There is nothing more exciting than setting up a new eCommerce website. The idea of creating something from scratch and working towards a whole new level of business success can be very exciting. But it is important to not let your excitement get ahead of ensuring that the proper precautions are in place, especially when it comes to cybersecurity.
Every day, hackers are looking at new ways to steal customer and corporate information for their own gain. Just about any piece of customer information can be used for nefarious purposes, from the email addresses that are sold on the black market, to credit card numbers that are used to take out exorbitant loans without the customer’s knowledge. And it is not only stolen information and the loss of customer trust that is at risk, but the cost of a major data breach could also bankrupt your site as the average cost of fines and fees for a company after a hack is upwards of $4 million.
With that said, you want to protect your site now and in the future. Here are a few tips for doing just that.
1. Start with Smart Passwords
The first step to good security is incorporating strong passwords that include a detailed combination of numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters. One tactic that hackers like to use is the brute force attack, where the hacker uses a computer program that attempts hundreds of passwords in hopes of guessing the correct information. Once in your system, the hacker can steal confidential information or install malware or ransomware that could lock down your site until you pay the money they require.
When customers create new accounts on your site, you should require that their passwords follow strong password guidelines.
2. Add an SSL/TLS Certificate
Next, while you are setting up your site, make sure to protect it with an SSL/TLS certificate that will actively encrypt any information that your customers enter into your online forms. Once encrypted, the data cannot be used maliciously. When you have an SSL certificate, the HTTP at the start of your web address will turn into an HTTPS, with the “S” literally standing for the word security.
These days, most service providers will automatically enable HTTPS on your site from day one, but if you don’t see it, inquire with them. Customers are more educated on security these days, and if they do not see that “S” in your web address, they may shop elsewhere.
3. Be Aware of Social Engineering Attacks
You and your staff need to be aware of the common social engineering attacks that hackers use to trick users into handing over unlawful access to your system. It is exceptionally important because these simple attacks are very effective and make up 98% of all cybersecurity penetrations.
The most basic of these strategies is baiting, where the hacker leaves a USB drive lying around the office or in a public place in hopes that someone will be curious enough to pick it up and plug it into their computer. Once they do, the hacker can gain access remotely and run rampant in your system. Remind staff members never to plug in an unfamiliar device and to report the item immediately.
Another scam is the phishing email. This can appear to be a legitimate communication from management or the IT team, but really it is an attempt to get the victim to give up personal data or unknowingly provide access to the hacker by clicking a malicious link or attachment. For an eCommerce business, it can be common to get an email asking you to verify your login information, but unless you trust the source, this is likely just the hacker trying to get your information the easy way.
4. Back Up and Secure Your Data
You also need to back up corporate and customer data so it can easily be recovered if lost. Purchase backup servers and move all data to this external location upon receipt. This backup should be password protected and encrypted so the data cannot be used if stolen. Pair your password with two-factor authentication, which is an additional code that must also be entered for access.
Make sure that you have antivirus software installed on these servers and your primary machines, and run scans on a weekly basis to protect against current threats. Update this software whenever a new version is available, so you are always one step ahead of the newest scams.
5. Enlist Additional Help
When you are just getting started, checking passwords and updating software can be relatively easy, but if you are planning to expand your business or you just don’t have time to make the proper security checks, then you may need outside help. Two great options to consider are either a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or to partner up with a cloud computing service.
An MSP is an outside vendor that you hire that provides necessary security on your behalf. While you are focused on growing your business, the MSP manages your site structure and user accounts, updates your data around the clock, and ensures that information is properly backed up, so your customers are protected. These companies are made up of some of the smartest security experts in the world, so this is a good option if you can afford it.
Whether you are just starting out or your eCommerce business is already up and running, you might choose to move many of your services to the cloud. This is essentially a digital space where you can store all of your programs and data as you eliminate the need for physical servers. Many cloud computing providers also have their own security experts who can monitor your website behind the scenes. This is a great option if you are low on physical space and security knowledge.
In the end, your eCommerce website is only as successful as you make it, and part of success is a solid security mind frame. Implement these processes now, and your company will be stronger and more trustworthy going forward.
Note: This blog article was written by a guest contributor for the purpose of offering a wider variety of content for our readers. The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of GlobalSign.