Coronavirus support and digital marketing advice

Weekly News Roundup (23-27 August): Web Services Team

Weekly Roundup

And so we reach the end of another August. Summer’s almost over? Where on earth does the time go?! As we brace ourselves to watch the seasons change, it’s time to give our Web team centre stage to take us through the latest trends for your site’s backend.

Today we’ll be discussing everything from how to stay safe from cyberattacks to how content management systems are meeting rising demand from customers. Read on for the most up to date weekly news roundup in the wonderful world of the web.

1) Cybersecurity in the Time of COVID-19

It was recently revealed that, over the course of 2021 so far, the personal details of around 38 million Microsoft users had been left open to potential hackers, including account holders at major companies like Ford and American Airlines. Cyber threats are a constant risk for businesses across all sectors and the pandemic-induced shift to remote working exposed some seriously glaring security gaps within many companies.

If you’re looking to tighten up your cybersecurity – be it personally or professionally – here are a few things we think you should keep in mind. Firstly, when it comes to collaborating remotely, never rely on unknown third party tools. Yes, personal information being exposed via Microsoft servers is why we’re bringing this up, but the data itself was not compromised. Major tech players like Microsoft and Google are always lightning fast at addressing security issues and constantly improving their infrastructure.

When it comes to sensitive client data, you should never save it directly onto your work computer, especially if you are working from home. To be even more confident in your online safety while working remotely, you should be sure to connect to your work VPN or company intranet when collaborating.

As for the safety of your website, you should never store user information in an online database. However, if this can’t be avoided, make sure to use end-to-end encryption for any forms that are submitted. You should also keep on top of any potential weaknesses in your CMS by using security scanning tools such as Detectify for detailed vulnerability reports. 

Finally, in order to avoid giving hackers easy entry to the backend of your site, make the effort to rename any directories and URLs where your sensitive information could be easily found. For example, if your site is hosted on WordPress, your default login URL will be /wp-admin, so consider changing this to a file path that is logical but not obvious, such as /company-name-dashboard-access.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what our Web team can tell you about keeping your CMS safe. If you’re looking for support, get in touch with us today to talk about all things hosting management.

As visual metaphors go, it’s pretty on the nose, but we’ll take it!

2) Making Your CMS Work for You

Another impact the pandemic has had on the CMS industry is a significant increase in demand. With brick-and-mortar stores shutting their doors during lockdown (and, in some cases, for good), retailers had to bring their businesses online to avoid their customers taking their money elsewhere. This has, of course, led to a huge amount of pressure being put on servers and hosting providers to be able to deliver high quality service in the face of increased demand.

When looking for a new content management system on which to host your website, think about the needs and capabilities of your business. If you have the time to take full charge of the running of your site, CMS platforms like the drag-and-drop Wix or the slightly more hands-on industry standard WordPress may well be all you need.

In most cases, there are a wealth of plugins (free and not so free) that can help you with ecommerce, SEO and site speed. Other well known CMS platforms like Drupal, Craft and Joomla require a fair bit of technical assistance to get started and can be time consuming to run and maintain.

Though, of course, even on a more intuitive CMS, we’d strongly recommend getting the assistance of a digital marketing agency (like us!) to help you truly make the most of your web presence. 

Our favourite approach is to use static site generators to source content from various sources, meaning that the sites we develop aren’t exclusively married to one platform. Having a static website offers better site speed for your end users without having to depend on backend services like databases, which will also improve the overall security of your site.

3) Old Blocks, New Tricks

One of the most popular features WordPress offers webmasters is its gallery layout, which allows you to arrange images in a grid setup for easy and appealing viewing. However, the WordPress gallery block is not without its flaws – particularly if you want to try to use these images to link to other pages, which requires the use of a plugin or help from a developer…

…until now!

Planned to roll out in December, the gallery block refactor has been met with welcome reception from webmasters around the world. WP Tavern has reported that an initial demo is also available now, turning the blocks into containers rather than basic image galleries. This allows you to customise the links within each image, as well as make adjustments to the positioning of pictures as part of the block.

And there you have it – our final weekly news roundup of the summer! Grab a comfy sweater for our next installment, when our expert SEO team will be on hand to run you through all the latest goings on in the world of search. Can’t wait until then? Drop us an email with any enquiries you have and let us help you in your quest for digital dominance!