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design & marketing blog

Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Why would hackers care enough to attack your website?

March 14th, 2018

WordFence’s blog posted an excellent article addressing the fallacy that many website owners have that their website isn’t significant enough for hackers to care about and therefore they don’t need to implement all best practice security and disaster recovery measures.

A quick summary of the reasons why attackers make the effort to attack many smaller and seemingly “insignificant” websites include:

  • If offers server resources they can use to run other malicious schemes
  • It’s connected to the internet and likely has a good reputation (i.e. is not a suspicious platform for malicious activity).
  • It may contain user data
  • It probably has traffic coming to it
  • The site is important to you and therefore there is a chance for the criminal to collect a ransom
  • Many websites of smaller businesses and organizations are not implementing proper security and therefore the cost of acquisition to the criminal is low.

Please read the entire article at WordFence.com.

WCAG and Section 508 Website Accessibility

January 1st, 2018

Web accessibility refers to providing websites that are usable by individuals with disabilities. Approximately 10% of the population has a disability that affects computer use. Website accessibility primarily addresses disabilities related to vision, motor skills, mobility, hearing, and seizures.

Web accessibility is on track to potentially revolutionize how businesses and organizations provide online assets both internally and to the public, and is something every organization should be aware of regarding both their Internet and intranet applications.

Modern commercial building construction is required by law to include accessibility features such as wheelchair ramps, lower height drinking fountains, and minimum clearance specs for restrooms. If they do not provide these features they will exclude a portion of the population who is disabled from the ability to equally access and utilize the services housed in those buildings. In addition, they may open themselves up to legal action and may be fined by the Department of Justice (DOJ) or sued by private parties under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or other laws that pertain to accessibility.

In the same manner that the commercial construction industry was changed by the requirements of the ADA the digital workspace is being transformed now.

Web Accessibility Laws

Until recently, the standards for web accessibility were not clearly defined and the DOJ did not actively enforce standards. There has been a significant shift in both the refinement of web accessibility standards and the active enforcement of such standards by the DOJ. Because of the DOJ’s active enforcement, private litigation has increased.

The current standards to which organizations are being held accountable are WCAG 2.0 AA. You may have heard of Section 508 web accessibility standards, which were less comprehensive than WCAG. WCAG 2.0 AA standards are being adopted as Section 508 requirements.

Accessibility standards and enforcement of those standards is still a developing area; however there is no doubt that any business or organization website should take measures now to ensure their website is accessible according to WCAG 2.0 AA.

Ransomware – A New Threat to WordPress sites

December 4th, 2017

Wordfence recently posted an article on their site about a significant new threat to WordPress sites … ransomware.

While WordPress and CMS’s in general continue to pose a significant risk for hacking, ransomware until now has been confined to Windows operating systems on PCs. According to Wordfence, they recently identified attempts to upload ransomware to WordPress sites that “provides an attacker with the ability to encrypt a WordPress website’s files and then extort money from the site owner.”

WordPress is already the most vulnerable platform for hacking (See Securi’s Hacked Website Report – 2016/Q3), adding the risk of ransomware into the equation is another compelling reason for businesses and organizations to carefully evaluate the options, costs, benefits, and risks for deploying their websites on a CMS.

Risingline develops WordPress sites, but increasingly our recommendation to clients is to go with a professionally managed website (in which all management is done professionally off-server) rather than CMS’s; especially for their core public website pages. Professionally managed websites eliminate the vast majority of hacking (and now ransomware) risks that are inherent to CMS’s as well as providing other advantages such as quality control for SEO, accessibility, and style consistency.  For more detail please see our 2017 Web Development Trends and Best Practices Report.

In many cases, we’ve found a professionally managed website is not only much safer, faster and compliant but can have a lower total cost of ownership.

2017 Web Development Trends and Best Practices Report

November 30th, 2017

2017 Web Development Best Practices ReportThis report provides managers with a high-level overview of key web development best practices and trends so they 1) are better equipped to make informed decisions, 2) are aware of available tools and resources, and 3) gain an understanding of current requirements, risks, and costs associated with their website.

Download the Report

The topics covered include:

  • Strategy and Goals

    Understanding the effectiveness of a website is dependent upon the quality of the comprehensive marketing plan in which it exists.

  • Content and Messaging

    The preeminence of content or achieving your website goals.

  • User-Centered Design

    Developing your organization’s website from your target audience’s perspective.

  • Graphic Design Principles

    An overview of the fundamental principles for utilizing design to provide effectiveness and credibility to your message.

  • Web Design Trends and Best Practices

    A summary of current web design and layout trends and their advantages.

  • Website Security

    An overview of the increased risk of hacking and the major factors that can affect your website’s security.

  • Website Accessibility (Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 AA)

    Understanding the rapidly evolving requirements for website accessibility.

  • Website Deployment Options

    The pros and cons of professionally managed websites compared to user managed content management systems (CMS).

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

    A primer on the components of SEM including organic SEO and paid SEM.

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