By Chris Beattie

For many businesses, these days, their website is the most valuable commodity. It is for today’s businesses what the shop window was several decades ago. A window to the world ad to your potential customers.

Whether you are selling products online or marketing the real-world product you are making or service you are providing, your website is how most people will find you and often how they will interact with you.

It is perhaps a little surprising therefore how blasé we are with the vital tool at times. Too often you will see a cool looking product or read about a great sounding business, only to head over to their website and find it looking totally uninviting or be totally impossible to navigate.

How do you respond? You take your custom elsewhere of course, just as you would have done 30 years ago if the shop window looked shabby.

But then there is the issue of security and privacy. Customers expect websites to be secure and that any data that might be held about them will be kept securely. As the person running your business, you also have to be conscious about your online security and privacy of you don’t want to fall victim to crimes like identity theft which could see your business bankrupted in a matter of days. But too many businesses, large and small, still overlook the importance of website security.

And this is a major issue when things go wrong. Take a look at the recent data breach at Yahoo! They are a struggling company anyway, but the massive negative PR from that breach could still prove to be the final nail in their coffin.

And make no mistake, the same rule is true for all businesses from global corporations like Yahoo!, right down to the local florist or hairdresser.

But it doesn’t have to be this big issue. Because actually keeping your website secure and ensuring privacy for your customers is a pretty easy feat to achieve. As I am about to show you, with just three simple steps you can take to protect the privacy and security of your website. Here are tips for keeping your website privacy airtight in 2017.

Do Not Post Any Personal Data

It might seem the obvious thing to do, especially with a business profile, but it is always a mistake to put your personal information up on your website. It is there for everyone to see and what is more it is always going to be there too.

Remember that it is not just your customers who will be able to see it. This type of information is like manna from heaven for criminals and cyber-criminals alike.

Do your upmost to keep such details to a minimum. Create anonymous emails for your business and try to use a secure provider to run them. Avoid putting such things as private mobile phone numbers online too.

It isn’t rocket science but just taking a few simple, common-sense steps like this can make a whole world of difference.

Use Private Domain Registration

Private Domain Registration is offered by most domain name registrars. A lot of people don’t know it but when you register a website domain, your personal details are uploaded to the WHOIS database. This is a publicly available database of website domain owners. And it is a tool which a lot of cyber-criminals make use of. But there is a way to keep your details off it.

Private Domain Registration is how to keep your information off that database. For just a few dollars, your details will be replaced by those of a forwarding service. This ensures your private data remains private. It costs a few dollars, but it is money very, very well spent.

Use a VPN

Last, but by no means least, be sure to always use a VPN. Whether you are doing front or back-end work on your site, a Virtual Private Network will ensure there is no way for hackers to gain access the site and the data it contains.

They work by rerouting all your traffic down an encrypted pathway to an external server. This ensures all your online traffic is encrypted and so secure. It also masks your IP Address and so allows you to be essentially anonymous online too.

The security and privacy benefits alone should be enough to persuade you of the merits of a VPN, but there are plenty more perks too. For example, switching IP Addresses makes it possible to visit geo-blocked sites no matter where in the world you are. This means you can see all the shows you love when you are overseas that might otherwise be blocked. They are also great for getting online if you are visiting somewhere like China where the Government censors online content.