Setting up a website is not rocket science and with the increasing number of tools and software available online, more and more people are going live. Drupal is one such web content management system that has helped many netizens. However, it is important to regularly conduct Drupal security review.
With any technological development that goes mainstream, there are certain issues that crop up. These issues may seem innocuous but if not taken care of in a timely fashion, these may cause large scale disruption.
In this article, we shall discuss some of the important steps that you can take to secure your website with drupal. This includes advice on both positive steps that you should take and mistakes that you need to be wary of. Let’s jump straight into it.
1. Stay Updated
With any software, it is important to stay updated about the various bug fixes and security protocols that they keep updating. This is more important when it comes to open source software like Drupal.
It is here that the role of site administrators comes into the picture. They are the ones who need to stay abreast of all the latest developments. There are two ways they can do this. First, they must subscribe to the official security mailing list of Drupal. Second, they should join the Best Practices Security Group.
This way all the crucial security updates will not be missed and the site’s security infrastructure will be robust.
2. Keep Backups
In this day and age, no one is safe. You may be a local website based out of some nondescript building in a small town. That does not protect you from online hackers. Not just attacks from outsiders, any unforeseen event at your end may also make you lose your website.
In order to ensure that all your hard work does not go to waste, it is necessary that you maintain backups of your websites. Further, these backups need to be organised date wise so that you know exactly which version of your website you have to restore.
Even in backups, there are both online backups and offline backups. There is also an option to make some modifications in the backup that you take. Encryption of the backup is important for keeping it secure.
3. Limit Access
The more, the merrier. This does not apply to back end access. As a website administrator, you need to manage and provide access to lots of people connected with your business or work. These may include writers and sometimes even interns.
Here, it must be remembered that access to the security infrastructure needs to be restricted to only the most trusted ones. If at all, access needs to be shared with someone, then limited access can be considered.
In the case of content related access, read only access is often granted so that content is not disturbed with. There are options whereby you can enable some users to only add content and not modify the existing content.
4. Conduct automated security tests
While updating the security apparatus is a constant task that needs a separate team of its own, sometimes using freely available tools can also work wonders and give you a bird’s eye view of the whole system.
These tools help website administrators run automated security tests on their website and provide detailed test results with all the vulnerabilities in the site. These tools also go one step further and list out all the steps that you need to take to plug the loopholes.
This is increasingly important for Drupal sites as you often need to make a major update and with such major updates, the security infrastructure also undergoes a major change. In such cases, running regular automated security tests can keep your site more secure with Drupal.
5. Use Contributed Modules
One of the important ways of keeping your website secure with Drupal is enhancing security using contributed modules. The major modules that are integral to a Drupal website are Security, User Access and Spam Prevention.
Some other modules that are relevant include secure communications, blacklisting of threatening IP addresses, password manager module, etc. Some guidance is also contained in modules which help prevent spam accumulation and attacks.
Apart from the above modules, one aspect that needs your attention is management of privacy. This is more important if you are a brand or workplace which collects and manages individual data. Detection and resolution of vulnerabilities is crucial to the security of your website.
6. Audit Drupal Modules
Having talked about the importance of Drupal modules earlier, we need to mention that one needs to constantly audit these modules. A module is only relevant if it can actually accomplish the task that it was supposed to do. In this regard, a website administrator needs to check whether the downloaded modules are serving their purpose.
Two important aspects of auditing drupal modules are bug reporting and documentation. Let’s start with bug reporting. Since Drupal is open source, it relies on its users to report any minor or major bugs in its various modules. As responsible users, it is our job to keep reporting bugs to the software developer for continuous improvement of the ecosystem.
When it comes to internal improvement, the administrator needs to keep a record of all the major issues that he or she faces. Further, it is crucial to also make a point to find the solution and list it together with the issue so that it can be avoided in the future.
At the end of the day, a substantial number of websites in the world run on Drupal and its security cannot be taken lightly. Rather than only depending on outside security analysts, it always makes sense to have an in-house security analyst who can devote full attention to your site’s security. Obviously, if you are a small business owner, then it may be economical for you to do a solution oriented outreach when necessary. Either way, Drupal modules are always there for you.