Having a dedicated team managing your WordPress website security can take your web security from zero to hero. But why? We’ve talked about this a bit in terms of why an IT person isn’t necessarily the best line of defense when it comes to web security, but let’s look at some other potential options.
Having a group of focused experts managing your website security is the only way to truly ensure that your website is safe. By allocating a team or agency to just the security aspects of your site, you can ensure that you’re employing experts on web security who understand just how critical cybersecurity is to your business.
Unfortunately, we most often see “passive” or “reactive” monitoring in the marketplace. This is the type of monitoring where a web host, digital agency, or freelancer responds to issues that the client reports — usually via email, tickets, or live chat. Sure, your security team will respond to issues that are reported, but if you have to report the issues to your security team, that usually means that they’ve already been noticed by website users — your customers. And what’s worse, the web host, digital agency, or freelancer is then in the hot seat, frantically trying to resolve an issue that’s already causing problems.
Creative agencies and freelancers are often not technically skilled enough to properly diagnose and resolve security and performance issues. Due to this lack of specific knowledge, they’ll often resort to band-aid solutions that treat the symptoms but not the underlying problem. The risk of the sites having more significant problems in the future increases as these band-aid solutions are compounded.
This is a potentially dangerous snowball effect, and obviously not the best arrangement for any of the parties involved.
A dedicated team will be able to actively monitor your site. With active monitoring (like we offer at WordZite), the security team is often the first to notice a bug or vulnerability, allowing us to fix it before you or your customers even notice. This saves you the time and headache of contacting your web security provider or having to notify your customers of a potential vulnerability, and keeps problems from going unnoticed and potentially compounding and causing a major breach or outage.
If you’re thinking about using your web host, digital agency or IT person to secure your website, please be aware of the risks involved. The next section highlights some of the things you’ll want to think about.
Hiring a digital agency for all your website concerns might seem like a good idea. They know all about designing websites and digital marketing, so shouldn’t they also be experts in securing websites?
In a word… no. Digital agencies typically offer some basic backup and maintenance services, but they are not focused on security. Security is far from their bread and butter. Their team members are not spending a lot of time learning about advancements and new topics in web security. Furthermore, if a website security issue comes up, it’s going to be more of a burden to them than something they’re motivated to tackle. It’s not their passion. It’s not their focus. It’s not their core service.
Digital agencies rely on revenue from marketing and creative design services. Website security and performance issues take them away from those revenue generating tasks. And while most digital agencies offer some sort of support — out of a basic customer service obligation — it’s often strictly reactive and it won’t be a priority. Nor will they have systems and processes in place to actively monitor and resolve issues on your behalf.
We’ve already talked extensively about why trusting your website security and maintenance entirely to your IT provider (whether that be internal employees or external service providers) is probably not the best idea.
In a nutshell, this is because IT providers are dedicated to IT — and contrary to popular belief, there’s not that much overlap between IT and web. IT people are incredibly skilled at IT, but unless they’ve pursued dual disciplines, they’re not trained in programming and web development. They’re living and breathing Microsoft servers, email, Windows operating systems, exchange servers, VoIP phone systems and other hardware and local software concerns. Ask your IT person how much experience they have resolving bugs in WordPress sites or dealing with errors in WordPress plugins and you’ll quickly see what we mean.
Asking an IT person to do website security is not only a bad idea from a skillset perspective, but it can also discount the importance of IT. If your company email goes down, that’s an IT concern. If your IT person is also handling your website, they’re going to drop everything to do with your website in order to fix the email problem. An email server issue is likely more critical than a formatting error or bug on a website. So, having your IT person’s attention being constantly diverted to other tasks increases the likelihood that those website issues will go unfixed for extended periods of time. This could lead to a loss in inquiries or sales along with your website getting hacked, blacklisted, or dropped from Google’s rankings.
Simply put, web hosting is a commodity. While security is part of their mandate, it’s rare to find a hosting company that is committed specifically to WordPress security. Hosting companies are really only responsible for maintaining their server infrastructure. There are very few web hosts that are willing to take on the liability of securing all of the files, folders, and databases uploaded to their servers by website owners, freelancers, IT people, and digital agencies. It’s too much of a liability. Web hosts will generally prefer to exclude that from their service level agreement (SLA) and leave security concerns up to individual website owners. They may help resolve issues, but again, in a strictly reactive manner.
The sad truth is that most web hosting companies are intentionally designed to be reactive. With the exception of a few top-tier hosts, they’re not going to want to proactively deal with issues. This is because responding to issues is an extra cost-center for their business, which is built on selling high volumes of low-priced hosting plans. Web hosting companies will gladly wait until someone submits a request, and in most cases, they would prefer not to have any inquiries from their clients at all. We love good web hosts and we work closely with them. We respect their area of expertise which is building, configuring, and managing web servers. And likewise, we’ll gladly take the burden of proactively securing WordPress websites off their shoulders.
And that brings us to our common theme — staying in your area of expertise. Of course, branching out and developing new skills is a good thing, but wearing too many hats in a business environment tends to be a recipe for disorganization and inefficiency.
Don’t get us wrong. We refer a lot of business to (and from) various digital agencies, IT providers, and web hosts. We appreciate and respect these relationships and applaud those who focus on what they are good at and do it well. We believe that allowing experts to focus on the things that they’re best at makes for a better-functioning business. Wouldn’t you rest easier knowing you have a website secured by experts?
If you have any concerns about the security of your website, please don’t hesitate to contact us.