Balancing Security and Usability in Your CMS

Security and usability are important aspects of a CMS.

Organizations are under extreme pressure from industry regulations and consumers to protect information effectively while still providing the best experience possible. An online presence must embody both of these initiatives, but achieving this harmony isn't an easy feat without the proper tools. Balancing security and usability in your CMS will be essential for modern companies to remain competitive and effectively bolster their audience reach.

Implement Authentication and Authorization

A CMS offers a shared repository where people and processes store and retrieve information. However, some of this data, like financial card information, represents a lucrative target for attackers. The CMS must ensure content security from both internal and external actors, lessening overall risk while still providing a flexible CMS environment. TechTarget contributor Geoffrey Bock suggested using both authentication and authorization controls to close off threat vectors. Authentication begins with username and passwords, but can also leverage two-factor authentication to verify that people are who they say they are. This method alone can deter a lot of potential security issues.

Authorization and authentication will help protect CMS platforms. Authorization and authentication will help protect CMS platforms.

Authentication is a great first line of defense, but if people use passwords that are easy to guess or are prone to phishing attacks, their credentials can be used by malicious parties. Authorization should be added as a second layer, granting permissions and access rights to do certain things. This will ensure that only select people can work with sensitive information and create a more traceable record to detect and prevent security breaches.

Usability Must Still Be Maintained

Business leaders must ensure that the CMS's security doesn't undermine its usability. In some cases, protections can make it significantly difficult to work with necessary tools, forcing users to ask for permission just to accomplish their daily tasks. The CMS safeguards should be established in a way that enables workers to access the range of features necessary for maximizing performance. Too much red tape will make the CMS difficult or awkward to use, lessening its potential value. According to, a CMS's usability will include factors like adherence to known usability guidelines, support for new and experienced users, and appropriate documentation and support. A usable CMS will be more eagerly adopted by content authors/editors and visitors to a published website.

"Each CMS option has different features and security capabilities."

Not All CMS Are Equal

Each CMS option has different features and security capabilities, making it important for business leaders to carefully evaluate them based on user needs. Some CMS even have critical vulnerabilities that could be exploited. According to the Center for Internet Security, WordPress had a gap that would allow attackers to reset administrative passwords for sites running the affected versions of the CMS. This type of vulnerability can be devastating for businesses. While patches were released to close this issue, it's still important for organizations to ensure that no unauthorized changes occurred prior to applying the update.

Drupal remains one of the most secure and reliable CMS platforms available. Drupal has 1.3 million users worldwide and supports a variety of sites including personal blogs, corporate sites and government sites. It's a proven framework that stands up to the most critical internet vulnerabilities and is designed with robust security in mind. As an open-source system, it has a dedicated security team along with a large professional service provider ecosystem, ensuring that issues are responded to quickly and resolved. Drupal's strong coding standards and rigorous community coding review process also ensure that security problems are prevented entirely. For more information on how Drupal can help your business balance security and usability in a CMS, contact Paramount Software Solutions today.