Over the last few years, the eCommerce industry has seen massive growth, and the momentum doesn’t seem to be losing steam anytime soon.
Today, online purchasing has become fairly well entrenched into our lives, and more people are becoming accustomed to trusting the online shopping process as an alternative to the more traditional brick and mortar shopping experience.
eCommerce is bringing out a new breed of entrepreneurs, too, with many new business owners referring to themselves as webpreneurs. There’s no doubt about it that right now is an amazing time to start exploring the eCommerce industry.
You’re going to want to keep in mind, though, that the eCommerce industry’s boom is also causing it to become a prime target for cybercriminals. They’ve figured out that it’s pretty lucrative to attack eCommerce businesses, and new security breaches are popping up every day.
Even the largest eCommerce businesses aren’t safe from the threat of attack, as eBay has experienced in the past.
Regardless of the possibilities, there are certain practices you can implement in your business to help limit the vulnerabilities and protect the integrity of your eCommerce store, and keep your customer’s sensitive information safe.
Below are 5 of the best security practices you can implement into your eCommerce business to help prevent fraud and keep your customers secure.
There’s a saying when it comes to business, “focus on the fundamentals, and the rest will fall into place”.
The first step you should take whenever you’re building a secure eCommerce business is to make sure you’re building it on a secure platform.
Right now, there are quite a few different proprietary and open source eCommerce platforms, so picking one that works best for your specific business can be quite difficult.
However, right now, more than 70% of all successful eCommerce websites are being built on just a few key platforms: WordPress, Magento, and Shopify.
This is because each of these platforms places a high emphasis on security. While there may be other factors that influence people’s decision, the high-level focus on security is one of the biggest driving forces.
It’s worth noting that Prestashop is another platform that is proving they have security in mind, and are building their platform to keep their customers (and sellers) safe.
It doesn’t matter which platform you choose to use for your own business, you just want to make sure that the server is maintaining the latest PCI compliance requirements.
Run regular PCI scans on the servers to ensure they are compliant. You will also want to ensure that the software you’re using is always updated, and whenever a new patch becomes available, install it right away.
When it comes to proven standards used to secure online transactions, SSL is the definitive standard. An SSL certificate authenticates the user’s identity, and encrypts all of the data that’s being transferred through the store.
If you’re trying to secure your online business, implementing an SSL certificate is essential. It will establish the secure connection between your customer’s systems and the server you are transferring their sensitive information to.
For more tech-savvy customers, seeing the yellow padlock icon in the browser bar is a requirement for them before they will begin to input their personal details or submit a credit card for payment.
If they believe that the vendor has addressed all of the possible security concerns, by displaying an SSL certificate, they are far more likely to continue to do business with that vendor.
One of the biggest issues facing online retailers is compromised or stolen user credentials, like logins and passwords.
Hackers and cybercriminals are getting incredibly crafty about how they approach stealing a person’s information, and will even resort to guessing it, if they can’t get the person to submit the information themselves. Phishing attacks are a real threat to online consumers.
That is where a system, like two factor authentication, comes into play, and can help you secure your business even further than you would with a simple SSL certificate. It can be the foundation you need to secure your store from various different hacking threats.
Most eCommerce stores are focusing on putting a two factor authentication process into their business as an extra layer of protection for their customers.
Two factor authentication is a process that requires the user to validate who they are through two different types of identification. One type is typically a username and password combination, while the second type is a unique code that’s generated on the fly.
This unique code will be sent to a verified phone number or email address that’s owned by the user, so even if hackers do crack the username and password combination, they cannot access the generated code.
These codes also tend to have short lifespans, which makes it even harder for hackers to bypass them.
Whenever you are dealing with online transactions, it’s critical that you remain careful, especially while you are connected to a public network.
Any data that is being transferred across a public network is vulnerable to getting intercepted by cybercriminals and other malicious people. VPN services can make public networks more secure and be an excellent solution in these situations.
Virtual Private Networks connect you to a server away from the private network through an encrypted connection, and prevent any third-party users from getting in between you and the business that you’re trying to perform a transaction through.
Many users find themselves concerned with the costs associated with more traditional VPN services. If this is you, you will want to think about an SSL-based Virtual Private Network that tends to be cheaper than other options.
If you have employees, they need to remain educated about the different policies and laws that affect how they handle customer data.
You’ll want to make sure that they are educated about how to protect your customer’s sensitive information. Let them know what policies you have in place for protecting this information, and what your employees should be doing to make sure they keep the financial information secure.
Create outlines for your business’ best practices, data security policies, and make sure they know how critical it is to never disclose sensitive information or communications with your customers.
Your workforce needs to have up-to-date training to ensure your customers are always safe.
They should be required to adhere to the policies you’ve put in place. If they fail to maintain strict security standards, your business could be held liable for any losses generated as a result in your lapse of security.
Whether it’s large or small, if you own an eCommerce business, you need to be concerned with more than just the success of your business.
You need to ensure that any information your customers transmit to your business is being handle safely, and securely, and that you don’t pose potential risks to their sensitive data.
While eCommerce security can be a sticky subject, it is your responsibility, and your responsibility alone to make sure that your website is secured and hackers cannot gain access to the information your customers have trusted you with.
I’ve broken down 5 different strategies you can use to make sure your eCommerce business is secure, and build a trusting relationship with your customers while also protecting yourself from any potential lawsuits due to a data breach.