In the aftermath of the Mother of All “Data” Breaches (MOAB), website owners are now finally realizing their websites need better security.  This monumental breach, which affected millions, highlights the pressing need for enhanced security measures in website management. In light of this event, this article aims to provide website owners with a practical and approachable security protocol. By offering recommended software and best practices, we aim to empower individuals to fortify their websites and better protect against future breaches.

The purpose of this protocol is to help establish best practices for users who manage websites online to ensure the security and integrity of their digital assets. By adhering to this protocol, users can mitigate potential risks such as data breaches, unauthorized access, and malware infections.

User Access Control

    • Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts associated with website management.
    • Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible, such as using SMS codes, authenticator apps, or hardware tokens.
    • Regularly review and update access permissions for users, ensuring that only necessary personnel have administrative privileges.

Software Recommendations

    • Utilize a reputable password manager to securely store and generate complex passwords.
    • Employ a trusted virtual private network (VPN) when accessing website management tools, especially when using public or unsecured networks.
    • Install and regularly update reputable antivirus and anti-malware software to detect and remove potential threats.
    • Utilize a robust web application firewall (WAF) to protect against common web-based attacks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS).
    • Employ an intrusion detection system (IDS) or intrusion prevention system (IPS) to monitor and block suspicious network traffic.

Website Security

    • Keep all software, including content management systems (CMS), plugins, themes, and server software, up to date with the latest security patches.
    • Regularly scan websites for vulnerabilities using automated tools and conduct manual code reviews where possible.
    • Implement SSL/TLS encryption to secure data transmitted between users and the website, especially for login pages and forms that collect sensitive information.
    • Enable secure file permissions and directory settings to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive files.
    • Backup website data regularly and store backups in a secure offsite location.

Data Protection and Privacy

    • Comply with relevant data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), by implementing appropriate measures to protect user data.
    • Encrypt sensitive data both at rest and in transit to prevent unauthorized access.
    • Implement a data retention policy to regularly review and securely delete unnecessary user data.

Employee Training and Awareness

    • Provide regular training sessions and educational materials to employees on cybersecurity best practices, including how to identify phishing attempts, avoid downloading malware, and recognize suspicious behavior.
    • Conduct simulated phishing exercises to test employees’ awareness and response to potential threats.

Incident Response Plan

    • Develop and maintain an incident response plan outlining the steps to take in the event of a security breach, including procedures for notifying affected parties, containing the incident, and restoring services.
    • Assign specific roles and responsibilities to employees involved in incident response and ensure they are trained accordingly.

Regular Audits and Assessments

    • Conduct regular security audits and assessments of website infrastructure, applications, and processes to identify and remediate potential vulnerabilities.
    • Engage third-party security professionals or penetration testers to perform comprehensive security assessments periodically.

Documentation and Compliance

    • Maintain thorough documentation of all security protocols, procedures, and incidents for compliance purposes and future reference.
    • Stay informed about evolving cybersecurity threats and regulations relevant to website management and adjust security protocols accordingly.


    • By following this security protocol diligently and staying vigilant against emerging threats, users can significantly enhance the security posture of their websites and protect sensitive data from unauthorized access and exploitation. Continual monitoring, updates, and adaptation to new challenges are crucial in maintaining robust website security in an ever-changing digital landscape.