E-Commerce Security: Securing Against Threats

With the incredible growth of e-commerce, cybercriminal activity has also seen an upswing. Cyberattacks cause a loss of data, money, and reputation for e-commerce businesses globally. This places cyber security and the implementation of cybersecurity protocols among top priorities for e-commerce entrepreneurs and companies.

The use of e-commerce requires extreme caution when managing customers’ personal and financial information as well as a business’s data. Security breaches cause data to be lost and this not only has economic consequences but can have devastating effects on an e-commerce business’s credibility and the good rapport established with a customer base.

E-Commerce Security Basics

E-commerce security not only encompasses protecting a commercial website but necessitates protecting all online transactions to prevent unauthorized access. This ensures your commercial activity’s viability. While there are compliance issues to contend with that will include governmental policies, industry regulations, or contractual conditions to adhere to, e-commerce security focuses on implementing technical controls to protect your online business.

For e-commerce security to be effective, it should be based on:

The information you provide is accurate, consistent, and reliable and has not been altered by unauthorized actors.

Your commerce website is accessible to buyers 24/7 

Sellers and customers furnish identity verification to guarantee a secure transaction.

Only authorized personnel have access to, can modify, or use sensitive data.

A customer’s sensitive data is protected from access by unauthorized subjects.

This is the process that confirms sellers and customers received the data sent to each other and the transaction is recorded.

Securing E-Commerce Against Threats

Unlike brick-and-mortar stores or even e-commerce business owners that keep inventory in warehouses where they can implement access control, use security personnel, evaluate the need for an NVR vs DVR system, or a variety of alarm systems, e-commerce security depends heavily not only on technology but on sellers and customers as well. 

Several best practices should be in place before opening your e-commerce store for business, or that you should put into effect if you already have an e-commerce activity.

1. Choose and use secure passwords.

Many businesses and individuals are hacked simply because they use weak passwords. Never use the same password for multiple sites or services, change them every three months, and use a mix of letters, symbols, and numbers. Do not share your personal information and set up a reCAPTCHA for your business. Also, think about employing a business password manager that encrypts passwords before storage.

2. Select a secure host.

E-commerce businesses need reliable data storage, so when looking for a provider, look for encryption, SSL certificates, malware protection, and DDoS protection when shopping for a hosting provider.

3. Install the right SSL certificate for your business.

These certificates (Secure Sockets Layer) are mandatory for e-commerce businesses and will aid in protecting both your commerce site and customer data. It will encrypt data and give you a boost with Google SEO as HTTPS websites are favored.

4. Use anti-malware software and security plugins.

E-commerce websites do not need SSL alone. Antivirus and malware software together with security plugins can add layers of security by blocking untrustworthy networks, detecting bots, and removing viruses and malware.

5. Make sure to update your site.

Whether you use a cloud server that will automatically launch fixes and apply patches, or are managing your site directly, you do need regular updates to contrast vulnerabilities that develop. Updating the software your site uses is essential to preventing hackers from finding a way inside. Program automatic updates so that your business site is always protected.

6. Keep a backup and update it regularly.

Having a backup of your site’s data is one of the best things you can do to protect your e-commerce business. Backups should be scheduled based on how frequently you feature new content or upgrade your site’s design and organization. Many host servers provide automatic backups, but you should also download copies of your database and files so that if something untoward happens, you won’t have to try to rebuild your site or your database.

7. Do not store sensitive data in your website database.

Sensitive data needs to be stored elsewhere to limit the risk of hackers being able to access it. Choose a cloud server or opt to use an external hard drive that is kept securely offsite in a safe.

8. Use MFA – Multi-Factor Authentication.

This login method is exceptionally effective in blocking cyber threats and crime. Users will need to authenticate their login using biometrics (a fingerprint or facial recognition), an OTP or one-time password, or by responding to a security question. Use a plugin to activate MFA for your e-commerce site.

9. Opt for secure payment gateways.

Payment gateways will authorize the credit card payments of your customers. These gateways then collect the sum and deposit it into your business’s account. Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal are all examples. Gateways should ensure SSL certificates, data encryption, and tokenization to protect credit card numbers, and secure electronic transactions.

10. Select who has roles and permissions.

Finally, you need to choose carefully who can access your e-commerce website for performing tasks such as updates, plugins, etc.  Users should only have the access they need, and site administrators should be limited to those who are competent and have specific tasks to perform.

A Final Thought

Common E-commerce threats include forms of financial fraud, malware, bots, social engineering attacks, DoS attacks, DDoS attacks, spam, and phishing among others. As cybercriminals become increasingly creative, e-commerce businesses become increasingly vulnerable. Proactive security strategies can protect both your e-commerce business and your valued customers.