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As soon as your Web site is launched, your company is exposed to a variety of risks. These can include bugs or misconfiguration problems in the Web server that allow unauthorized users to break into the system, content that damages or crashes the browser or the user's system, employee access abuses and the misuse of personal information provided by the end user. To minimize these and other risks, you should implement effective security measures.
The first step is to develop a security policy that essentially outlines who uses the system, what they are allowed to do and the level of access for various user groups. The policy also should indicate the individual(s) responsible for granting and revoking user access, remote and local log-in methods, and system monitoring procedures. Circulating such a document among staff will alert them to the importance of Web site security. Ongoing enforcement of the policy is vital to ensuring the security of your site.
Firewalls are a fundamental means of protecting your computer system. Generally, firewalls are configured to protect against unauthenticated interactive log-ins from the "outside world," thus preventing computer hackers and others from logging on to machines in your network. Firewalls also can provide important logging and auditing information by summarizing the kinds and amount of traffic that passed through.
Keep in mind, however, that firewalls cannot effectively protect your system against all viruses. Rather than trying to screen viruses out at the firewall, it's wise to make sure that up-to-date virus scanning software is on every computer in your organization and is run every time each of these machines is rebooted.
WebTrust is a consulting and certification process that CPAs can use to help your business identify and reduce certain security risks and provide assurance to your customers. As part of the WebTrust program, there are principals and criteria that establish best practices in the areas of security, confidentiality, privacy, transaction integrity and others. Through these best practices, CPAs assess a Web site's controls and ensure that it meets WebTrust standards. Once the CPA has ascertained that the site meets these standards, you have the option of receiving a WebTrust seal or stamp of approval that can be posted on your site.