October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). NCSAM was formed in 2014 and is observed to raise awareness around the importance of cybersecurity.

At SiteLock, we too believe in creating a secure Internet for every individual. Beyond protecting websites, our goal is to teach all Internet users about cyber threats and risks. One way we do this is by attending various trade shows around the world to help raise awareness around the importance of cybersecurity.

It’s appropriate, then, that our our hometown WordCamp, WordCamp Phoenix, happened during the first weekend of Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

WordPress powers 25% of the Internet, including well-known sites like CNN and Major League Baseball. SiteLock takes a very active role in the WordPress community, and to help spread awareness around cybersecurity, SiteLock President, Neill Feather, spoke on a security panel at WordCamp Phoenix this past weekend. The topic of the panel was “Security Risk Factors and Best Practices.” Neill provided tips for ways you can go about managing your risks and securing your website. If you missed it, here’s a recap of the questions asked during the panel as well as Neill’s answers.

What are the up and coming security issues?

“We can look at managing security as managing risk. When determining a website’s risk, it is important we first identify what our risk factors are.” – Neill Feather

The tools you have on your website could be inadvertently making your website more vulnerable to cyberattacks. If you use popular website tools, like Google Analytics or PayPal, your site is likely being targeted by cybercriminals. Often times, people think, “everyone is using this tool, so it must be secure.” In actuality, the more features a website has, the more at risk it is.

Is self-managed security a viable option or is it best to use a security provider?

“Don’t assume security is being taken care of for you.” – Neill Feather

Website hosting providers offer website owners with a secure, shared server space. However, even with a secure server, websites are still vulnerable to cyberattacks. Websites need protection, beyond that of which a website hosting provider offers. If you do not have the tools, skills or time to manually manage the security of your website, then you should consider working with a security provider to protect it for you.

What are the “soap box” security topics you focus on?

“Ask yourself, what is your responsibility to the Internet at large?” – Neill Feather

Websites are like small weapons. You should think to yourself, “how are my actions impacting others on the Internet?” Hackers want and can use your website’s resources for various reasons. For example, they can steal your site’s traffic for SEO purposes. Without the proper security in place, hackers are able to steal more of your resources than you’d think.

At the end of the day, websites either make the Internet a better place or a more difficult one. Knowing this, it is important you take responsibility for the security of your website.

How much should the role of security play when choosing a content management system (CMS)? Is WordPress the best choice? 

“WordPress is easy to use, it’s flexible and you can pivot on a dime. But because of this, some people may not understand its power, complexity and risk.” – Neill Feather 

One of the advantages of using WordPress is its ease of use. You don’t have to be a website developer to add plugins and features to increase the popularity of your site. But remember, as we mentioned above, the features you have on your website can increase your likelihood of a cyberattack. Understanding your risks is the first step. You can then take advantage of the security tools and plugins available to you to help mitigate your risks.

What is one thing you want website owners and users to remember?

“Don’t look at security as a chore, look at it as an enabler of success.” –Neill Feather

Security enables us to do great things for our businesses. We have the ability to create highly interactive and dynamic websites, all while having the ability to secure them. With this in mind, avoid looking at security as a nuisance, but rather an opportunity for you to do great things for your business and for the Internet as a whole.

Check out our WordPress blog, the District, for our full recap of WordCamp Phoenix and other WordPress community events.