Shield Security v7.0 was released 28th January, 2019.
We’ve been hard at work the past few months building the new Shield Security v7.0.
As with any big project, it took on a life of its own and took longer than we’d hoped, but the result lays a new foundation for future plans and developments.
What changed with Shield Security 7?
1) A huge shift in perspective: Ops before Config
From the day and hour Shield Security was conceived, it was built primarily as a “set it and forget it” security plugin.
Our approach to website management is this: let the machines do automatically, and silently, whatever they can, and when something needs a human touch, let us know.
Up until Shield v7, the UI reflected this and the main focus was configuration options. Extras, such as the Audit Trail and Traffic Logger tables, were crudely squeezed in wherever we could find a place to put it.
With v7 we turned this on its head. We decided to make the operation of security: the site state, the events, audit trail, user sessions, etc. all front and centre.
The first thing you’ll see are the main operational components of the plugin. We’ve also made it easier to filter through the information you need, and take steps and actions based on that information. This is particularly noticeable in our complete rebuilding of the site Scans systems.
You’ll now have a dedicated area for site scans where you can see all your scan results and take actions there and then to fix anything that needs work.
The Audit Trail now has filters to dig down and pull out just the information that you want to see.
User Sessions are cleanly visible with the ability to terminate any session at any time if you feel it’s not valid.
There is much more besides what we’ve mentioned here, but the conclusion to take away is that day-to-day actions you need to take using Shield are far more intuitive and accessible than before.
The configuration of the plugin is the same as it was, but we’ve included useful links from the main areas directly to the appropriate options, so you don’t have to go hunting for them.
2) Complete rebuild of the scans system
We’ve plans to build additional scans that address other areas of site security. With the move to PHP 5.4, we completely rebuilt our scanning architecture.
It’s faster, more reliable, and best of all more extensible. Following the release of Shield 7.0 we’ll start bringing in new scanning and monitoring areas for your site, all the while keeping the new interface that lets you action items as they appear.
The whole point is that as Shield continues to grow, accessing the expanding features will be easy for you and for everyone.
3) Faster, more reliable code – minimum PHP 5.4
We took the decision to no longer support PHP less than 5.4. Interestingly, WordPress is also planning to support only 5.6+ from April onwards.
You’ve heard this point by-now a hundred times and you may even wonder what the big deal is. Any PHP developers can tell you the pain that comes with creating backwards compatible code as far back as PHP 5.2. It’s just painful.
Not only that, Shield is a security plugin. And by advocating running a website on such an outdated platform does all our clients a disservice. If it were possible, we’d force everyone up to PHP 7.2+, but that’s not practical, of course.
In the strongest possible terms, we recommend everyone move all their sites to at least PHP 7.0. If you can’t get there, at least go to 5.6.
Moving up our minimum PHP makes development far smoother and less likely to cause issues. We can code faster and with fewer restrictions, and we can take advantages of new PHP language changes.
This simply means:
- Shield is a more reliable plugin for everyone
- Shield development can run a little quicker – this means more features, more quickly.
The Future of Shield Security
With your increasing support for Shield Security through our One Dollar Plugin platform, we’ve able to dedicate more resources to Shield development.
We have big plans for Shield, and for the entire One Dollar Plugin platform. Some of what we’re looking at can be found here: https://shieldsecurity.nolt.io/
This site provides a place where you can offer your own suggestions and vote up existing features that you really want to see.
Question or Comments on Shield 7.0
Shield 7 is a major upgrade and this means changes in many different areas. It may take a little getting used to.
1 point to note is that there may be errors that appear during the upgrade process either on-screen, or in the logs. These should only appear at the time of upgrade (assuming WordPress completes the process correctly). These are largely unavoidable. It is our hope that with the move to PHP 5.4+ these sorts of errors will be a thing of the past…
As always, please feel free to leave comments and suggestions below. Thanks!