Running an e-commerce website comes with a number of responsibilities, and the most important of these is ensuring a high-level of security. A recent Ponemon Institute study revealed that 54% of companies endured more than one attack on their data or IT infrastructure. Fileless techniques were used by 77% of those attackers. All these points towards ensuring that you take all the necessary steps to keep your online store safe and secure from malicious threats and cyber-attacks. E-commerce websites in particular should place emphasis on cyber security because most online stores save their customers’ card information. In this article, let us take a look at 5 cyber security tips to safeguard your e-commerce website.
1. Safeguard your payment gateway
Security certificates instill trust in visitors and ensure a higher rate of checkouts becoming successfully. The most common method to instill this confidence among shoppers is by getting an SSL certificate. However, you will need to upgrade to the latest version, often marketed as the TLS certificate. Both SSL and TLS certificates are digital certificates that prove that you are doing your bit to keep your website secure. As TLS uses a more powerful encryption algorithm, your e-commerce website remains safe and secure. Check out this Indiana University page on SSL and TLS. While you are at it, make sure you are also PCI DSS compliant so that card payments are secure.
2. Protect yourself against DDoS attacks
In recent months, there has been a 64% increase in the number of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. This happens when there are too many HTTP requests and the server fails, allowing the hacker to launch an attack and enter your website for malicious purposes. Make sure that you have an incident response plan to implement and be prepared for DDoS attacks always. There are also cryptographic threats such as “Cryptojack” which use your website and devices to mine cryptocurrency. Coin Telegraph reported that cryptocurrency exchanges are common DDoS victims across the world.
3. Make access management your top priority
With most employees bringing their own devices to work, you will need to restrict who has access to files and data, and when. It is important to restrict access to data and applications only when the staff is working on certain tasks. At other times, make sure to remotely deny access to staff. You will need an IT team to help you with access management, and it is a good idea to seek the help of an external vendor for access management if you don’ have an IT department of your own. 75% of organizations have a BYOD policy in place. Do you?
4. Audit your eCommerce platform
Whether you are currently using Magento or Salesforce, or Marketo, you will need to audit all your CRM and e-commerce software programs, including your e-commerce website. If you have not fixed bugs and if all your programs are not upgraded to the latest versions, it is important to do so quickly. External vendors can help you setup your store afresh, so that previous versions are upgraded to the latest versions, without causing outages or website downtime. With Gartner reporting that $96 billion will be spent by companies on cybersecurity, you might want to reduce your expenditure by outsourcing repetitive security tasks.
5. Store only required information
Many e-commerce websites have the bad habit of storing unnecessary customer information. CRMs often encourage this habit too, and a lot of data that companies collect are quite useless. Make sure that you collect only the information you need, such as email and name of the customer, to stay in touch with them. Storing unnecessary information such as what their educational qualifications are or other details may pose security risks. Too much data will become unmanageable and will cause you to create vulnerabilities. As 75% of successful attacks are going to be fileless, you better watch out on your data.
6. Comply with GDPR
Last but not the least, begin to comply with GDPR, if you haven’t already. GDPR regulations apply to most e-commerce businesses as invariably someone will purchase from your website who is a European Union citizen. Ensuring that you take informed consent from your customers before collecting personally identifiable information will help you comply with this regulation. 45% of companies have set aside money to pay fines. Why would you want to do that? Comply with GDPR, and add an extra layer of security. If you need help with GDPR compliance, contact an external vendor today.
7. Update your policy
Security really depends on company policies. If you do not prioritize your and your customer’s data and privacy, you probably will not feel motivated to do the extra bit to ensure security. Involve all the decision makers and make cyber security a top priority. Cyber attacks are considered the second highest financial risk, and there is no reason to allow this to happen to you. Make staff training (related to cyber security and device management) an integral part of your policies, and enable two-factor authentication for your customers so that they don’t rely on simple passwords that are vulnerable to attackers. Seek the help of a security partner when you feel you can’t do this all by yourself.
Be prepared for threats always
As you can see, ensuring cyber security on your e-commerce website is no easy cake. You will need to constantly engage in risk assessment, and make sure that you are prepared for newer threats. Threats are always dynamic in nature, and they change and evolve over a period of time. Focus on access management and device management, and ensure that you comply with regulations such as GDPR. To keep your website safe and secure, focus on averting DDoS attacks, get PCI DSS compliant, and implement security certificates such as TSL.
In addition, train your staff regarding security best practices and enable two-factor authentication for your customers. Also, do not store your customer information unnecessarily unless it helps you, and make sure you get their permission to store whatever information you want to store. Lastly, if you do not have the resources or staff to do all this, get an external vendor’s help.