Cybersecurity is, by far, one of the essential aspects of running an online store. In fact, every eCommerce business is a massive repository containing both personal and financial data. There are many measures you can take to protect these resources, and in this article, we will show you the critical ones.
Cybersecurity is extremely important for you and your customers alike. Today, people leave their personal and financial data literally everywhere. Every single service and online store requires providing details like credit card number or shipping address before you can make a purchase. Although we are generally used to this practice, and most customers willingly share these details, we want to know (or at least to be assured) that our data is safe in the entrepreneurs’ hands. And the fact is, if you can guarantee a high level of security in your online store, customers will more likely buy something from you.
On the other hand, you should take care of the cybersecurity issue as a store’s owner, primarily to protect your reputation and money. According to Juniper Research, eCommerce losses from online payment frauds are currently around 17 billion USD, and they are predicted to grow up to 25 billion USD in 20241.
If your store is not protected appropriately, you expose yourself to a severe risk of losing customers. In late 2015, Gemalto.com2 published a report that stated:
- 64% of consumers surveyed worldwide say they are unlikely to shop (or do business in general) with a company that had experienced a breach where financial information was stolen
- 49% had the same opinion when it came to data breaches where personal information was stolen
In 2018, SalesForce.com3 published another report called “Trends in Customer Trust”, which stated that 59% of customers believe their personal information is vulnerable to a security breach.
All in all, if you treat your online business seriously, you have to exert every effort to implement a comprehensive and, more importantly, efficient cybersecurity strategy.
This raises the question of what measures can you take to make your store immune to the majority of cyberattacks? Let’s find out!
Start with strong passwords
Everything starts with passwords. If they are short and easy to guess, you’re voluntarily asking for trouble. Make sure your passwords are long and difficult to crack. Use special signs like !%#*. If you use letters, make sure at least one of them is capitalized. Your passwords should also contain digits. The more, the better.
❌ Weak password: MyeCommerceName
✅ Strong password: 16KnlFzm45!aa#
Consider using password managers to generate passwords that are difficult to crack. And make sure you’re frequently changing them at least three to four times a year.
The same principle applies to your customers. Ensure that they are forced to devise a complicated password when they are creating an account in your store. There are many algorithms available that measure the strength of a given password and, if the password is not strong enough, these algorithms don’t let the user go further.
Adopt two-step verification/authentication (2SV)
The two-step verification process is essential. Thanks to it, you can verify that it’s the real customer who wants to create an account or sign-up for the newsletter and not some kind of impostor. This type of verification is also crucial when it comes to payments. For instance, PayPal offers unique security keys. It’s a two-step authentication that sends you a one-time personal identification number (PIN), which is unique for each login session. This temporary code allows you to log in to your account (naturally, the password is also required).
At this point, you should make sure that your eCommerce platform and your payment system require two-step verification. Typically, 2SV requires entering a one-time code or having to click on a confirmation link that’s delivered via an email or text message.
There’s also the 2FA procedure which is even more complex. 2FA stands for 2-factor authentication, and it requires confirming a specific action (attempt to log in, make a payment, etc.) through another device. For instance, if you want to make a money transfer via your laptop, you have to confirm it in your bank’s mobile app. Perhaps you could think about a similar solution in your eCommerce business?
The SSL certificate
Today, the SSL certificate is a rather standard solution that’s simply required by the vast majority of eCommerce and payment platforms. Still, ensure you have this certificate implemented in your store, and see that it’s regularly updated.
The SSL certificate allows you to switch to the secure HTTPS type of hosting. You can quickly check if any given site has this certificate. If its address starts with http://, it doesn’t. The SSL-protected sites begin with https://. Why is this certificate relevant?
First of all, the SSL Certificate helps your users protect their sensitive information and get a better idea of those with whom they share their personal details. Furthermore, this certificate proves an independent, trusted third party has verified that the website belongs to your company and is safe to use. You have to know that SSL enables high-level encryption, assuring that packages of data traveling via your website are encrypted; ergo, they are not visible to other users and cannot be intercepted.
Choose only safe eCommerce platforms
If you’re using an eCommerce platform like PrestaShop or WooCommerce, make sure it offers relevant security measures. Simply ask your platform’s representative about safety procedures that are applied in your store and what can you do to make it even more attack-proof.
Today, all the leading eCommerce platforms pay a lot of attention to protecting their clients’ stores. Nonetheless, you should verify that. If it turns out that available security measures are insufficient, consider switching the platform to one that’s better protected.
Generally speaking, multi-layer (also known as multi-level) security is all about using numerous security solutions to guard your entire eCommerce system from various threats.
Typically, multi-layer security solutions are comprised of:
- Behavioral analysis
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP): It’s a set of tools that perform protective actions to prevent users from accidentally or maliciously sharing data that could put your store at risk4
- Email security
- Mobile security
- Wi-Fi security
- Data backups: We advise you to make regular backups of your data and store it in a safe place or protected cloud environment
- Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): They filter out the malicious traffic that flows through your website
Naturally, we can’t squeeze all the possible solutions into just one article, but we recommend you do some research and find out what solutions can be implemented in your store.
Lastly, if you operate within the European Union, your online store has to be GDPR-compliant. What does this mean? You are obliged to implement relevant security measures to protect your customers’ personal data. Although the GDPR regulation does not contain specifics, there are some ground rules you have to stick to:
- Every consent has to be clear: This rule means that consent cannot be implied. For instance, when you’re building your mailing list, the consent checkboxes cannot be automatically ticked.
- Data minimization: Gather only the necessary data you need to fulfill the order. Don’t ever ask for details that have nothing to do with the order, like gender or marital status.
Did you know that the GDPR text has 88 pages5? There are a lot of rules and principles you have to stick to. If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to consult them with a trusted lawyer or legal advisor who’s experienced in the eCommerce sector.
Cybersecurity is a key issue in every eCommerce company. Make sure you’re protected as highly as possible. And if you feel like your current security precautions are insufficient, talk to a chosen threat intelligence company that will analyze your present security level and show you what can be done better. Don’t neglect this area. Your success is at stake!