Building and launching a profitable ecommerce site is relatively easy. However, protecting it from sophisticated cyberattacks and frauds is complicated. Falling victim of an online breach would probably mean the end of your online business. Research says that 60% of companies that survive a data breach go out of business in six months.
This brief guide will help you improve the overall security of your ecommerce website and give its performance a boost.
1. Switch to HTTPS
SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, creates an encrypted link between customers’ browsers and your web servers. This way, it ensures that all customer data transmitted to your servers remain private and secure. Even if a hacker intercepts customer information, it would be impossible for them to decrypt and use it. So, you don’t need to be a cybersecurity expert to realize that SSL is pivotal for any ecommerce transaction. It makes your store more trustworthy, giving your customers peace of mind while making purchases.
It’s also important to mention that Google prioritizes SSL certificates. They have recently started using a green padlock and the “Secure” label for sites with HTTPS. On the other hand, sites with HTTP are marked as “Not Safe,” which may drive your potential customers away.
Moreover, there are many open-source initiatives that provide free certificates to websites, so there is no excuse not to use one right now. Alternatively, you can purchase an SSL certificate from a hosting company or an SSL vendor.
2. Help Customers Protect Themselves
While you cannot watch over your customers while setting up accounts, you can still help them protect their data while purchasing. One of these rules is, for example, strong password requirements.
Namely, passwords that require a minimum number of characters and a combination of numbers and symbols are more difficult to hack. If you want to take customer security to even the next level, then you can introduce multi-factor authentication as an additional layer of data security. This, of course, depends on the level of data sensitivity.
Given that someone becomes a victim of identity theft every two seconds, achieving KYC compliance is critical for your ecommerce business. Know Your Customer, or KYC, is the process of verifying customer identity. This is one of the key legal requirements created as an anti-money laundering (AML) measure. Always choose identity verification that will protect your store and offer greater convenience for your customers. For example, you could focus on web-enabled solutions that offer biometric and OCR verification to create seamless and effortless digital experiences.
3. Make Your Site PCI DSS Compliant
If you’re accepting online payments, you need to ensure they’re safe. This is why your online store needs to be PCI DSS compliant. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance is simply a set of policies used to protect customers’ transactions and mitigate any misuse of their personally identifiable information.
There are certain requirements you need to meet as a part of your PCI DSS compliance checklist (some of them will be explained thoroughly later in the text):
- Build a secure network – You should install a solid firewall and strengthen your security parameters.
- Protect cardholders’ data – Use data encryption across public networks.
- Have a vulnerability management plan – update your antivirus tools and keep your systems up-to-date.
- Implement strong access control measures – Reduce access to cardholder information and give a unique ID to each person with computer access.
- Regularly monitor and test your networks.
- Have an updated information security policy.
- Perform Regular Backups
No matter how much you invest in data security, accidents happen. And, once you go through a cyberattack, your business’ sensitive data will be compromised. There are different types of cyberattacks (and attackers). While some of them will copy your data, others will choose to ruin your site or to prevent you from using your data again.
That’s exactly why you need to back your site’s data up regularly. Now, there are different types of backups to use:
- Full backups – you backup all business files every time you back up your system.
- Incremental backups – you backup only those files that have been created or changed since the last backup.
- Mirror backups – they save only the files in your system during the last backup, meaning that you won’t have any outdated data.
Doing backups manually is possible, but it’s time-consuming and unreliable. This is why many online retailers turn to automatic data backup. The easiest way to use them is to use the right plugin. For example, if you’re running your store on WooCommerce, you could use plugins like Upcraft Plus, BlogVault, WP Time Capsule, etc.
4. Continuous Data Protection
Another effective way to protect your data during online breaches is to invest in continuous data protection (CDP). Namely, it works in the background, reads any changes made to your system, and automatically stores them.
Traditional backups are usually scheduled once a week and they take a snapshot of the entire system every time which means that your backup files are only going to get larger every time the backup is performed, slowing down your server performance and requiring more external hard drives for storage.
On the other hand, CDP offers granular data recovery and improves server performance, as it is much lighter than traditional, massive backups.
Additionally, reliability of traditional backups is dependant on when the last backup occurred, meaning you can suffer significant data loss when the crisis strikes. With CDP, however, you can restore your data to the moment just before the system failure has occurred, which can save you a lot of stress and money.
Over to You
Today’s cyberattacks have become more sophisticated. They tend to identify gaps in outdated security models and exploit them. Luckily, the cybersecurity industry keeps pace with these advanced hacking techniques, providing multiple security options for ecommerce businesses. I hope these tips will reveal some of them.
Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping Australian startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she’s a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more entrepreneurs and help them on their business journey.
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