5 ways to secure your e-commerce website

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E-commerce is on the rise, and more consumers than ever are confidently buying goods online. Internet shopping has been growing steadily over recent years, but there’s been a seismic shift in 2020, caused primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, as the popularity of online shopping has increased, so has the risk of cybercrime in electronic operations. Cyber-attacks in online retail grow at 30% year-on-year, and it’s a trend that will continue, especially in light of Coronavirus.

The responsibility for protecting customer data lies inherently with the shop owner, so what steps can you take in 2020 to avoid breaches and compromising your customers’ data?

Invest in secure (SSL) hosting

Your website needs to be available 24/7/365, and the only way you can guarantee that is by using a trusted and established hosting company. The more significant players in the market offer full security and back-up, giving you total peace of mind.

Additionally, you must host your website on HTTPS – an industry-standard protocol that ensures the security of your site visitors. Google recently announced it views sites not using the HTTPS protocol as insecure and has started to penalize their rankings in search results, so it’s vitally important your site uses the technology.

Use a recognized e-commerce platform

The E-commerce platform you use is as important as your choice of hosting company. There are many robust and secure systems available, each offering specific benefits.

Critical considerations of all e-com systems are how easy they are to update and their in-built provisions for security. Again, check with your web developer or hosting company for guidance. There are also multiple reviews online of the most popular e-commerce systems which will help you find the right software for your particular needs.

Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is now common in online transactions, and most banking institutions insist on it to authorize payments. 2FA involves typically sending a code to a mobile phone as a secondary proof of identification. Where possible, you should use it for each web administrator that has access to your website to increase security and avoid unwanted intrusions. Your web developer or hosting company can offer advice on the system that’s right for you.

Engage the services of a cybersecurity company

Depending on your level of e-commerce reliance, it may make commercial sense to employ a cybersecurity company to look after your online operations. Almost all hosting companies and e-commerce platforms come with some form of support – but there’s no substitute for having a dedicated security expert working on your behalf.

Security companies will test your site thoroughly to make sure it is 100% safe against intruders. All stages of the online transaction process need to be tested, including any third-party delivery services you might use. Using a reputable order fulfillment company, like Red Stag Fulfillment, will have already tested these processes, saving you the time and hassle of testing it yourself.

Cybercrime experts also ensure your site and its apps are updated regularly. Patches and updates are routinely issued to solve potential problems, so they must be installed immediately to fix loopholes. Your security partner will do this as a matter of course, ensuring your site’s security is bulletproof.

Don’t store sensitive customer data

With modern banking technology, there’s no reason why your company should store sensitive customer data – in particular, credit card details. Limit your client data storage to details like delivery and email addresses – leave card security to the big boys.

As more and more businesses move their operations increasingly online, cybercrime will continue to be a problem. Taking a few sensible precautions can ensure the safety of both your site and your customers, future-proofing your online shop, and building confidence with your clients.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.