How to keep your online business secure
Operating an eCommerce business is arguably one of the most profitable ways to make money on the internet, perhaps explaining the reason while it is impossible to get an accurate census of the number of eCommerce stores that exist today.
With those profits, however, comes a significant responsibility that lies on the shoulder of every eCommerce merchant — securing their business data and that of customers who use their platform to shop online.
The fact that 61 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses also makes the subject of security a vital area that every eCommerce merchant must pay attention to if they must retain their business and the trust of customers.
In this article, we reveal five essential security tips for eCommerce merchants. Note that meeting these requirements may not be all you need to secure your eCommerce website since the industry is constantly evolving.
However, we do believe that your site will be less attractive to online hackers if you take care to implement these security tips:
- Use an SSL Certificate
Unless you’re entirely new to the game of eCommerce, then you most probably have heard about an SSL certificate or at least the need to switch from HTTP to HTTPS.
If you haven’t made that crucial move, then it may interest you to know that a majority of the world’s top one million websites use an SSL certificate, while 85 percent of online users say they won’t buy from a site that does not have such protection.
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is a protocol that ensures that hackers cannot intercept information which a user enters on your website using their browser.
With Google moving to mark websites without an SSL certificate as insecure, it is definitely a must-have for every eCommerce website, especially on the checkout page where users often have to enter their credit card details to complete a purchase.
So whether you’re using a Magento custom development solution, building on Shopify, or WooCommerce, prioritize the use of an SSL certificate on your eCommerce website. Some hosting companies such as BlueHost offers a free SSL certificate when you buy their basic plan, or you can enquire from your eCommerce development company, other hosting sites that offer free SSL.
- Mandate Customers to Use Strong Passwords
While you may not be entirely responsible for customer data breaches related to their decision to use a weak password, you can mitigate any such risk by mandating that users create strong passwords when they use your online store.
You can ask your eCommerce developer to set a minimum length for all user passwords, and also offer suggestions on how users can create stronger passwords.
Note that while this may irritate some customers, and even slightly contribute to cart abandonment, it imbibes security consciousness, and a responsible shopper would be willing to go through the process of creating a strong password.
- Do Not Store Customer Data
As much as you’re tempted to store customer data for further analysis to improve your business, taking such a step exposes you to the possibility of being held responsible if a data breach were to occur.
It is for this reason that most eCommerce website platforms offer an option to allow customers checkout by logging onto a website using their details on other platforms such as Google or Facebook.
For payments, you can trust a third-party payment gateway such as PayPal to execute transactions with customer details in their database, since they’ll probably do a better job at securing customer data than you ever will.
- Train Your Team
If you’re not the online person managing the backend of your eCommerce store, then even your best security strategies may become futile if every member of your team who has access to your site is not security-savvy.
To this end, do your best to organize workshops aimed at educating them on both basic and secondary security practices. Adopting this measure will ensure that these employees do not commit security blunders such as choosing a weak password or giving away important credentials to phishing schemes.
- Regularly Check For and Install System Updates
If your eCommerce website is built on platforms such as WooCommerce, Magento or Shopify, then it is common that you get regular notifications to update extensions or other vital site components.
Most times, developers release these updates to fix bugs and other vulnerabilities that provide a back door for hackers to breach the security of your eCommerce website. With this in mind, make it a customer to check for and install updates as soon as they’re made available.
Especially for large enterprises operating an online store, I recommend that they maintain an eCommerce support team to check for system updates, and if impossible, they can bring a third party eCommerce team to carry out this assignment.
Talking about system updates, an ongoing requirement is that eCommerce merchants with stores on Magento 1, migrate to Magento 2 before June 2020 when the platform’s developer will end support for the old version.
If you’re yet to implement the upgrade, then it is safe to say that you’re undermining the security of your eCommerce store and it could be damaging in the long run.
The process of ensuring adequate security for your eCommerce store may seem daunting for many but apparently does not come without rewards.
Implementing the security tips that we’ve listed in this article will ensure that you win the trust of your customers, on the way to becoming one of the most successful eCommerce merchants in your niche.
Written by: Alicia Wells, BOSS Contributor
Alicia is a programmer who specializes in mobile app development and design. With her strong coding background and easy demeanor, she thoroughly enjoys blogging about all aspects of software development in her spare time.