So you’ve launched your E-Commerce site and everything is going great. You have customers that have started to flow in, you have what is looking like the start of repeated clientele, and it seems like everybody loves what you have to offer. Everything is going amazingly. You wake up one morning, turn on your computer and open your E-commerce management portal. Your username and password combination doesn’t match. “That’s odd”, you think, as you check your email. You see a message from your domain provider – your domain has been blacklisted.
You can’t believe it and read more as you feel a sinking feeling in your stomach. You have been blacklisted as your website was hacked and you compromised your duty to protect your customers. Their credit card data, addresses and emails have all been obtained and you will not get any traffic until you have fixed your vulnerabilities and got your site off the blacklist.
This is the sad reality that many Ecommerce shop owners face when they wake up to check on their business. On average, a hacker attempts to hack your website 58 times a day – you face one cyber attack every 25 minutes. This can be hugely detrimental to your business. If you have clients, they may be wary of your site and lose trust in your brand, which can kill your momentum, end your cash flow, and ultimately cost your company.
You need to keep your E-Commerce site secure for your future and your customers, but how can you do that?
Get an SSL Certificate:
If you’re selling online, then you should definitely have one of these already, provided by your web hosting company. Installing an SSL Certificate enables you to use HTTPS, which is a server link between your visitor’s browsers and your servers. This helps to protect their information against hackers targeting your business. It also gives your site a higher SERP rating, which can hopefully increase your traffic.
Get your customers to be strong:
Hackers can wreak havoc if they have access to just one user’s login information, and it can be a great entry point to steal more data. You should thus make sure that every account your customers create is protected with a very strong password. This is becoming more and more frequent, and users will view it as less of a hassle than you may think. It’s recommended to not let them create an account unless they have a password that contains both an uppercase and lowercase letter, as well as a number and also a symbol.
Know what data you need to store and store it well:
A customer that buys from you becomes vulnerable when they hand over their payment information as this puts you in an opportunity to store it. The potential to lose confidential data is great, and not taking the right precautions can cause your site to be blacklisted. There are two solutions in dealing with such.
Don’t store any sensitive data. You can still have fully functional user accounts without storing sensitive data directly via tokenization. Tokenization uses random numbers taking the place of sensitive data. This means that if a hacker gains access to that data, they are unlikely to be able to use it without your key. This method is also used widely to cut down on credit card fraud.
You can also use a secure storage system. This serves the additional benefit of giving you a secure data storage location that can be used for more than customer data – you can use your own company’s private data as well, including intellectual property. This is a cloud-based storage system that also serves the benefit of preventing you from losing data, which can happen more easily than you think without an optimized tagging system.
It’s recommended that you use an established company, as you should not be handing data out to anybody that is not tried, tested, trusted, and fully secure themselves. A site like www.bytes.co.uk is a good choice, as you want something that offers different server and security options.
Pull-out old plug-ins:
Plug-ins are an entry point to get access to your site and can expose vulnerabilities. Once hackers know about vulnerabilities, plug-in providers update their software and fix the vulnerabilities. You need to stay on top of this, as if you use old plug-ins you could come up on specialist searches. The famous example of this is Google Dorks, which enabled hackers to use Google to find sites with issues ripe for SQL injections.
Be PCI DSS Compliant:
As you own the website, you need to make sure that you can handle the cards your customers trust you with. To do this, you need to be Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant. This is a scheme created to help credit card data handling be more protected and more controlled so the chance of fraud is reduced. Businesses that aren’t PCI DSS compliant can face fines, sanctions and loss of privileges, not to mention lawsuits and governmental prosecution for not protecting your customers’ data.
Use a Content Delivery Network:
Back in the old days of the internet, hackers could take down a website using just one command in their laptop’s terminal. They could request data packages from servers in such high numbers that the server would not be able to handle the requests and shut down. These evolved into DDoS attacks, but they’re of little threat now if you use CDNs. CDNs are a distributed group of servers that have physical distance from each other. Using them delivers your web content to your visitor faster and can even identify malware.
Making sure your E-commerce store is secure is essential. If you can not offer your customers the protection from hackers that they need, you can face some serious penalties, and if you are not protected from hackers yourself you can lose everything. You should follow each tip in this guide, as it can give you some serious protection when bundled together.