How to Protect Your E-Commerce Website from Security Threats

When it comes to protecting your business, profits and customer data from online security breaches, no company is out of reach for hackers today. After all, cyber attacks aren’t just reserved for large corporations. More and more small to medium enterprises and startups are falling victim to security threats and breaches, making it all the more important to protect your e-commerce website.

The holiday season in particular offers excellent financial and data-rich rewards for hackers and many targeted e-commerce sites of all sizes. Primarily hackers seek to gain access to sensitive data such as customer names, addresses and credit and debit card information. So, it is important for every entrepreneur to understand the challenges faced by e-commerce entrepreneurs and share the knowledge needed to avoid them.

Choosing a secure e-commerce platform

Pinpointing a secure e-commerce platform to carry your online business securely is essential when safeguarding sensitive data from hackers. Whilst choosing an open source platform that provides optimum security is difficult to the untrained eye, this challenge can be easily overcome with a bit of calculated research on open source platforms and their dedicated e-commerce functionality.

For example, hidden administration panels and thorough user authentication options are excellent features to look for when selecting a system that is secure and limits vulnerabilities that hackers aim to exploit.

Hiring a qualified Information Security service

To maintain a continuously protected site it is best to seek professional help to evaluate your infrastructure on a regular basis. There are a variety of services that provide penetration testing (also known as a pentest) and other ethical hacking services. As IEEE Xplore explains, the penetration testing, “method is an active vulnerability analysis and verification method that can mimic active attacks and perform exploitations by constructing effective and concise penetration testing cases.”

However, many entrepreneurs are left in the dark about the specifics involved in penetration testing. This type of stimulated hacker attack is designed to highlight weak links in your security system and discover a solution that resolves vulnerabilities; therefore choosing an information security vendor that fully explains the process whilst using manual and automated tools to complete the job is advisable.

There are also a variety of web application assessments that offer a cost effective and efficient ways of securing your e-commerce site. These assessments ensure your company website is inaccessible to unscrupulous characters such as hackers and fraudsters.

Storing sensitive customer data

This is perhaps the biggest challenge faced by newbies in the e-commerce world. Whilst handling so much sensitive data in every transaction, e-commerce website owners have a duty to protect their customers and their information to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

The PCI Security Standards Council provides strict codes of conduct for all merchants and it is forbidden to store credit or debit card details. However, each merchant can store the bare minimum for use in the event of chargebacks and refunds.

Becoming PCI compliant also entails following a number of other guidelines to ensure both consumers and merchants operate securely, and those who do not conform face strict penalties. The PCI’s website provides a vital resource for easy-to-understand and need-to-know details for merchants operating online and offline.

Securing user input and authentication

In today’s interactive e-commerce environment, your customers are likely to have a lot of input when it comes to shopping online and checking out, which highlights a number of challenges for merchants who feel they have very little control over this part of the user experience.

Making authentication compulsory when taking addresses and CVV2 codes for transactions is one way of keeping fraud at bay. Whilst making strong passwords is a must for both customers and staff members it will also ensure your customers’ information is fully protected and security breaches are minimal.

SSL authentication can also give the retailer the upper hand when it comes to information exposure. SSL encrypts all sensitive data such as financial details and passwords, so that only the proposed recipient can read them.

Ultimately, every small business should ensure e-commerce assets are fully protected and customers can enjoy a secure and hassle-free online transaction by understanding the challenges and overcoming them.

written by: Brittany Thorley 

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