How to Protect User Data on Your Ecommerce Site
Customer data is the lifeblood of any online business, and that explains why e-commerce website owners ought to be concerned about secure data transmission and storage. However, keeping customer data secure in the current scenario is difficult because the average time taken to detect an attack is 197 days.
Within that time frame, the damage is done, and your business is held liable for it. As customer data security is the vendor’s obligation, it is necessary to deploy strong preventive measures.
In this article, we shall figure out ways to keep customer data secure from hackers.
1. Use Secure Hosting
Unlike blogs and affiliate websites, e-commerce portals receive personal and financial customer data protected under various laws and regulations like the GDPR, PCI DSS, etc. So, e-commerce website owners must be cautious about the hosting they choose. It is always better for such sites to avoid sharing the server with others.
For this reason, the shared hosting or the VPS plans must be avoided because those hosting plans involve sharing the server with other random websites. The downsides of using such web hosting plans include the possibility of a compromised or rogue site on the same server as yours. These can be used to load malware onto the server to create a backdoor and gain access to other sites hosted on the same server. A better alternative would be to opt for a dedicated server plan or use your own server under your absolute control.
2. Install an SSL
E-commerce websites need to be cautious about cybersecurity from the very minute they connect the domain to the server on which the site is hosted. Therefore, installing an SSL Certificate even before assigning login credentials to authors and designers is recommended. This will encrypt communication between the server and the client and prevent hackers from stealing login credentials. In the long run, encryption secures data belonging to the customers, such as credit card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, etc.
However, it is essential to know the various types of SSL certificates available and the coverage provided by each type. The domain validated (DV) single-domain SSL encrypts a particular domain or subdomain. The Wildcard encrypts a primary domain and all its first-level subdomains, and the SAN SSL encrypts multiple domains, IPs, and mail servers. Therefore, e-commerce websites must choose between a Wildcard and a SAN SSL based on their web architecture. For example, if you want to secure one main domain and its multiple sub domains then Comodo Wildcard SSL is best choice.
Also, it is essential to track the validity of the SSL certificate because the encryption takes place only as long as the SSL remains valid.
3. Collect Minimum Data
In the e-commerce space, it is a common trend to allow users to store their credit card or financial details for easy checkout. But do you need to do that? The logic behind allowing this is to trigger impulse buying, but this could backfire if your website’s security is compromised. So, be careful about the customer data you collect and store.
Using a third-party payment gateway that allows some of the most common payment methods would be ideal for most businesses. It cascades the risk to the payment gateway and ensures faster checkout, which does not affect your sales.
4. Regularly Backup Your Ecommerce Site
Data is the crown jewel for Hackers trying to gain access to an e-commerce site, so the best way to protect it is through regular automated backups. So, even if cybercriminals launch a successful attack, the backups ensure uninterrupted service and the smooth functioning of the business.
Also, it enables instant disaster recovery in case of natural calamities and prevents data loss.
5. Update Ecommerce Applications
Very few e-commerce businesses start on the right foot by investing in ERP solutions or a premium CMS like Shopify. Instead, most tend to create the site with open-source CMS like WordPress and install free plugins to enable additional functionalities.
This can be dangerous and to only way to minimize the risks associated with it is by installing secure e-commerce applications that come from reputed sources and then keeping them up to date.
6. Use a Web Application Firewall
Web application firewalls filter, monitor, and block out malicious activities based on predefined rules. So, you can use them to stop the outflow of data which can be instrumental in controlling data theft. Also, it can be used to restrict the inflow of certain file types or prevent any kind of code from auto executing.
Such predefined actions can be beneficial in stalling attempts to inject malware or malicious code into your e-commerce ecosystem. So, even if a cybercriminal somehow gains entry into the server environment, the firewall prevents it from causing further damage.
7. Implement Security Awareness Training
Quite a few businesses have a learning and development division responsible for creating employee awareness programs and imparting them periodically. If you do not have one, consider partnering with external course developers to educate your employees about cybersecurity.
Also, organizing regular workshops can help further this initiative by creating awareness about what can happen due to the carelessness of employees. This is necessary because insider threats have increased by 47%, and this includes incidents caused by both intentional and accidental actions of the employees.
8. Develop a Cybersecurity Plan
Every e-commerce business must have a working cybersecurity plan in place to prevent, identify, and eliminate threats. It must include all the above security essentials, periodic penetration tests, and a quick threat response mechanism.
But, most importantly, it must be created under the guidance of expert cybersecurity professionals. If that seems a little bit complex, consider hiring the services of a Managed SOC service provider.
There is no silver bullet when it comes to keeping e-commerce data secure. The only way out is by building an arsenal of powerful security tools to counter cyberattacks. We have discussed some of the most recommended tools and techniques to improve the e-commerce website’s overall security.
However, it does not end there because the cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing, and new security measures need to be implemented now and then.