The value of the World Wide Web to business of all sizes is immense but it also brings some real operational challenges, especially for small businesses!

When powerful organisations with deep pockets, like banks, leading online retailers and social media services continue to fall foul of operating issuesit is no surprise that small businesses need to take an active role in protecting their online assets. 

This item is not about some new 'wizzo' software pack or security service but a plea to all website owners to help themselves by attending to the basics of web maintenance. 

Five top tips 

1. Keep your website software up to date - most important is to ensure that it is using the latest version of the available software. More - standard html websites are generally well protected by the hosting companies security.
The software for more complex websites, which use proprietary or open source software and often comprise a range of plug-ins, needs to be maintained by you or your web service provider

2. Change your access passwords at least 6 times a year More - Use a password protector tool like Keepass or RoboForm. Not only will you be able to use highly complex passwords, but these tools also auto-fill in forms for you - securely using 256 bit encryption. If all that is too much to conjure with, then do add in numbers and upper and lower case letters to your passwords and avoid using the same one across multiple online services. 

3. Keep an eye on your web hosting companywith all the security issues and internet changes they need to be proactive.
More -So you might expect to hear from them 4- 6 times a year with update notices, dive into your online control panel and check out for evidence of activity, why not Google them every so often to see what's bubbling online? 

At the outset it's best to get a clear statement of what your hosting company will provide in support of your site and email service.
Big can be best with Hosting companies because, in theory they will have more resources devoted to security and performance issues, however you will be one in many thousands of clients so and when things do go wrong, such as your domain website being blacklisted, it can very lonely! So it is attractive to get the attentions of a smaller outfit or have someone technical on hand to fight your corner. 

4. Back up your website - to protect all your content and your business in progress - work out a cycle of website backups that suit your type of online activity.
More – It’s important to keep an accessible back up copy of your website - if it does not change very often then every couple of months should be enough. Now, if your website is changing daily with new information and especially if it is servicing clients online then it is vital your back up routine matches this level of business reliance on your website - the information it holds will be very difficult or even impossible to recreate. Be clear where these 'backups' reside and in the event of catastrophe how they can be reached. For high volume sites back up routines have to be devised that manage a lot of data - it does not make economic sense to back everything up every 

day! 

'Backing up' is something you do not have to worry about with social media - although sometimes not being able to correct or edit a troublesome item can be a trifle irksome! 

5. Build into your operating costs a sensible maintenance budget for your online business infrastructure.
More - If all of the above is just too much, consider setting up an arrangement with an 'independent' maintainer - someone to watch your back whilst you do the business. A dependable resource, easily contactable who is use to working in the technical environment of web hosting and digital services, plus is able to help interpret your business needs into technical specifications. It is not a dream, they do exist and of course, they do need to earn a living!