How to Secure WordPress for Enterprise Businesses

WordPress began as a humble blogging tool. Today, it’s a dominate force in the world of websites. Businesses from various industries are harnessing the power of WordPress to meet their digital needs, thanks to its impressive open-source capabilities. At Americaneagle.com, our skilled and experienced team of WordPress developers and support specialists are ready to assist your business every step of the way.  

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WordPress enterprise security is key. The security for WordPress websites is a critical aspect of the platform. Daily, WordPress.com blocks millions of malicious requests and hacking attempts. Automated malware scanning and one-click fixes ensure you’ll stay one step ahead of security threats. User accounts are kept secure with two-factor authentication that’s built-in, along with compromised password scanning, DDoS and WAF protection, and more.

As a global WordPress development partner, Americaneagle.com has years of successful experience with enterprise WordPress development, including support, theme and plugin assistance, updates, and implementations. Our expert team creates exceptional digital experiences leveraging the WordPress platform and we’ve helped countless enterprises in many industries achieve their online business goals.

WordPress for Enterprise Businesses

Enterprise businesses and organizations have certain characteristics. They are typically large, intricate organizations consisting of multiple divisions and departments overseen by either a board of directors or an executive team. Just as enterprises are larger and more complex than a smaller business, an enterprise website entails the same characteristics. They are complex, usually receive a lot of traffic, include a diverse group of stakeholders, and operate multi-nationally. 

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Some examples of WordPress enterprise websites include:

  • WhiteHouse.gov
  • Hachette Book Group
  • Grupo Abril
  • News Corp Australia
  • Penske Media Corporation
  • The New York Post
  • iOne Digital
  • USA TODAY Sports Media
  • Venture Beat
  • Kaiser Family Foundation

It’s important to note there are some specific challenges faced by enterprise businesses with a significant web presence. Cybersecurity is a big concern. Most large businesses are well known, making them prime targets for cybercriminals due to the volume of data they handle; preventing cyber-attacks and protecting sensitive customer information are major challenges. Scalability is another challenge because managing a large web presence requires infrastructure that can handle high traffic volumes, frequent updates, and rapid growth.

Providing a positive and personalized customer experience is crucial for large businesses and having consistency across different platforms and channels can be challenging. Since large businesses have a large amount of data, analyzing, collecting, managing, and using this data properly can be a complex task, requiring sophisticated data management systems and processes. Finally, actively monitoring and managing their brand image, responding to customer feedback, and maintaining a good online reputation is another challenge that comes with an enterprise business website. 

Understanding the Security Threats to Your WordPress Website

One of the most critical concerns for enterprise WordPress business websites is cybersecurity. With their high visibility and extensive data handling, they become prime targets for cybercriminals.

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In the face of ever-growing cyber threats, preventing attacks and safeguarding sensitive customer information have become monumental challenges, and it’s important to not let these risks compromise your business and tarnish your reputation, revenue, or data. WordPress websites take proactive measures to fortify your cybersecurity defenses and prioritize the protection of your valuable data.

Here are some of the main security threats:

Brute-Force Attacks

In a brute force attack, hackers attempt to gain unauthorized access to a website by systematically trying different combinations of usernames and passwords until they find the correct ones. Some common prevention methods for online brute force attacks include implementing account lockouts after a certain number of failed login attempts, using strong and complex passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and regularly updating and patching software and applications.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

XSS attacks involve injecting malicious scripts into web pages viewed by users, allowing attackers to steal sensitive information, hijack user sessions, or spread malware. To prevent XSS attacks, WordPress recommends using the latest version of plugins and themes, as well as regularly updating the WordPress core, using strong passwords, and limiting access to sensitive areas of the website.

Database Injections

SQL injection attacks occur when hackers manipulate a website's database by injecting malicious SQL code into user input fields. This can lead to unauthorized access or data theft. On the other hand, XSS (cross-site scripting) is a type of vulnerability where an attacker injects malicious scripts into a website, which are then executed by the user's browser. While both SQL injection and XSS are web application vulnerabilities, they differ in terms of the attack vector and the impact they can have on the system.

Backdoor Attacks  

Backdoor attacks refer to unauthorized access to a system or network through hidden entry points, often referred to as "backdoors." These backdoors are intentionally created or exploited by attackers to gain ongoing access to the targeted system without being detected. The secretive nature of backdoor attacks lies in their ability to bypass traditional security measures and maintain persistent access, granting attackers control over the compromised system.

Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks

In a DoS attack, a single source or computer floods a target system with traffic, overwhelming its resources and causing a denial of service. However, since it involves a single attacker, the impact is generally limited to a single target. DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, on the other hand, are malicious attempts to overwhelm a target website, network, or online service by flooding it with an enormous amount of traffic, aiming to disrupt the regular functioning of the targeted system.

Phishing

Phishing is a type of cyber-attack where attackers deceive individuals into disclosing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, or other personal information. The attackers typically present themselves as trustworthy entities, like banks, social media platforms, or online services, to trick unsuspecting victims into providing their confidential data. Prevention through education plays a crucial role in combating phishing attacks. Here are some important preventive measures:

  • Awareness and vigilance
  • Security training
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Email filters and spam detection
  • Regular updates and patches

By prioritizing education, raising awareness, and implementing preventive measures, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of being victimized by phishing attacks.

Hotlinking

Hotlinking refers to the practice of embedding images, videos, or other media from one website into another website by referencing the original source URL. Instead of hosting the media files on their own server, website owners use hotlinks to display the content directly from the source website. Hotlinking can introduce security vulnerabilities into websites, particularly when using third-party themes, plugins, or outdated software versions. If a theme or plugin is not regularly updated, it may contain unpatched security flaws that can be exploited by hackers. By hotlinking media from an external source, the website opens itself up to potential attacks as the source site could become compromised and serve malicious content to unsuspecting visitors.

Ransomware

WordPress sites can be targeted by malware that infects files and plugins, leading to various issues such as data breaches, website defacement, and spreading malware to visitors. Failure to keep WordPress plugins, themes, and core software up to date can leave sites vulnerable to attacks because hackers often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated versions.

Enterprise-Specific Security Measures

The security of the WordPress platform depends on how it is set up, maintained, and managed. While WordPress is built with security in mind, it can be vulnerable to security risks if some measures are not taken. 

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Quality Hosting: The First Line of Defense

To keep a WordPress website secure, it is important to conduct regular security audits, and partner with an enterprise-specific WordPress hosting company like Americaneagle.com. Containerization, automated backups, expert support with advanced options like malware scans, a built-in firewall, and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).

DNS: The Critical Role of DNS in Website Security

The DNS (domain name system) plays a crucial role in website security as it is responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses. It helps ensure that users are directed to the correct website and prevents them from being redirected to malicious or fake websites. Additionally, DNS can be used to implement security measures such as DNSSEC (domain name system security extensions) to protect against DNS spoofing and cache poisoning attacks.

HTTPS: Harnessing HTTPS for Data Protection

HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) is a secure version of HTTP, using SSL (secure sockets layer) or TLS (transport layer security) protocols to encrypt data in transit. This encryption ensures that any data sent between the server and the client is secure and cannot be intercepted by attackers. SSL (secure sockets layer) is a security protocol used to establish an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser. TLS (transport layer security) is a successor to SSL (secure sockets layer) protocol, which is used to secure the communication between web servers and clients. TLS is an improved version of SSL, which addresses some of the security vulnerabilities found in SSL. Encrypted data transfer is important because it ensures that sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and personal details are protected from unauthorized access during transmission. This helps to prevent identity theft, fraud, and other malicious activities.

Security Plugins: Maximizing WordPress Security with Plugins

Plugins play a crucial role in fortifying enterprise WordPress sites by providing additional layers of protection against common threats such as malware, brute force attacks, and SQL injections. These WordPress security plugins can also help with monitoring and alerting site owners of any suspicious activity. Sucuri, Wordfence, and iThemes Security are popular WordPress security plugins that provide a comprehensive suite of security features to protect your website from various online threats and vulnerabilities.

A comparison table of 5 WordPress Security Plugins, detailing features like Firewall, Malware Scanning, Two Factor Authentication, Login Protection, Real-Time Monitoring, and Security Hardening.

Secure Logins & User Management: Best Practices for Secure Logins

Human error is an element for login vulnerabilities, an example being that some users choose simple passwords like password123, etc. You can utilize WordPress' roles and capabilities, enforce strong passwords, include two-factor authentication, IP whitelisting, and corporate SSO systems to monitor user actions for anomalies.

Firewall: The Importance of Firewall and Brute Force Protection

Firewalls monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. They act as a barrier between a trusted internal network and an untrusted external network, such as the internet. Firewalls are important because they help protect against unauthorized access, malware, and other cyber threats by filtering and blocking potentially harmful traffic. Some of the most popular services include Cloudflare, Sucuri, StackPath, and it’s also important to understand the limitations of application-level firewalls like Wordfence or Jetpack for enterprise needs.

Diagram showing the role of a Web Application Firewall in protecting a WordPress website from threats via the internet and brute force attacks.

Clean Backups: Safeguarding with Regular Data Backups

Automated backups are more reliable than manual backups, ensuring consistent data protection, reducing recovery time, and improving business continuity. 

Additional Tips

Here are some standard tips for improving WordPress security:

  • Only download from trusted sources
  • Always use official plugins and service providers
  • Backups must be part of your regular routine
  • Make sure you are stay on top of all software updates
  • Install a VPN on all devices and on all your networks
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Conclusion

Specialized security for enterprise WordPress websites is important to ensure the protection of sensitive data, maintain website functionality, and safeguard against potential cyber threats.

Here are some of the steps that should be taken to enhance the security of such sites:

Optimal hosting: Choosing a reliable and secure hosting provider is crucial; choose those that offer strong server-side security measures, regular updates, and robust infrastructure to handle potential attacks.

Premium DNS: Implementing a premium DNS service adds an extra layer of security.

Secure logins: Enforce strong passwords for all user accounts, implement two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security, and limit login attempts.

Firewalls: Use web application firewalls (WAFs) to protect against common security vulnerabilities and malicious traffic.

Regular backups: Set up regular automated backups (in offsite locations or use cloud-based backup solutions) of your WordPress site to ensure that in case of a security breach or data loss, you have a recent copy of your site that can be restored quickly.

By following these steps, enterprise WordPress sites can significantly reduce the risk of security breaches, minimize downtime, and maintain the trust of their users. 

Managed Hosting Recommendations

Enterprise WordPress websites demand excellent, secure, and reliable hosting providers. 

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WPEngine is a popular choice for enterprise-level website security for businesses. It focuses on speed, security, and scalability. You will get the best performance for your WordPress website with Americaneagle.com and WP Engine, with 24/7 support to ensure your site is always up and running. Americaneagle.com and WP Engine are the perfect partnership for businesses that need experienced high-performance hosting partners to manage their unique digital needs.

WordPress VIP is a premium hosting service offered by Automattic, providing comprehensive solutions for large-scale enterprises and proactive security measures to ensure a robust and secure enterprise website. It is designed to deliver breakthrough business results, offering fast and secure WordPress hosting. With its managed WordPress hosting service, WordPress VIP caters to the needs of high-profile websites and content creators, providing them with a reliable and powerful platform to run their online presence.


About Author

Shawn Griffin
Shawn has been with Americaneagle.com since 1999 in a variety of roles. Currently, Shawn is part of our digital marketing and content team. In addition to editing and producing written company pieces, he produces copy for clients and he also helps to produce our radio and TV spots. He wants to make sure everybody knows that it’s truly a collaborative effort – between many, including the people he’s worked for during the past 20+ years!


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