E-Commerce Business, With online sales increasing rapidly every year and projected to hit 4.5 trillion in 2021, more people than ever are opening their own e-commerce store. Unfortunately, with this rising popularity came an increase in Cyber-attacks. And for businesses of all sizes, the cost of a breach both in data loss and customer trust can be hugely damaging.
That’s why data protection is more important than ever. If you have an online store or are thinking of launching one, you need to ensure your site security measures are robust enough to protect your customers and your business’s data.
An e-commerce website’s nature means that sensitive data is regularly exchanged, from credit card details to home addresses. The consequences of an e-commerce data breach can be profound. Apart from losing money and sales, it will inevitably take a hit on traffic and customer trust.
Here are three key instances when your data is most vulnerable, and your business needs endpoint protection:
- Anytime You Transfer Data
With the rise in popularity of e-commerce, online companies like yours frequently process a lot of sensitive personal information that belongs to customers, such as their names, social security numbers, dates of birth, billing addresses, email addresses, and credit card data, all to sell products on digital platforms.
When your e-commerce platform is secure, your customer’s personal information is secured. Some are still not — for example when you transfer personal information data between your remote office hard drives or with any third party (such as payment processors like PayPal, email marketers like MailChimp, and ad services like Google).
Unfortunately, even traditionally secure websites are not immune to cyberattacks. Experts in e-commerce security have reported an uptick in attacks that use malicious code to exploit security holes.
It’s also a mistake to rely on API (application programming interface) security alone, as it’s vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks, code injections, reverse engineering, spoofing, and social engineering. In the face of all these risks, your e-commerce company must adopt endpoint protection security to protect your customers and keep your business safe.
2. Working Remotely
Malwarebytes’24% of organizations paid unexpected expenses to address cybersecurity breaches, while 20% faced security breaches because of remote workers.
Remote workforces are usually more susceptible to network breaches because they typically lack the following:
- Corporate VPNs and access to secured Wi-Fi
- Comprehensive, layered security solutions
- Secure business email
- Endpoint protection
Mistakes made by your remote workforce such as using weak passwords, oversharing information on social media, clicking malicious links from phishing attacks, and using unsecured Internet connections while sharing sensitive data can lead to several costly issues:
- Theft of customer data resulting in loss of business and client confidence
- Ransomware attacks that cripple your systems causing expensive downtime
- Spyware attacks that result in intellectual property theft
3. Passing Data between Platforms to Perform Business Tasks
When you transfer data between platforms, you need endpoint security to protect it, especially when exporting data to make bulk adjustments or segmenting and retargeting customer data.
Customer data is secure on platforms like Shopify and Facebook. Still, this data can be exposed to potential attack at the mid-point when stored on a local company hard drive or shared between staff — that is, if you don’t have proper end-point protection.
How to keep your E-commerce site safe and secure
4. Choose a Web Host with Good Malware Protection
While it’s always a good idea to take extra precautions for virus and malware protection, a good hosting provider will take care of this behind the scenes. Before picking a web host, ensure that it has an effective firewall system implemented and frequently scan, test, and update its security systems. A good web host should also be operational 24/7 and provide 24/7 support, should anything go wrong.
5. Get an SSL Certificate
It’s 2020, and all websites should have a secure, encrypted HTTPS connection. This goes double for e-commerce stores. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, information sent over an encrypted connection is rendered unreadable to potentially malicious third parties. So, an encrypted connection between your e-commerce store and a visitor’s browser ensures that information sent between the two is safe while in transit.
This is crucial for e-commerce stores because you handle & exchange sensitive data from a trust and safety standpoint. You can create an encrypted connection between user browsers and your site by installing an SSL certificate. These powerful digital certificates use the TLS protocol to connect via HTTP. You can tell when a site has an SSL certificate when you see a padlock symbol in your browser address bar.
For e-commerce stores, we recommend choosing an OV (Organization Validation) certificate. This means that the issuing Certificate Authority will carry some background checks on your company to confirm who you say you are. Then, when a user clicks on the padlock, details about you and your organization will be displayed, which should give them the peace of mind to carry out their transaction.
6. Keep Your Software and Plugins Up-To-Date
Software updates are critical. It may not seem like a big deal, but older versions of software and plugins often have security vulnerabilities that have been addressed in the latest version. As a result, older versions can leave your site more susceptible to hacking attempts. Depending on the CMS you use, you may be able to set it to update automatically, while for others, you’ll need to check every one often.
7. Enable 2-factor authentications
Consider bringing an added layer of security to your website logins by enabling two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA basically adds an extra step to logging in to a website. The user provides information that only they would have access to a one-time passcode sent over SMS or hardware token. Many e-commerce platforms and plugins have 2FA add-ons available.
8. Backup Your E-Commerce Site Regularly
As a saved copy of all the coding and files that make up your site, a backup is a crucial safety net for getting your site back online should anything go wrong. Many web hosts and e-commerce platforms perform occasional backups, but it may not be enough if you make frequent updates to your e-commerce website. This is why you should find a third-party plugin or service for backing up your site. For example, Rewind for platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce will keep your site backed up.
9. Limit the Storage of Sensitive Customer Data
When it comes to collecting and saving sensitive customer data to your website database, you should avoid what isn’t essential. Less is more when it comes to keeping customer data safe, especially if, at some stage, your website is compromised—especially e-commerce websites and credit card information.
We recommend a third-party payment gateway rather than storing credit card information on your site, tiny and medium-sized businesses that likely don’t have the same security and IT resources as a larger enterprise.
Developing good eCommerce security is vitally important to the success of your business. You can’t afford to lose your customers’ trust by exposing their personal data. Securing your e-commerce site may at first seem complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. The steps outlined in this article are easy to implement and improve your overall site security in no time at all, so you can focus on attracting customers and boosting sales.