With more and more people getting involved in ecommerce – best estimates being that there are between 12 and 24 million ecommerce stores worldwide – making sure they run smoothly is crucial. When running well, an ecommerce store can be a fulfilling project, as well as a great source of income.
However, as an online business processing personal data (which includes payment information sometimes) it can be a risky business.
So it’s important to have the best security solutions in your toolset. So, what are the risks facing your ecommerce business, and how can you manage that risk?
What Risks Should You Protect Yourself From?
Hackers are not (just) hooded figures hiding away in a foreing country trying to bypass big banks’ security systems.
Hackers are present everywhere on the internet, and they employ thousands of different strategies to gain access to private data. For further information about the strategies hackers adopt when targeting ecommerce businesses – this article has some useful insights.
Here are just a few of the key vulnerabilities faced by your ecommerce business, if your store is not protected:
- Spam. This is especially common in the comments section of articles or product pages.
- Brute Force Attacks. This is when a program will try to guess your admin area’s password by trying a myriad of combinations.
- Phishing attempts. You, or your employees might be targeted by a phishing attempt in an effort to find out your credentials. In a phishing attempt, hackers pretend to be a legitimate platform (like a social media site, your bank, or other services provider) and from that position of authority ask for personal data. This can either be a simple email making false claims, or even a fully fleshed website.
- DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. This type of attack is executed by making a ton of requests to your server, overwhelming it, causing the site to crash.
These are just some of the most common security concerns for ecommerce site owners. The threats are real, especially since cybercrime became more prevalent as a result of the pandemic.
But what are the best ways to mitigate these risks?
The Best Security Solutions For Ecommerce
Before we get into specific tips and tools, we want to note that the best defence against cyber threats is good digital hygiene. This includes not opening links from unknown sources, changing passwords regularly, and being skeptical of everything that hits your inbox.
So, here’s what you can do.
#1 Use A Password Manager
While brute force attacks are not the most common strategy employed by hackers, they’re still a reality. And they work because people have weak passwords. If you ever signed up for a service and used a password that’s not that complex, but easy to remember, you’re risking your security, and that of your ecommerce store.
But complex passwords are hard to remember, which makes them inconvenient. Unless you have a password manager. This type of tool will generate, and store passwords for the services you use. Besides enhanced security, this also makes it very easy to share credentials with your employees.
#2 Install An SSL Certificate
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate will update your server’s encryption protocol from HTTP to HTTPS. The updated protocol improves protection against all types of attacks, but it has a slew of other benefits.
The most important one is for SEO. An SSL certificate is one of the first things search engines look for to see if your site is trustworthy. Without an SSL certificate, some users might even be advised to not visit your site.
Some hosting services provide a free SSL certificate for your server. That’s why you should consult with your hosting provider to see how you can get a certificate.
#3 Payment Processing
Storing your customers’ payment information is risky. Without the top security solutions in place, any leak can be disastrous for your business. That’s why it’s a good idea to sign-up with a payment processing company.
If you get a tool like Stripe or Paypal to take care of the payment processing, you’re simplifying your processes, making it easier for customers to checkout, and making sure you’re not putting their safety at risk.
#4 Backup your data
If your site ever gets attacked by hackers, you risk losing it. That’s why constant backups are one of the best security procedures you can employ.
Like SSL certificates, some hosting services have an automatic data backup system. If that’s not available, you can always install backup plugins from the WordPress repository, or look for other third party solutions. If you don’t want the hassle of backing up data yourself, make sure the tool you get has automatic backups.
#5 Install Security Plugins
If you don’t want to bother with installing an SSL certificate, and a myriad of other tools to protect your site, you can just opt for a multi-purpose security plugin that takes care of it all for you.
Things like WPScan, Sucuri Security, or Astra take care of everything regarding cybersecurity on your ecommerce store. They may be more expensive than simpler tools, but they free up your schedule and mind.
#6 Educate Your Audience
If your audience members use strong passwords when they sign-up on your site, and make sure to not share information with phishing attempts that pretend to be you, the risk of a breach in your security is decreased.
So advise people to create strong passwords when signing up. Send an email clarifying your outreach procedures, so your customers will know if they’re contacted by an impostor pretending to be you.
#7 Educate Your Team About Cybersecurity
If you want your store to be protected, you need to employ security best practices in your own life, like using two-factor authentication, changing passwords often, and being wary of dubious links.
But that translates to your team.
If one of your employees falls for a phishing campaign, the hackers can get access to your platform as well.
Being successful in ecommerce requires hard-work and dedication. Don’t jeopardize the hard work you’ve put into your business with weak security.