains at least eight characters, including a special character, a number, and an uppercase letter.

If you're not that good at remembering strong passwords (just like most of us), then you should consider getting a password manager like this one.

Encrypt visitor data

Visitors are the basis of any website, and it is important to build trust with them by protecting their data. If any user data is collected and stored, keep it encrypted. The more sensitive the data that's stored, the stronger the encryption should be. For example, websites handling credit card information should aim for only the strongest encryption available. If data is strongly encrypted, it's nearly untouchable by hackers.

Some common data encryption types include:

  • AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)
  • Triple DES (Data Encryption Standard)
  • Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA)

Validate all inputs

There are many ways in which online data can be compromised through user inputs, which is why input validation is a crucial component of secure web development.

For instance, whenever a developer logs into their online working account, they require two data credentials, ID and password. These two fields are very common across various websites. Other common types of fields are search bars, query forms, etc. While these forms add much-needed functionality to a website, they also open up the website to all sorts of attacks. For instance, hackers can send a request that helps them access restricted data from the website. This kind of attack is known as an SQL injection.

Now, this kind of attack can be avoided by thoroughly validating and sanitizing user input. Make sure that any input received by users is not sent directly to the database but rather thoroughly checked beforehand. You can also create a set of validators to check the inputs carefully. A firewall should also help avoid such attacks.

Use a VPN

A VPN is an excellent tool to ensure that all of your sensitive data is transmitted securely over the web. This is especially important in every step of web development. Web developers usually work with lots of sensitive data that they get from clients, such as financial information, patent information, and software or app schematics. A VPN will help keep all of this information safe.

Focus on software updates

A common method in which a hacker can get their hands on your sensitive data is through old software versions. For example, most WordPress plugins release software updates occasionally, and these updates often patch past vulnerabilities.

As a web developer, you should ensure that all software related to the website is updated, and you should encourage your client to keep up this practice once you part ways.

Conclusion

All professionals operating online must consider security as one of the most crucial aspects of business. As a web developer, your integrity and reputation lie in your ability to build trust with your clients. The first way to build trust is by securing the data of your clients and helping your clients secure the data of their users. The tips mentioned above will help you achieve this, so use this information wisely!