Ecommerce website security has become increasingly complex due to the innovative techniques and sophisticated tools used to launch cyberattacks. However, keeping your website secure is critical to surviving through the stiff competition in the e-commerce landscape despite these complexities. You may have heard of some of the biggest businesses like eBay and Target falling prey to security incidents in the past. Well, they are not the only ones who need to worry about it because where there are personal and financial details, a hacker is lurking around.
Therefore, every e-commerce business needs a comprehensive cybersecurity plan that can safeguard against various security threats. Now, that can be overwhelming for small and mid-sized e-commerce businesses that work with limited resources. Nevertheless, it is inevitable for such businesses to adopt an actionable security plan because one out of every six small businesses falls victim to security breaches. So, if you run an online store and wonder where to start from, here’s a checklist to help you get started.
1. Data Encryption with SSL
E-commerce website security begins with data encryption which is now mandatory under the PCI DSS guidelines. This technology protects in-transit data by encrypting it through cryptographic keys, which jumbles up the data and makes it illegible to third parties. To trigger encryption, your website needs to run on HTTPS, and that is only possible when you have a valid SSL Certificate installed on the webserver hosting your website. Without it, cybercriminals can access the usernames, passwords, financial details, and everything else that your customers communicate to your web server.
2. Enforce Strong Password Regulations
Strong password rules may sound basic, but you’d be astonished to know that 24% of Americans still use common password variations like abc123, 123456, etc., which are easy to crack. So, there are folks who are yet to realize the dangers of setting easily hackable passwords. These simple variations can be easily cracked by a brute force attack in no time.
As an e-commerce website owner, you can prevent them from doing so by setting strong password rules. This would compel your customers to set strong passwords and keep them safe. You can also add an extra layer of security by making it mandatory for users to change passwords every one or two months and restrict them from using any of the three previous passwords.
3. Periodically Delete your old record from the Database.
It is quite common for an e-commerce business to switch platforms to scale their businesses, and with each platform comes a record that you must delete. So, before opting for an e-commerce platform, make sure to check what type of data is stored on the server and whether you can delete it. After all, every bit of data stored comes with the risk of someone accessing and misusing it. Moreover, this is not just a security measure but also one of the guidelines issued under the PCI DSS and is essential for your business to remain compliant.
4. Keep the Software Updated
Software Application developers regularly release updates to fix the bugs they detect and make the application more useful and secure. So, make it a point to update all the software applications that power up your e-commerce website. It could be a CMS like WordPress, Magento, Drupal, or a third-party e-commerce management solution like WooCommerce or Shopify that you have integrated. Your job is to check them regularly and keep all the technologies up to date.
5. Multiple backups
Ecommerce businesses operate based on customer requests, so data related to orders and inventory is critical for its smooth functioning. Therefore, you need to back up your data regularly and if your hosting service provider is doing that, then check its frequency. The best way to go about it is by automating backups over shorter periods and storing them on multiple systems for additional security. This prevents data loss in hard drive crashes, power outages, viruses, or ransomware attacks.
6. Prevent SQL Injections
Regardless of the platform used, all e-commerce websites use a database to store and retrieve data collected from their users. The most popular database management system used by e-commerce platforms is SQL, and this is something that cybercriminals are well aware of. As a result, they find ways to exploit the Database by injecting malicious code.
Usually, their goal is to steal confidential hidden data by subverting application logic and using other techniques to retrieve data maliciously. There are many ways to prevent this form of attack, and a specialist can help you detect SQL vulnerabilities and fix them. This involves implementing security measures such as input validation, parameterized queries, stored procedures, character escaping function, etc. Preventing SQL injections is critical for data security and cannot be neglected.
7. Antivirus and Firewalls
Make sure to have the necessary security essentials such as firewalls, antivirus, etc., installed on your e-commerce website. Most importantly, keep them updated and perform regular scans to make sure that you have clean downloads. Look for one that comes with daily file scanning and change monitoring features that help detect anomalies.
8. Regular Security Audits
Once you have implemented all the necessary e-commerce website security measures, you are only halfway through. Cybersecurity is ever-evolving, and the only way to stay on top of it is by hiring security experts to challenge your existing infrastructure, find vulnerabilities, and make recommendations. Therefore, you need to hire security testing experts known as ethical hackers to perform regular penetration testing on your website.
E-commerce businesses have huge potential, and while you are working so hard to drive business, don’t overlook your security requirements. Else, it could expose your business and your customers to security threats that gradually take your business down. We have discussed some critical e-commerce website security measures along with practical solutions. These are cost-effective measures that can lower the attack surface and prevent attackers from stealing customer data.