5 Ways to Secure Your Small Business Website

Your small business website is likely an essential part of your marketing strategy. It may also be your e-commerce sales channel or the platform you deliver your software on. In short, you need to keep your small business website safe. However, you likely can’t afford the same cybersecurity services as the big guys. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do yourself. This quick guide from nexxai.dev can help you figure out what you need to do.

Set Strong Login Credentials

The various login credentials you use for your website are one of your most important lines of defense. Make sure you are using long, strong passwords for any accounts. Additionally, at a minimum, all accounts with administrator access should be using either two-factor authentication or SSH keys. This may seem like a lot of trouble, but it is worth it.

Additionally, you should be very cautious about who has access to your website. If you need to give access to employees or freelancers, only give them the permissions they need. For example, if someone is just posting blogs, he or she doesn’t need administrator access.

Implement SSL

Secure socket layer or SSL is a technology used to encrypt data between computer browsers and website servers. It is a must-have technology for any small business website.

First, it will ensure that no one can snoop on the traffic between your visitors and your website. This includes if you are trying to log into your website back end from your own computer.

Second, many browsers are all but requiring HTTPS connections (achieved using SSL). It makes your website more secure, more professional-looking, and in compliance with the latest best practices. In short, you need to use this technology. According to the University of Michigan, around 80 percent of websites use HTTPS. If you aren’t, you are falling behind.

Back Up Your Website Often

You are hopefully already backing up your business data regularly. You should be doing the same with your website content. Anything that you have on your website should be backed up fairly regularly. If you post a lot of new content or capture customer data through your site, consider daily or even hourly backups. If not, you may be able to do weekly backups.

Get Help Configuring It

There are a lot of options when setting up a website, especially if you manage your own server or content management system. It is a good idea to get someone to help you set it up. This will help you to ensure that your website complies with all the latest security best practices. Even seemingly unrelated errors can cause significant vulnerabilities. Don’t risk your website or your business’s financial well-being. Consider hiring a freelancer. When you are considering an individual, look at his or her reviews from other customers. Also, make sure you have clear expectations about cost and delivery time.

Use Malware Protection

Finally, remember to use malware protection with your website hosting service. If you are renting or setting up a server on your own, you should install the appropriate anti-malware software – and keep it updated. Additionally, you will want a firewall (ideally a stand-alone network firewall). If you are using a shared hosting service, learn about your host’s security practices. Never use a host that doesn’t have a well-defined security plan.

Get Started Today

Discover more today about keeping your small business website safe. With a few best practices and the right help, you can ensure that your website is safe from cyberattacks.

About the Author

Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of TechDeck.info where he offers easy-to-understand tech related advice and troubleshooting tips.

Deploying an Azure App Service from scratch, including DNS and TLS

As many of you have probably gathered, over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on building a process for deploying an Azure App Service from scratch, including DNS and TLS in a single Terraform module.

Today, I write this post with success in my heart, and at the bottom, I provide copies of the necessary files for your own usage.

One of the biggest hurdles I faced was trying to integrate Cloudflare’s CDN services with Azure’s Custom Domain verification. Typically, I’ll rely on the options available in the GUI as the inclusive list of “things I can do” so up until now, if we wanted to stand up a multi-region App Service, we had to do the following:

  1. Build and deploy the App Service, using the azurewebsites.net hostname for HTTPS for each region (R1 and R2)

    e.g. example-app-eastus.azurewebsites.net (R1), example-app-westus.azurewebsites.net (R2)
  2. Create the CNAME record for the service at Cloudflare pointing at R1, turning off proxying (orange cloud off)

    e.g. example-app.domain.com -> example-app-eastus.azurewebsites.net
  3. Add the Custom Domain on R1, using the CNAME verification method
  4. Once the hostname is verified, go back to Cloudflare and update the CNAME record for the service to point to R2

    e.g. example-app.domain.com -> example-app-westus.azurewebsites.net
  5. Add the Custom Domain on R2, using the CNAME verification method
  6. Once the hostname is verified, go back to Cloudflare and update the CNAME record for the service to point to the Traffic Manager, and also turn on proxying (orange cloud on)

While this eventually accomplishes the task, the failure mode it introduces is that if you ever want to add a third (or fourth or fifth…) region, you temporarily have to not only direct all traffic to your brand new single instance momentarily to verify the domain, but you also have to turn off proxying, exposing the fact that you are using Azure (bad OPSEC).

After doing some digging however, I came across a Microsoft document that explains that there is a way to add a TXT record which you can use to verify ownership of the domain without a bunch of messing around with the original record you’re dealing with.

This is great because we can just add new awverify records for each region and Azure will trust we own them, but Terraform introduces a new wrinkle in that it creates the record at Cloudflare so fast that Cloudflare’s infrastructure often doesn’t have time to replicate the new entry across their fleet before you attempt the verification, which means that the lookup will fail and Terraform will die.

To get around this, we added a null_resource that just executes a 30 second sleep to allow time for the record to propagate through Cloudflare’s network before attempting the lookup.

I’ve put together a copy of our Terraform modules for your perusal and usage:

Using this module will allow you to easily deploy all of your micro-services in a Highly Available configuration by utilizing multiple regions.

Generate Terraform files for existing resources

You may find yourself in a position where a resource already exists in your cloud environment but was created in the respective provider’s GUI rather than in Terraform. You may feel a bit overwhelmed at first, but there are a few ways to generate Terraform files for existing resources, and we’re going to talk about the various ways today. This is also not an exhaustive list; if you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to update this post.

Method 1 – Manual

Be warned, the manual method takes a little more time, but is not restricted to certain resource types. I prefer this method because it means that you’ll be able to see every setting that is already set on your resource with your own two eyes, which is good for sanity checking.

First, you’re going to want to create a .tf file with just the outline of the resource type you’re trying to import or generate.

For example, if I wanted to create the Terraform for a resource group called example-resource-group that had several tags attached to it, I would do:

resource "azurerm_resource_group" "example-resource-group" {

and then save it.

Next, I would go to the Azure GUI, find and open the resource group, and then open the ‘Properties’ section from the blade.

I would look for the Resource ID, for example /subscriptions/54ba8d50-7332-4f23-88fe-f88221f75bb3/resourceGroups/example-resource-group and copy it.

I would then open up a command prompt / terminal and import the state by running: terraform import azurerm_resource_group.example-resource-group /subscriptions/54ba8d50-7332-4f23-88fe-f88221f75bb3/resourceGroups/example-resource-group

Finally, and this is the crucial part, I would immediately run terraform plan. There may be required fields that you will need to fill out before this comamnd works, but in general, this will compare the existing state that you just imported to the blank resource in the .tf file, and show you all of the differences which you can then copy into your new Terraform file, and be confident that you have imported all of the settings.


# azurerm_resource_group.example-resource-group will be updated in-place
   ~ resource "azurerm_resource_group" "example-resource-group" {
         id       = "/subscriptions/54ba8d50-7332-4f23-88fe-f88221f75bb3/resourceGroups/example-resource-group"
         location = "centralus"
         name     = "example-resource-group"
       ~ tags     = {
           ~ "environment" = "dev" -> null
           ~ "owner"       = "example.person" -> null
           ~ "product"     = "internal" -> null

A shortcut I’ve found is to just copy the entire resource section, and then replace all of the tildes (~) with spaces, and then find and remove all instances of -> null.

Method 2 – Az2tf (Azure only)

Andy Thomas (Microsoft employee) put together a tool called Az2tf which iterates over your entire subscription, and generates .tf files for most of the common types of resources, and he’s adding more all the time. Requesting a specific resource type is as simple as opening an issue and explaining which resource is missing. In my experience, he’s responded within a few hours with a solution.

Method 3 – Terraforming (AWS only)

Daisuke Fujita put together a tool called Terraforming that with a little bit of scripting can generate Terraform files for all of your AWS resources.

Method 4 – cf-terraforming (Cloudflare only)

Cloudflare put together a fantastic tool called cf-terraforming which rips through your Cloudflare tenant and generates .tf files for everything Cloudflare related. The great thing about cf-terraforming is that because it’s written by the vendor of the original product, they treat it as a first class citizen and keep it very up-to-date with any new resources they themselves add to their product. I wish all vendors would do this.

To sum things up, there are plenty of ways to generate Terraform files for existing resources. Some are more time consuming than others, but they all have the goal of making your environment less brittle and your processes more repeatable, which will save time, money, and most importantly stress, when an inevitable incident takes place.

Do you know of any other tools for these or other providers that can assist in bringing previously unmanaged resources under Terraform management? Leave a comment and we’ll add them to this page as soon as possible!

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