Holiday shopping is often characterized by huge traffic; but besides the seemingly high traffic, are cyber-criminals looking to cash-in on the frenzy sales!
So it behooves the eCommerce websites to ensure that not only their platform, but also the data, especial credit card details, entered on the platform by customers is secure. The security of the website should normally be an important factor in the running of any online retail business, more so, now that the holiday shopping season is around the corner.
As expected, your online store will experience an increase in traffic, it is very important to check your site for any software vulnerability and also ensure that you’ve done everything necessary to avoid data breach.
While there are many factors that should be considered to rate any website as secure, what follows are some quick checks for improving your website’s security.
Quick check for Potential Security Vulnerabilities
1. Website’s Password Policy
The password is described as an Achilles’ heel in online security, as the most common way to prove to a website that you are who you say you are, makes it a target for cyber-criminals. And unless you share your password with someone else, or somebody steals it, there is no way your account can be broken into without this identity verification process.
While the password process should be straightforward, it should never be taken lightly as it will most significantly affect user experience, and the level of security of the site.
There are several forms of authentication: physical, such as USB stick, then access to SMS or Email and fingerprint, facial or voice recognition. Albeit, the third form of authentication is what most people are familiar with on the Web.
It is necessary to combine more than one of these forms of authentication to create what is known as multi-factor authentication system.
2. Data Retention Policy
Data or record retention policy, is the established protocol for retaining data necessary for operational or regulatory compliance.
While some data are necessary, eCommerce website should ensure that they’re not holding onto unnecessary customers’ data. And they must clearly signify it in their data retention policy, as data can easily pile up, so it’s important to define how long they need to hold on to specific data.
The PCI SSC (Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council) recommends that cardholder data should be eliminated. These includes card expiration date, the cardholder’s name and primary account number, which must be stored separately from less sensitive data to reduce the storage that require strong protection.
And the record should be disposed of properly, though organizations are not mandated by law to dispose of old data, but it is in their best interest.
3. Disaster Plan
The systematic procedures that details what should be done, when and by whom after an anticipated disastrous event is known as disaster plan. But in eCommerce, the disaster can be Data bleaches, corruption of files, and other unforeseen compromise to the database.
It is essential that they have a plan at hand when such incidence occurs. And the key way to cope with such disaster is plan on how to react before, during and after the disaster and also know the dangers that could affect the organization.
5 Ways to Secure Your eCommerce Site
1. Update Your eCommerce Platform
The first step to ensure security for your website is to make sure the software are up-to-date and your WordPress site must have reliable and fully-supported eCommerce plugin.
As the eCommerce software may have some vulnerabilities, always check for update. Whenever an update is available, it could mean vulnerabilities are discovered, as such the patches are released to block the hole.
The holiday shopping will definitely be a frenzy one, so you need to have more control over your site’s security to guarantee sales.
2. Ensure Your Server is Secure
Generally, it is advised to avoid shared hosting environments, especially if you are an eCommerce provider, always go for dedicated hosting. A shared hosting environment can be much more easier for cyber-criminals to exploit, for instance, through permission errors on directory.
For mid-sized retailers, it is necessary to verify server security for the holidays and the quicker way may be getting a good web hosting provider.
As a top priority you should find out exactly what is the level of encryption for your web hosting, and how often the server activity is logged, also how you can monitor the server activity.
3. Scan Your Site at Regular Intervals
There are several security services that scan website for possible malware, such as the advanced Vulnerability Management solution by Qualys – it will scan your site and network for potential malware, and in some cases, even help in solving the security problem.
The scanning helps you to identify possible site vulnerabilities as well and they will email you a warning message. And many other free scans are available online, which should be done on regular intervals.
4. Encourage Customers to protect their information
Most of the time, the break-in point is usually from the side of the customers, and if a hacker has access to information or a customer’s login, they can do a lot of damage.
It is the more reason to ensure that your website users are informed on the best security practices and make sure they are doing enough to keep their login details secure as well.
5. Train Staff Members on Security Best Practices
Even when all other areas of security are ticked, having a vulnerable insider can be huge risk! As always, the workers are the easiest means to target an organization, and that is also true for eCommerce websites, the workers must be abreast of the latest security measures.
The headache for most organization lies on issues of a hack, don’t let your workers access or to store sensitive information of your business or customers records. Obviously, this is a huge task, but one that must be done for your site to be safe this season.
You should try as much as possible to avoid storing customers payment information or their personal identifiable information.
Wrapping it Up!
If the above tips are followed, it will ensure that your eCommerce website is in top shape and you’d definitely be ready to make great sales this holiday season.
Albeit, it is not an easy task to secure your website, but it will sure gain the trust of your customers, and help in positioning you to become a successful eCommerce merchant.