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Tips for Enhancing the Security of Your eCommerce Platform

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When selling online, platform security is of utmost importance. With the increasing volume of online transactions and data sharing, it’s critical eCommerce platforms are secure enough to protect sensitive customer data and financial information. Cybersecurity threats and data breaches are becoming more prevalent, and this can have devastating consequences for eCommerce businesses, including loss of revenue, a damaged reputation, and even legal repercussions. Therefore, you must take proactive steps to safeguard your platform against security risks.

This article will provide practical tips for enhancing the security of your eCommerce platform to reduce your chances of falling victim to cyberattacks and data breaches. With hackers constantly looking for new vulnerabilities to bypass security measures, it’s essential to remain vigilant to prevent compromising security.

How to enhance your eCommerce security online

Use and require strong passwords

One of the most basic yet effective ways to strengthen the security of your eCommerce platform is the use of strong passwords. A weak password makes it easy for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to your platform and steal sensitive data, such as customer information and payment details.

Use passwords that are difficult to guess and contain a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid common words and phrases, as well as personal information such as names, birthdates, or phone numbers. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack, so aim for a minimum of eight characters.

Enforcing strong password policies is equally crucial to ensure security. Educate your staff and customers on the importance of crafting strong passwords and regularly changing them. You can also implement strength meters that display the robustness of a password as it’s created to steer users away from weak combinations.

Moreover, enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to the login process. 2FA requires users to provide a second piece of information, such as a code sent via text message or generated through an authentication app, in addition to their password. This makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain access to the platform even if they steal a user’s password.

Maintain your website with regular updates

As technology evolves, cybercriminals are compelled to find new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in software and systems. Their ingenuity makes it critical to update and maintain your eCommerce platform regularly.

Software updates often include security patches and bug fixes that address known vulnerabilities and improve platform security. So, regularly install software updates and security patches to maintain a robust defense against potential security threats.

Additionally, conducting regular maintenance checks on your eCommerce platform helps identify and remedy vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them. This includes checking for outdated plugins, monitoring server logs for suspicious activity, and verifying the integrity of data backups.

Many people associate security with technology, but it also involves people. Teach your staff best practices for eCommerce platform security like password hygiene and social engineering attacks so they can effectively prevent security breaches.

Request multi-factor authentication

Similar to 2FA, multi-factor authentication (MFA) boosts security by requiring users to provide two or more forms of identification before accessing an eCommerce platform. This could be a password, a security token, a biometric identifier, or a text message sent to the user’s mobile device. This way, even if a cybercriminal knows a user’s password, they won’t be able to access the platform without the additional proof of identity.

MFA can be SMS-based, mobile app-based, or hardware tokens:

  • SMS-based MFA involves sending a one-time code to the user’s mobile phone, which they then enter to access the platform.
  • Mobile app-based MFA also generates a unique code but through a dedicated mobile app.
  • Meanwhile, hardware tokens are small devices that produce individual codes for users to enter the platform.

Implementing MFA on your eCommerce platform significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access and protects sensitive customer data. However, it’s important to choose an MFA solution that’s easy to use and doesn’t create unnecessary friction for users, as this can lead to frustration and decreased platform usability.

Use SSL certificates

An SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate is a digital security measure that encrypts communication between a website and its visitors. It ensures data is transmitted securely between the site and the user’s browser, preventing third-party access to the information.

SSL certificates are essential for eCommerce platforms as they hide sensitive customer information such as credit card details, personal information, and login credentials. Moreover, search engines like Google consider SSL certificates to be a ranking factor, so having an SSL certificate can boost your platform’s search engine rankings.

You have your choice of three types of SSL certificates:

  • Domain validated (DV): DV SSL certificates verify that the entity requesting the certificate owns the domain name.
  • Organization validated (OV): OV SSL certificates require additional information such as business registration to validate the owner of the domain name.
  • Extended validation (EV): EV SSL certificates, the most secure of the three, require extensive verification of the business identity.

Obtaining and installing an SSL certificate on your eCommerce platform is relatively simple: You can acquire one from a trusted certificate authority (CA) such as Let’s Encrypt, Comodo, or DigiCert. Then, you install it on your web server or ask your hosting provider to do it for you.

Ensure data encryption

eCommerce platforms inevitably collect and store sensitive customer data such as names, addresses, and credit card details. So, it’s important to encrypt this data to stop unauthorized access and data breaches.

Data encryption is the process of converting sensitive data into an unreadable format that can only be accessed with a decryption key. Encryption ensures that, if a cybercriminal intercepts data during transmission or access, they won’t be able to read or use it.

The two types of data encryption are:

  • Symmetric: Uses a single encryption key to both encrypt and decrypt the data
  • Asymmetric: Employs a pair of public and private keys for encryption and decryption

You can use tools such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to implement data encryption on an eCommerce platform. These tools provide a secure communication channel between the website and the user’s browser, encrypting all information that passes between them.

Note that data encryption alone isn’t enough to secure your eCommerce platform; you must also ensure encryption keys are managed effectively and stored securely. Check that data backups are encrypted as well to prevent breaches.

Schedule backups

Along with these strategies, the strength of your eCommerce platform’s security also relies on regular backups. In the event of a security breach or system failure, backups can restore the platform to its previous state and avoid data loss.

Create a backup schedule for all data, including customer, order, and product information, as well as website content. Automated backups can be scheduled daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on the volume of data and the frequency of changes to the platform.

Be sure to store your backups in a secure location, with access to them restricted to authorized personnel only. Verify their integrity regularly to ensure they can be restored if necessary.

It’s also a smart move to establish a disaster recovery plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a security breach or system failure. This should include procedures for restoring backups, identifying the cause of the breach, and addressing any vulnerabilities in the platform.

Security is important for your customers’ privacy

Robust platform security benefits both your business and your customers’ privacy. Shoppers entrust their sensitive personal and financial information to you whenever they make an online purchase, and they expect you to take measures to protect it.

Failure to do so can have severe consequences for the consumer, including identity theft, financial fraud, and damaged credit ratings. In addition to the monetary impact, data breaches can weaken buyers’ trust in a business, resulting in reputational damage, customer churn, and loss of revenue for the company.

With this in mind, be sure your eCommerce platform complies with applicable privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These legislations require businesses to implement measures to protect customer data, obtain their consent for data collection and processing, and provide consumers with control over their information.

Prioritizing platform security demonstrates your commitment to protecting your buyers’ privacy and maintaining their trust. This then leads to deeper customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth recommendations, and increased revenue.

Wrapping up — Shore up your platform’s defenses (and your shoppers’ trust)

Your eCommerce business needs strong platform security to protect sensitive customer data (and thus secure their privacy), prevent breaches, and maintain your business reputation. By incorporating the tips discussed in this article, you’ll strengthen your platform’s defenses and reduce the risk of cyberattacks.

Remember, platform security is not a one-time activity but a continuous process that requires regular monitoring and updating. As cybercriminals find new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, eCommerce businesses must remain vigilant to stop security breaches in their tracks.