Websites get hacked all of the time.
You hear about it on the news when big players get hit, like when the PlayStation Network was hacked. You would imagine these companies spend millions to protect themselves and their customers’ private data, but gaps in cybersecurity allow hackers an opportunity to infiltrate companies’ supposedly secure data.
Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access.
These security measures are especially important for E-Commerce websites involved in online retail. Online storeowners that fail to follow proper protocols regarding cybersecurity put themselves and their customers at serious risk.
Small stores catering to niche audiences are extremely susceptible to breaches of security if their cybersecurity platforms are not maintained and up to date. One in five small businesses is a victim of fraud every year. Reportedly, an average of 30,000 new websites are hacked every day. These compromised websites can unknowingly be distributing malicious code, which can then go on to infect other sites. This kind of activity forces around 60 young businesses to close annually.
Smaller online retailers are at additional risk due not only to hacking but also due to accepting fraudulent payments and then having to later refund the charges. This kind of backwards cash flow can be detrimental in the early stages of small businesses, putting many business owners at risk
Beyond financial consequences, data breaches can permanently damage an E-Commerce website’s reputation. Loyal customers may lose trust in your business due to a single incident of breached trust. This is bad for online business owners concerned with their returns on investments and customer acquisition costs (which should be all online business owners).
E-Commerce sites security standards:
Within E-Commerce sites, payments are made in exchange for goods or services. Sometimes, payment processors like PayPal redirect payments through their own secure servers. This reduces the risk of a security breach for the small business owner since the payment is handled via a third-party.
More established storeowners prefer the concept of accepting Credit Cards on their Checkout pages. This both adds to a site’s credibility and appearance but also increases the importance of the site’s cybersecurity.
Imagine if all the sensitive Credit Card data your site processes got into the wrong hands.
To secure the data of millions, service providers generally adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). By maintaining security infrastructure to the strict guidelines of PCI DSS Compliance, online retailers can protect themselves as well as their customers from harm.
For more information about PCI DSS compliance:
What can you do?
You must do everything possible to prevent your business and customer base from being hacked and exploited. Site owners must do more to prepare for risks than only using software platforms with built-in security features
9 tips to keep your E-Commerce site safe:
- Use thoughtful passwords. If the username is the same as the password, or if either contains the word “password,” then it’s time to reconsider your log in information. Hackers are smart nowadays, but you can always be smarter.
- Make sure that your code is up to date and follows secure coding principles. It’s important to stay on top of this or to hire someone who can be. If you aren’t on top of things, someone else who is will exploit the gaps in your cybersecurity.
- Be sure to check all server software, plugins, extensions, etc. are patched and running the latest versions available for maximum security.
- If your E-Commerce site stores data including personal information, always make sure it is securely encrypted.
- Make a habit of checking for unexpected changes or content within your site.
- Create backups of your entire site. It’s often easier and more time efficient to restore a website from its backup rather than spending the time and resources to repair damages.
- Set payment limits from one account to reduce the risk of processing potentially fraudulent charges.
- Monitor transactions closely. Billing and shipping addresses that do not match can be a sign of a fraudulent transaction. E-Commerce software offers IP address tracking so that merchants can block certain transactions. You can use an Address Verification System (AVS) to compare the customer-provided billing address and those that the credit card issuer has on file. This will distinguish fraudulent transactions from the legitimate ones.
- For online Credit Card transactions, require a Card Verification Value (CVV), the three- or four-digit code on the back of a Credit Card. PCI DSS prohibits retailers from storing this number, even if they record other information such as customers’ names, addresses and credit card numbers for future use. Remember, many cybercriminals have a credit card number but are lacking the physical card. This means requiring a CVV reduces the opportunity for fraudulent transactions.
With these tips in mind, conduct regular risk assessments for your business. Many online storeowners fail to think about every day security measures to keep their businesses and valued customers protected. Keeping up with current trends in cybersecurity will save your business time and money in the long run and can help you prepare for the unexpected. Learn about ecommerce storefront