Ecommerce has been on a steady growth for years now and there are currently between 12 and 24 million eCommerce websites on the internet. While this gives a lot of opportunities for online shoppers and merchants, these millions of eCommerce stores are also a breeding ground for cybercriminals.
Online security is a big issue for all websites, especially those who handle a lot of their user’s personal details and banking information. If there was a security breach, all of that data would be compromised and your customer’s privacy would be in danger.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to ensure your eCommerce store is safe and secure.
Get safe and secure web hosting
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Web hosting is one of the first things you need to take care of, even before you start building your website. Hosting is an essential part of your website because, without it, the elements on your site could never run.
When it comes to choosing a hosting provider, it can be difficult to decide because there are a lot of options, and if you don’t choose a good hosting provider, your website will never be secure. The two most important qualities your host provider needs to have are reliability and security.
Ideally, you should find a cheap website hosting that integrates security features such as SSL certificates and regular backups. Even though this is something you can take care of yourself, most reputable hosts include these features in their hosting plans or provide them for an additional small fee.
Another very important quality you should look for in a hosting provider is 24/7 technical support. There will be times when your website runs into technical issues, and it’s vital that you can contact support in those times.
Become PCI compliant
Online payment fraud will cost eCommerce at least $25 million annually by 2024. One of the main security issues eCommerce store owners have to think about is how to accept credit cards while making sure all of their customer’s information is safe.
One of the best ways you can prevent credit card fraud is to become PCI compliant. PCI Compliance stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and this standard is used by organizations that handle branded credit cards.
PCI compliance takes a lot of effort and it can be intimidating, especially for eCommerce owners who are just starting out their business, but it’s a necessity.
To ensure your store is PCI compliant, you need to do the following things:
- Use a firewall for all payment card data and keep it regularly updated.
- Don’t store your customer’s credit card data. If you absolutely have to store it, use strong encryption to ensure all cardholder data is safe overall public networks.
- Use a card processing system that has a vendor-supplied security patch.
- Perform regular tests on your network environment and security systems.
Use a safe eCommerce platform
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The number of available eCommerce platforms keeps growing every year, and even though it seems like most of them would be a good choice, that isn’t the case. When you’re choosing the platform for your website, your primary focus has to be safety.
Don’t let yourself be distracted with flashy features and integrations, because in that regard, most platforms nowadays have everything an eCommerce store might need.
Look for an eCommerce platform that comes with a PCI-compliant payment processor and has the ability to enforce strong passwords. At a minimum, your platform needs to have a secure checkout page, but ideally, you should use a platform that offers site-wide security through an SSL.
If you want to have additional security, you need to find software that enables features like two-factor security and CAPTCHAs that discourage password guessing. Another important feature you need to have is a login session timeout that will log out a user automatically after they’ve been inactive for a while.
Conduct regular security audits
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Many small eCommerce business owners don’t think security audits are necessary, but that’s only because they don’t understand their importance. Even if you have a small number of customers, you need frequent security audits to reinforce your website’s safety.
Audits are extremely useful not only because they weed out potential threats, but also because they eliminate data from past transactions. During security audits, your business will be evaluated based on factors such as its performance, data security, engagement, and payment.
Once your audit is complete, your eCommerce store will be given a mark and a certificate that proves that it has passed the security audit and is safe to use. Since your customers will be able to see this proof, it will make them feel safer and they will be more likely to trust you.
Use DDoS and migration services
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Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS attacks, are among the most common techniques hackers use to undermine eCommerce website security. As these attacks are relatively easy to execute and can seriously hurt your business, you need to find ways to stop them.
When a hacker performs a DDoS attack on a website, they overload it with traffic by sending thousands of bots to request data from the site at the same time. Since the website isn’t able to keep up with this amount of traffic, it will slow down and ultimately crash.
If your website becomes a victim of one of these attacks, none of your customers will be able to enter your website and you will lose a lot of profit. This would be especially damaging if a DDoS attack occurred during a busy shopping time such as the holidays.
Luckily, there are DDoS mitigation services that you can use through which all data has to pass before being transferred to your website. These services will carefully inspect all traffic to make sure an actual human is trying to access your website as opposed to a DDoS bot.
Require strong passwords from customers
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Even though you can do a lot to ensure your store is safe and secure, website security still ends with your users. After all, no matter how many security measures you implement, all of them will be for nothing if a user decides to have a simple password that’s easy to guess.
Compromised passwords are responsible for 81% of hacking-related breaches, so you need to ensure all of your users have strong passwords. You can enforce strong passwords on your website by requiring upper and lower case letters, special characters, and numbers.
You can also add an extra layer of security by allowing two-factor authentication via text messages or mobile apps and encouraging your customers to use it. And when it comes to security questions, don’t ask information that a hacker could easily guess or find out.
Website security is an issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Unless you take all the necessary precautions to ensure your eCommerce store is safe, not only will a lot of personal data be stolen from your customers, but you can also lose a lot of money and even find yourself in legal trouble.
To avoid giving yourself headaches, you should apply all of the security tips you just read about, and that will significantly reduce the risk of security issues.