The Complete Guide to Ecommerce Security

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As each day brings another story about cybersecurity threats like DDoS attacks and phishing, ecommerce security is getting more important than ever. If your customers have even the slightest doubt their transactions aren’t secure, they’ll immediately bounce to your competitor’s website, leading to a loss of sales for your business.

With this guide, we’ll outline the most effective tips and strategies to enhance your ecommerce website’s security to win your visitors’ trust and drive traffic and revenue.

Why Ecommerce Security Is So Important

Cybersecurity is an essential ecommerce feature—and we don’t say this without reason. It lets you protect private and sensitive information, safeguard business finances, and prevent fraud and financial scams.

One of the biggest advantages of implementing security for ecommerce is that you’re in a better position to win your customer’s trust. They feel safer buying from your brand knowing you are taking the necessary steps to protect their sensitive data.

Security protocols also ensure customers’ privacy and integrity.

None of the information they share online will be used anywhere without their approval or knowledge. You can have SSL certificates that encrypt sensitive data shared across the internet to ensure information only reaches the intended person. This is highly desirable as all shared data passes through multiple computers before the destination server receives it.

The more obvious advantage of ecommerce security is finance-related.

Data breaches harm your website‘s reputation, and any negative impact on your website’s reputation also affects your business’s finances, resulting in fewer sales. Even your most loyal customers won’t recommend your store to others if they feel their privacy and sensitive data are inadequately protected.

A study found the ecommerce industry is a prime target for cybercrime, with 57% of all attacks recorded on ecommerce websites being carried out by bots in 2021. 

Clearly, slacking isn’t an option when it comes to ecommerce security.

Ecommerce Security Case Study: Blibli

Blibli is a popular Indonesia-based ecommerce platform that offers top-quality and authentic products with a money-back return policy on everything they sell, no questions asked. The company enjoys a strong following with the country‘s affluent customers, with the demographic expected to grow from 9% to 21% of the population by 2030.

But increasing popularity also brought Blibli several challenges like greater website and payment gateway vulnerability to deliberate volumetric DDoS attacks. These competitor-driven cyberattacks often happened during advertised online events and made it difficult for Blibli customers to complete payment even after putting things in their carts.

The fact that the malicious bots also strained Blibli‘s hosting infrastructure, hoarded inventory, skewed expenses with unusually high off-peak traffic volumes, and increased bandwidth costs were other serious challenges.

This eventually led to Blibli losing revenue and brand reputation. Deciding to take action, the ecommerce platform used a CDN solution to improve security and governance over its internal infrastructure and exercise granular control over employee access.

This simple move led to several favorable results for Blibli. It automatically mitigated DDoS attacks, ensuring its ecommerce and payment gateway services were online for all major promotions and events. Unwanted bot traffic was also removed, reducing bandwidth and computing costs by 35%.

Quick Tips to Improve Ecommerce Security Today

Delivering a secure shopping experience isn’t a one-time process. It involves regular maintenance and inspection routines, as well as additional inspections around platform patches, plugin updates, and code changes.

Here are a few quick tips to immediately enhance your website’s security:

Don’t Store Credit/Debit Card Information

While implementing office ticketed e-commerce security and inclusion techniques and tools are necessary, nothing beats common sense.

Avoid credit and debit card information leaks in the easiest possible way—by not storing them. Storing credit card numbers and customer names facilitates faster payment, but it isn’t necessary to keep them on online servers. Additionally, storing such sensitive information violates PCI standards.

Losing this information not only compromises your online store’s reputation but also puts financial institutions and companies at risk.

Alternatively, you can use payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe. Doing this will shift the responsibility on these platforms, and as they have high-end security protocols, you’re assured of better security compared to conventional ecommerce.

Pick a Secure Web Host and Ecommerce Website Builder

Invest in a reliable ecommerce website builder that ensures the highest degree of data security for your website and shoppers.

You’ll find plenty of solutions for your ecommerce platform needs, and while some of them do have in-built security features, few don’t. Wix, for instance, has 50+ secure payment providers, all meeting Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance standards. A TLS 1.3 encryption further protects data, keeping it safe from unauthorized eyes.

Try to choose a solution that’s both a secure platform and a web host. To save you from the hard work, we’ve compiled a list of the best ecommerce website builders on the market.

See our top picks to make the right choice.

In addition to finding providers with built-in security protocols and benefits, make sure you get an SSL certificate too. It’ll encrypt all the data between your website and the user’s web browser, making it only visible to you and the user—and no one else. An SSL certification is also mandatory for all ecommerce websites under the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard.

Perform Regular SQL Checks

SQL injection is possible in any user input form on your website. Regularly check your website for these vulnerabilities to ensure its safety.

Based on the platform you choose, you’ll find several software tools that can help you monitor and protect your e-commerce site from these injections. Free site scanners also carry out the same tasks but are sure you read reviews and only download from trusted vendors.

Regardless of your tool of choice, ensure to run daily checks on your website’s security. This will help you detect and eliminate any vulnerabilities before someone else finds them and decides to take advantage.

Long-Term Strategies for Ecommerce Security

In this section, we’ll look at some of the more nuanced strategies you can implement to improve your ecommerce security.

Implement Website Hardening Measures

Implementing hardening measures will make your website safer. It involves disabling unnecessary features and adding additional layers of protection to areas that are commonly targeted by cybercriminals.

The following are some of the most critical hardening measures you must implement to improve site security:

Limit Login Attempts

Website login pages are a commonly targeted area for cybercriminals. Often they use brute force attacks to try and guess your login credentials and break into your site. So if you give them an unlimited number of attempts to log in, they’ll ultimately succeed in doing exactly that.

Luckily, you can bypass these attacks by limiting the number of login attempts a user can make on your online store. If they don’t enter the correct password, allow them to select the ‘Forget password‘ option to recover their password.

This will block hackers or bots from trying to guess credentials by making several attempts.

Change Security Keys

If you want to make logging in more convenient for buyers, encrypt and store all login credentials so that even if any cybercriminal manages to get access, they can’t understand the data. 

If you use WordPress, you may already know it uses security keys (random variables that contain your admin panel username and password) and salts (help enhance the encryption further) to encrypt data. This also means that if a hacker steals your security keys and salts, they can decrypt all data and hack into your account. It’s best to periodically replace old security keys and salts to avoid this situation.

Enforce Strong Passwords for Shoppers

You probably have multiple users who contribute to managing and maintaining the site. Hackers know this and use brute force attacks to try and guess login credentials. If your users use easy-to-guess passwords, it’ll be easier for them to gain access and take over their accounts.

To keep hackers from brute-forcing their way into their accounts, make it mandatory for users (and customers) to set strong passwords that align with password best practices.

While you cannot contact each customer and teach them about website security, you can enforce these security requirements directly on your website, asking them to select a strong password while setting up their account.

Ensure the password meets specific requirements like a minimum character limit, a combination of symbols and numbers, and using both uppercase and lowercase letters.

Take Real-Time Backups

Securing your ecommerce data is essential for your ecommerce business’s success. Otherwise, you put yourself at the risk of losing purchase orders and customer information.

Many ecommerce sellers rely on their web hosts to take backups; others do it manually. The problem is that these options aren’t customized for ecommerce websites—web hosting providers take backups only once daily and manual backups are simply time-consuming. What you need is a solution that automatically backs up every change made to your site right away.

The most convenient way to backup your data is by using a plugin on your ecommerce website. Various options allow you to restore any deleted items, sync inventory levels, and save things from inventory, customers, orders, and product images, among other changes.

Educate Customers About Ecommerce Security

Keeping your customer’s information safe is your responsibility. While you cannot continuously monitor your customer’s activity and tell them how to set up a secure account, you can enforce standard security features like strong password requirements and two-factor authentication (2FA).

2FA provides users with an extra layer of security, which is particularly important when you have accounts that deal with sensitive data. It prevents other users from getting access to your account without knowing your login credentials and having physical access to your smartphone.

While it may feel like overkill for ecommerce sites at a time, 2FA makes all your customers safe from cyberattacks.

Next Steps

Now that you know the best tips and strategies for safer ecommerce, don’t waste any time.

Implement the required safeguards and protocols to protect your business and consumers from online threats. You can also check out our article on general website security for more guidelines. Don’t risk it—take ecommerce security seriously so that you and your customers stay safe today and tomorrow.

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