Operating an ecommerce store is the perfect option for many retailers. There’s no physical overhead, a relatively small team can handle a lot of work, and you can sell your products directly to consumers. But while online shops don’t have to deal with as many physical threats as a brick-and-mortar store, there is a universal risk all retailers face: the possibility of a data breach.
While the threat of losing sensitive and valuable data can be overwhelming, there are some simple measures to take to ensure your customers’ information is safe and your ecommerce store’s security is up to par. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind as you reexamine the way you protect your site.
Before you can maintain your ecommerce site’s security, you must first establish it. Adopting HTTPS, a variant of hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), has become the norm for most ecommerce sites. In fact, to keep a high Google ranking, web developers are encouraged to get an SSL certificate, which signifies a secure, encrypted connection.
But an “s” in your url is not enough to prevent every type of malicious activity. Additional layers of protection, like a web application firewall, are needed to protect against hackers. It’s also important that customers know that their actions—and transactions—in an ecommerce store will remain private and secure. Badge and shield icons are a simple way to tell shoppers your site is safe to shop.
Take advantage of the right resources
Picking the right ecommerce platform is a an important part of maintaining your ecommerce store’s security. While major platforms can offer a robust set of tools and functionality, their popularity can also draw attention from hackers. If you host your ecommerce site via a platform like Shopify or Magento, your website is automatically equipped with some security features and updates.
Ecommerce platforms that utilize WordPress should download Wordfence Security, a plugin that provides ecommerce stores with a web application firewall and an integrated malware scanner. No matter the plugins you choose, however, be sure to update them often. An outdated plugin is no-good and serves as a major target for hackers.
Pay attention to payment data
While your website’s overall security is important, it’s vital that your customers’ personal information remain secure. Bad experiences with fake ecommerce sites and data breaches across major websites and apps have left consumers skeptical and worried that their personal data could be stolen.
When choosing a payment service provider, retailers should make sure their choices are PCI compliant, or able to securely gather, store or process credit card information. Retailers should also take extra measures to safeguard their customers’ account. Requiring strong passwords and asking customers to verify their billing address via an address verification system (AVS) might seem like a lot to ask of eager shoppers, but these extra steps reduce the risk of virtual theft.
There are plenty of tools and guidelines to help retailers secure their website, but the only way to truly maintain control of your website’s security is to monitor it often. Conduct regular inspections, citing any sudden changes in traffic or any other questionable behavior. Staying on top of your ecommerce website’s security will not only save you time and money but help you maintain shoppers’ trust in your brand and business.
Bart Mroz is the co-founder and CEO of SUMO Heavy