When you’re running an e-commerce site, it’s likely that you’ll be collecting large amounts of sensitive customer data, for example, their name, address and credit card details. Because of this you need to make sure that your website has a strong security system in place.
Otherwise, if someone were to hack into your systems and steal your data you could find yourself slapped with an eye-watering fine under General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Not to mention it could cost you your reputation as a safe and trustworthy business – it’s just not worth the risk!
The good news is, there are steps you can take to improve your website security and reduce the risk of a cyberattack. Follow our tips below to protect your e-commerce site and make sure you’re ticking all the boxes on your cybersecurity checklist.
1. Choose the right host
First and foremost, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right web host for your site. Some platforms are designed for hosting blogs and general sites, while others are aimed at hosting businesses and e-commerce websites. The latter will often have better built-insecurity measures to help protect your site and the data within.
Of course, it’s likely that your e-commerce site will already be hosted somewhere (unless you’re starting from scratch) but remember, it’s never too late to switch hosts if you want to move to a more secure platform. Spend some time doing your research and you’ll be able to choose the safest host for your business.
2. Make sure you’ve got effective security systems in place
One of the best ways to defend your site fro attackers is by ensuring you’ve got all the basic (but nonetheless important) security softwares in place. This means making sure you’ve got a strong firewall in place to help protect your devices and your site from viruses and malicious content. Similarly, it pays to have anti-virus and anti-malware systems installed for additional protection.
3. Encrypt all your data
There are a number of different techniques that cybercriminals use to attack websites and one of these is by intercepting the transmissions when data is being entered, shared or transmitted through your website – it’s a sort of digital eavesdropping. They then have access to this sensitive data, such as a customer’s financial information. But by encrypting your data using SSL certificates, this ensures that only the recipient is able to read the information they’re inputting.
It’s also a good idea to encrypt all data that you have stored from your site so that it cannot be stolen from your server. This could be any data that is stored locally or any that is backed up to a cloud-based platform.
4. Make sure your network is secure
There are several ways you can make sure that your network is secure but one of the most effective is by installing an intrusion detection system (IDS). This can alert you if and when a cybercriminal is trying to get access to your systems. It will also alert you if a web user is trying to gain access to information that is restricted to them and that they do not have permission to view. This will quickly make you aware of the issue so you can solve it faster and stop the unwanted visitors from getting into your systems.
Other ways to ensure your network is secure include having strong passwords in place for anyone logging into your network and updating all security software regularly. It’s a good idea to make sure you have a strong password policy in which all users change their passwords regularly. Similarly, you should run regular checks to see if more up-to-date security systems are available.
5. Regularly test your systems
Once you’ve got all the relevant systems in place, particularly your security software, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re regularly testing these systems. This way you can identify any areas of weakness in your security and address them quickly. This also gives you a chance to check that all tools and platforms are working as they should be. There are a number of tests you can run such as firewall and penetration testing and you can either do these yourself or hire in a professional to check your website for you.
6. Make sure your employees are clued up
Unfortunately, human error is one of the biggest causes of security failures and could be the reason that hackers are able to get into your systems. Of course, this is not malicious intent from staff or users, but rather a lack of understanding or a simple mistake. So in order to reduce the likelihood of this happening it’s a good idea to educate all employees or anyone that has access to your systems on the basic cybersecurity measures.
Teach them about password best practices and how to identify suspicious downloads or phishing emails. All of this can reduce the risk of them accidentally giving attackers access to your data or website. It’s also important that they understand the ‘disaster recovery plan’ should something go wrong. They need to know who to report the problem to and how to act as quickly as possible to get ahead of the cybercriminals.
7. Don’t collect or store data that you don’t need
Finally, though it may not directly stop an attack, it can certainly be a blessing should someone try to access your systems, you should keep your data collection to a minimum. This means only collecting and storing data that you absolutely need to be able to offer your services. This means things like credit card details should never be stored. It’s also a good idea to regularly update and clear out your database to ensure you’re not keeping unnecessary information on record longer than needed.
By keeping lots of information stored on your website you become a bigger target for attackers and increase the risk of upsetting customers if their data is somehow stolen or lost. As such, it’s best to keep data collection to a minimum.