Recent years have seen the e-commerce industry grow exponentially, providing unlimited opportunities for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to increase sales by allowing them to reach customers through their website directly. With more consumers shopping online than ever before, the ease at which one can set up an e-commerce site means that SMBs can reach a wider customer base than ever before. Therefore, it’s critical to protect your online business if you manage sales or services in-platform.
While setting up an e-commerce site is easy, keeping your website, and your customers’ info, safe from hacking, fraud, and data breaches is not. As a business owner, it is then critical that you take steps to secure your e-commerce site, as a single data breach can cost millions, potentially putting you out of business. To help prevent the unthinkable, here are a few steps that you can take to protect your e-commerce website.
Be Careful What Data You Collect and Store
In order to protect your online business, it is important that you do not collect and store unnecessary user data. While businesses need customer information to improve their communications and product offerings, as well as to complete sales, website hacking, phishing, and other cyber attacks target this user data, which could put your company at risk. A good rule to follow would be to only collect data that is absolutely necessary to complete a transaction. Collecting any additional information could leave you liable in the event of a data breach.
Furthermore, it is critical that you do not store credit card information on online servers. Not only is this a violation of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), but it leaves you at risk if this information is lost as you could face legal penalties and a damaged reputation. It is the best that you do not store sensitive information like customer credit card numbers online. You may even want to consider using a payment facilitator like PayPal or Authorize.net to handle credit card-related transactions in order to improve your security and reduce your liability.
Switch to HTTPS
If your website is still using outdated HTTP protocols, it is critical that you switch to HTTPS in order to reduce your vulnerability. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (“HTTPS”), is the online protocol for secure communications over the internet, and switching to HTTPS is one of the best ways to protect your website from fraud. HTTPS websites are deemed authentic and secure, which is designated by a closed green lock icon in a browser’s address bar. HTTPS helps to keep customer traffic and data on your website secure, which can greatly reduce your risk of a costly data breach.
Stay on Top of Patches and Updates
One of the easiest, and most effective, ways to protect your e-commerce website is to make sure that you stay on top of software updates and patches. As websites become more secure, hackers continue to find new ways to bypass security protocols. One way that they do this is by using bots to identify which websites use outdated software. If you do not update software with the latest security patches, you then become an easy target for hackers who can take advantage of vulnerabilities in your outdated website. You should then try to make it a habit to perform updates as soon as they become available.
Invest in Cyber Insurance
Of course, even if you take all the right steps to minimize your risk of being hacked, you still may find yourself subjected to a data breach. In the event that you do fall prey to an attack, cyber liability insurance can be a lifesaver by helping to cover losses associated with the breach. Investing in cyber liability insurance now can be what keeps you in business should you find yourself subject to a data breach.
How can we help protect online businesses?
Taking the right precautions can be critical in helping protect your online business secure from hackers. Contact us to learn more about steps that you can take to protect your e-commerce business from a cyber attack.