Why Your Online Business Needs to Invest in E-Commerce Security

A hacker exploiting a vulnerability in e-commerce security

E-commerce business boomed in the past few years due to the shift in technology. A decade ago, you were required to be knowledgeable in a least a few computer languages in order to build a website. The change to user-friendly interfaces by webhosting sites, prompted an increase of e-commerce sites. But along with this advancement lies the issue of e-commerce security.

Why Invest in E-Commerce security?

There are two stakeholders when it comes to e-commerce sites—your customers and you. Thus, it is imperative that your e-commerce business is fully equipped with security measures to inspire trust and confidence in your customers. More than that, you will decrease your chance of being liable to lawsuits by removing security flaws in your servers.

But sadly, one cannot be fully immune to internet security attacks. Even the biggest corporations and governments can get crippled by computer worms and viruses created by malicious hackers. Nowadays, it has become a common topic in the news of direct denial of service (DDoS) attacks on government websites or data dump of customer credit card numbers and passwords from huge corporations.

Anonymous member hacking

Hacker group Anonymous has been known to hack big companies such as Visa, MasterCard, and Paypal.

One of the most well-known hacks is the PlayStation Network hack of 2011 where sensitive details from approximately 77 million accounts were compromised. More recently, Yahoo! disclosed that in 2014, hackers swiped 500 million of their users account. They’ve revealed that these hackers took names, email addresses, telephone numbers, and passwords and sold them on the dark web, a part of the internet that you cannot access through normal means.

All of these events result in one thing—the loss of consumer confidence in your business. These huge businesses took years to recover the trust and goodwill back from their customers. Some did not recover at all.

Naturally, if you invest in e-commerce security, your customers will be likely to sign up with your site or make purchases. Thus, you should be aware of several steps you can take in order to protect you and your customers from a serious data breach.

Choose a reliable e-commerce platform.

Be meticulous when it comes to your choice of website host. As a general rule, you should ask about the security measures that they will employ to protect your data. Know what type of data they keep and how often they update it in case of server crashes. E-commerce sites require sensitive data such as credit card numbers for transactions. Therefore, make sure you know where your platform stores this data. Ask how many levels of authentication is needed before anyone can access the data they store.

Store only essential information.

Hackers and other ill-intentioned people cannot get any sensitive data if there isn’t any sensitive data in the first place. There is minimal reason to store thousands of records on your customers, especially credit card numbers and other financial information. Sure it may be inconvenient for your customers to input these every time they log in, but the risks outweigh the benefits by far.

Customer using credit card

Financial transactions are susceptible to fraud, where it’s online or offline.

Use multi-step authentication for financial transactions.

Fraud often victimizes the unwary. It can happen not only on your site but also on the end of your customers. Minimize the risk of fraud in purchases, refunds, and other financial transactions by requiring a few levels of authentication before authorization is made.

For example, send a random numerical code to your customer’s phone or email which they can input to verify the purchase. Aside from that, always inform them through phone or email if there is suspicious activity on your client’s account, such as name changes or unusually large purchases.

Always update and back up data.

From website plugins to the customer data required to run your site, you should always update to the latest versions. These updates are usually made to patch security vulnerabilities, aside from additional features. Most hackers usually exploit flaws in early versions of a software in order to gain access to sensitive data.

User inputting a password

Creating a strong password can withstand even brute force methods.

Require strong passwords for customers and employees.

I’ve actually been complaining about the password requirements of some sites for some time now, although I understand where they are coming from. The reason why these sites require alphanumeric and even uppercase-lowercase combinations is simple. They are much harder to guess even with brute force methods.

You should require strong passwords not only for your customers but for your employees as well. Educate your employees on the steps to protect sensitive customer data for your company.

What steps are you taking to boost your e-commerce security? Tell us in the comments below.