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Ecommerce security: 4 clever ways to ensure your site is safe

Ve Global
Ve Global
Digital Revenue Optimisation
Ecommerce security: 4 clever ways to ensure your site is safe

Cybersecurity is an important topic that’s relevant to any internet user. In particular, ecommerce businesses need to know how to protect themselves from cybercrime so they can keep their customers’ sensitive information safe and protect against any vulnerabilities.

Since every ecommerce platform is designed to operate exclusively online, cyber threats are the main threats to online businesses.

That’s why we’re going to take a look at some key ways in which online retailers can protect their sites from cyber-attacks and scams. Here’s a quick overview of the topics we’ll be covering:

Arm yourself with knowledge

Knowledge is power, which is why it’s important to know as much as you can about cybercriminals and the way they operate. After all, a criminal won’t be successful if you anticipate and strategise against all of their nefarious plans before they’ve even picked your online store as a target.

Having the right knowledge at your disposal lets you continuously implement new solutions, and integrate them into your existing security measures. This type of CI (continuous integration) ensures your security solutions are up to date.

The two most important things to know are which types of attacks you should prepare for, and what sorts of targets cybercriminals typically choose when they launch those attacks.

Which threats do ecommerce businesses face?

Perhaps the biggest threat to ecommerce sites is the dreaded data breach. Each year, more businesses become the target of data breaches, as shown in the graph below.

The attacks that result in data breaches can take various forms. Hackers could target your ecommerce website directly with malicious code, for example. They might also take a less direct approach and opt for phishing scams that disguise their malware as legitimate software so you or your customers click on it and accidentally grant access to your personal data.

Unfortunately, ecommerce security threats don’t end at data breaches.

Other security issues include DDoS attacks (distributed denial of service attacks), which happen when cybercriminals overload your ecommerce store with malicious traffic to stop it from working as intended. Cybercriminals can also facilitate a DDoS attack via a brute force approach. Ransomware, which prevents you from accessing your files unless you pay the scammers, is yet another threat.

Which targets do scammers and hackers choose?

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to identify the kinds of targets that cybercriminals typically choose. They pick ecommerce stores that handle customer data, usually in the form of online transactions, in the hopes of getting their hands on customer details.

In particular, customers’ credit card information and/or personal customer information like your clients’ IP addresses is of interest to cybercriminals.

If your site handles a lot of credit card data, it’s more likely to be a target for hackers, meaning your ecommerce security has to be extra strong for effective data protection.

Layers of cybersecurity protection

Now that you’ve gathered all the information you need to fully understand the security issues you’re protecting yourself against, it’s time to start implementing safety measures.

Of course, the exact measures you use will vary depending on the nature of your business. That said, anyone can benefit from good antivirus software and strong encryption to protect credit card numbers and similar details - why this article will be focusing on universally useful safety measures.

Firewalls

Setting up a firewall or two is a great way to keep your online store safe.

Firewalls work by checking for malicious code, malware, Trojan horses, and other known threats whenever someone interacts with your store. Firewalls can identify hacker bots and improve your website security by keeping those unwanted visitors away.

There are plenty of free-to-use, open-source firewalls available for you to try out if your ecommerce store doesn’t currently have a firewall.

Passwords

We’ve all been told at least once in our lives to pick strong passwords and never share them with people. Websites also often remind us not to use a password we’re already using elsewhere.

That doesn’t necessarily mean we listen, unfortunately.

According to recent research, over half of Internet users reuse their password across multiple accounts, with 13% using one single password for every account.

If this sounds like you, consider coming up with at least a few different password options. The more accounts you secure with one password, the more information hackers can gain access to once they’ve cracked that password.

Identity verification and authentication

Just as your customers want to see your SSL certificate and GDPR compliance statement as proof of your site being a legitimate vendor, you’ll want to set up measures to protect their card details and sensitive information from bad actors.

Two-factor authentication is a great way to go about this. With multi-step authentication processes, you can reduce the chances of scammers accessing your customers’ credit card details, lowering the chances of a security breach affecting your business.

Test your website extensively

Regardless of whether your shop is based on Shopify, WordPress, Magento, Woocommerce, or another site, it’s important that you test the site itself.

Here’s a quick overview of the kinds of items you can only benefit from including on your website testing checklist.

Implement hacker-proof upgrades

The code for your ecommerce store already works, which means anything new that gets added to it needs to improve that functionality to be worth using. To that end, you’ve got to run a regular regression test on all the new hacker-proof additions you want to use.

By testing to make sure your new plugins and tools work in unison with everything you’re already using, you can guarantee that they serve their purpose of keeping hackers out and protecting your site.

Regardless of whether your shop is based on Shopify, WordPress, Magento, Woocommerce, or another site, it’s important that you test the site itself.

Here’s a quick overview of the kinds of items you can only benefit from including on your website testing checklist.

Implement hacker-proof upgrades

The code for your ecommerce store already works, which means anything new that gets added to it needs to improve that functionality to be worth using. To that end, you’ve got to run a regular regression test on all the new hacker-proof additions you want to use.

By testing to make sure your new plugins and tools work in unison with everything you’re already using, you can guarantee that they serve their purpose of keeping hackers out and protecting your site.

Automate your testing

It’s no secret that retail automation is shaping the future of ecommerce. That’s because test automation is a more efficient, accurate way to conduct tests and assess the quality of your website. Companies that want to make their testing process smoother and more effective need to ask themselves: what is test automation, and how can I make it work for my business?

The answer to those questions is that test automation is a shortcut that actually works. It takes repetitive tasks out of the hands of your employees and frees up resources to focus on other things, such as coming up with new ways to protect against cybercriminals.

Partner with the right people

There’s more to ecommerce business partnerships than picking providers based on which ones offer the best pricing plans.

Partnerships are a great way to protect your online business - just as they’re an opportunity for malicious individuals to attempt to harm your company. You’ve got to find a balance between being cautious and enjoying the benefits of partnerships, such as by leveraging SEO for affiliate marketing.

Below are two best practices that will help you choose partners in ways that protect your business.

Choosing affiliates wisely

You’ll want to have a keen knowledge of the basics, such as questions like ‘what is an affiliate marketing program’ and ‘where should I look to find reliable affiliates’. This will help you avoid inadvertently partnering with scammers.

Affiliates promote your content; this is part of the performance based marketing definition that they operate under. It’s important to select affiliates who won’t put your content onto scammy websites that lower customers’ impressions of your brand.

Picking partners conducive to your success

Partners help you get things done more efficiently.

That might mean choosing a partner in the payment card industry to help you make your payment gateway and checkout process more secure and friendly to card and PayPal users alike. It might also mean choosing expert marketers to bring your marketing vision to life.

The right partners provide you with tools that help you with useful, tangible things like being able to achieve increases in your website conversion rate. This is precisely what Ve’s Digital Assistant is designed to do.

Parting thoughts 

The key to good, strong cybersecurity measures is to constantly update them as new threats emerge.

That can sound daunting out of context. However, if you’re already gathering information as per ‘Way 1’ in this article, you’ll find that the data you’re collecting helps you stay on top of new threats and attack methods, so you’re always one step ahead of cybercriminals.

Another method is to make sure you’re always providing your customers with what they need to have a safe, secure, and comfortable shopping experience with your brand.

To that end, your ecommerce business can benefit from a customer-helper Digital Assistant tool that caters to customers’ needs and helps them shop the way they want, without added risk on either end. As the saying goes; it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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