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Protecting Your eCommerce Site from Cyber Attack

If you're an eCommerce business owner, you probably already know how important it is to maintain your website's security. A secure site helps you sustain your operations, but it’s also critical to retaining your customers' trust. When your customers entrust you to keep their sensitive information protected, you must be able to deliver on that promise.

However, protecting your business against various types of cyber threats, such as malware, Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks, and phishing schemes, can be a significant challenge for those who are self-employed. When you don’t have an in-house IT team, these ongoing cybersecurity threats can make it extremely challenging to sustain performance and growth.

To prevent your business from becoming compromised by modern security threats, and to ensure you're continuously protecting your customers' best interests, here are a few tips you can follow to keep your eCommerce business operational and secure.

Carefully Choose a Hosting Provider
Finding the right hosting service for your business is a crucial step towards securing your online store. While some web hosts specifically cater to business websites that require more reliable tech support, others are designed for a more general audience for blogs and other personal sites with little support needed.

It's essential to choose a hosting provider that can guarantee stricter security measures than the others. Additionally, you should also opt for a dedicated hosting plan since this can add a degree of security to your website. A dedicated service prevents security breaches that may come as a result of sharing hosting space with other organizations.

Encrypt Your Data
Data encryption is a vital process that can ensure your information is protected at rest and also when it's transmitted. Lack of data encryption can put your website at risk of eavesdropping from outside sources and could lead to critical data breaches.

Basic data encryption can be executed by ensuring your website uses an SSL certificate to protect sensitive financial information. This ensures that even if the data you're transmitting is intercepted, the third party that accesses the information will not be able to use it. Additionally, all data stored on your hosting server should also be encrypted, ensuring all network endpoints are secured.

Use a Secure Platform
When starting an online business, there is a wide range of e-commerce platforms you can use. However, it's important to remember that some of these platforms fare better in terms of security.

Ideally, you should opt for an eCommerce platform that uses object-oriented programming language and is equipped with multiple security tools. Additionally, anyone who has access to your e-commerce platform needs to set a strong password that's changed regularly to reduce the probability of credentials becoming stolen or compromised.

Adhere to PCI Regulations
Online businesses often accept a variety of payment methods, such as debit and credit cards, PayPal, and other digital payment solutions. If your business accepts cards both online and offline, you must ensure your processes comply with the various regulations set by the PCI Security Standards Council.

Compliance with these regulations ensures any stored financial information remains safe and prevents you from being liable to pay significant fines in the future by inadvertently putting your customer data at risk. By recognizing and understanding all of the legal obligations of your business at the beginning, you’ll significantly reduce the likelihood of having to suffer costly consequences.

Test Your System Regularly
Once you've established various network security protocols, it's important to test their effectiveness regularly. You can achieve this by hiring an individual or team of individuals to perform penetration testing, otherwise known as ethical hacking, which involves individuals attempting to breach your website the same way a malicious attacker would.

Penetration testing is a beneficial tactic when identifying whether an attacker could potentially breach your security measures and access your customers' information or not. If ethical hackers can access your website's secure areas, they’ll provide you with actionable steps you can take to harden your network security.

Implement Strong Firewalls
Having a robust firewall in place can help protect your business against Trojan horses and viruses. Additionally, it also lets you know when any suspicious activity is occurring on your network. A strong firewall can also help overcome cross-site scripting issues and SQL injections. This is why it's vital to ensure your firewall is updated and configured correctly; otherwise, it won't be able to protect you against potential threats.

Invest in Employee Training
Every new employee should undergo some level of cybersecurity training to learn how and why it's essential to protect customer data. Additionally, they should also learn how they can play a role in preventing an attack before it takes place.

Adequate employee security training shouldn't just involve knowing how to establish a secure password. Instead, you should also teach employees how to identify spam emails, suspicious websites, and phishing emails. Additionally, employees should learn what to do after recognizing a security breach and how they can initiate disaster recovery processes when customer data has been compromised. Businesses that invest in decision analytics systems can also train employees on how they can utilize deep data visualization solutions to better inform their crisis analysis procedures.

Make Strong Passwords Mandatory
Creating strong passwords may seem like an obvious best practice for some, but you'd be surprised how many businesses fail to implement this practice effectively. Many times, employees complain that they're unable to remember complicated passwords that include numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special characters, leading them to simplify and repeat their passwords across multiple domains. This can be a dangerous practice that can lead to several data breaches down the road.

While setting a strong password and remembering it can be a tedious task to some, this process does significantly reduce the likelihood of a breach taking place. And although some customers may dislike having to change their login credentials regularly, they will still appreciate the measures you're willing to take to protect their data.

Today, there are many avenues that cybercriminals can take to compromise your online business. This makes it increasingly important for your eCommerce business to take all possible measures to make your website as secure as possible. By following the practical tips listed above, you can ensure that you build a safe and sustainable environment to operate your business while ensuring you always meet your customer's security needs.

And if you need any additional advice or have questions, you can always ask an NASE Expert!

Meet The Author:


Luke Smith

Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger.

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