E-commerce sites are important for startup businesses who want to establish and promote their brand. They provide 24/7 access to buyers and enable quick online sales. Although online shopping offers a huge potential for small to midsize businesses to grow, e-commerce websites are also vulnerable to cybercrime and online fraud.
So what are the best ways to protect an e-commerce store from fraud and hackers? Business owners should choose a secure e-commerce platform, use data encryption, utilize HTTPS, avoid storing sensitive user data, use a website monitor, have strong passwords, keep the system updated, educate employees about cybersecurity, and know the different signs of fraud and hacking to maintain the e-commerce website’s security at all times.
How to Protect Your E-Commerce Site from Hackers and Frauds
Since most people prefer to do their shopping online, it’s a good opportunity for small to midsize businesses to start building their brand and promoting their products using e-commerce websites. Setting up an online store is also easy thanks to the tons of guides and how-to’s found online.
However, as quick as it is for business owners to set up a site for their business, it’s also easy for them to fall victim to fraud and hacking. According to the 2019 FTC Report, there were about 1.4 million reported fraud reports in the country in 2018 alone. This was a huge increase in the number of fraudulent cases from the previous years.
Despite all of these cyber threats, many start-up businesses still take the risk to use e-commerce sites and put their brand out there. If you’re interested in creating an online store for your products or services, here are some of the best ways to keep it safe from frauds and hackers:
- Choose a Secure E-Commerce Platform
Most people choose an e-commerce platform based on the range of design, convenience, and functionality. However, the security features are also something important to consider when looking for a good e-commerce platform for the business. Make sure to check if the program or platform has solid authentication protocols, SSL certificates, and encrypted payment gateways to ensure both the buyer’s and the seller’s safety.
Cloud-based security platforms are great for start-up businesses because they provide automation tools and machine learning features to strengthen the cybersecurity system. Another important thing to consider is how often the platforms update and patch the vulnerabilities in their system.
Opening a seller account on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce is a common and safe practice. Businesses pay for these platforms to help build the store and take care of security problems. They monitor all the stores they’re hosting and deploy immediate solutions to small security issues before they develop into huge problems.
- Use Data Encryption
All kinds of information that a buyer puts into the website need to be encrypted. This includes credit card information, phone numbers, email addresses, and other personal information that hackers might use to steal their identity. These are also the kinds of information that many criminals use for phishing attacks. Phishing refers to a cyber attack wherein a criminal pretends to be a representative of a legitimate company and asks for sensitive and personal information.
An SSL (secure socket layer) certificate assures customers about the online transactions they have. It’s also a sign that the website or platform you’re using is authenticated and secured. Having an SSL certificate keeps personal information secure and lessens fraudulent purchases, which is why more e-commerce platforms and search engines have adopted one.
- Use HTTPS
HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is one of the best ways to secure a website from fraud. It’s an online protocol for safe and secure connections on the internet. Sites that use HTTPS have a green lock in their address bar to show that it’s secure and authentic. It also means that the site is what it claims to be and not a fake one that hackers use to gain access to credit card information and other credentials.
Another advantage that HTTPS sites have is that they place higher in the Google search ranking. But before enabling the HTTPS in a website, the owners need to acquire an SSL certificate first. Many e-commerce website hosts sell SSL certificates, but it’s better to search for other third-party vendors to find a better deal with more security capabilities that the business might need.
- Avoid Storing Sensitive User Data
Regardless of the size of their business, owners should think of a way to keep the customer’s privacy and personal data safe. Consumer information and privacy are important in e-commerce since sellers use them to improve product offerings and communications. However, these kinds of information are also the primary target of hackers.
Cybercriminals can’t steal information that isn’t there so make sure to avoid asking customers for additional information that isn’t needed for a transaction. For credit card information, email addresses, home addresses, and other personal information make sure they’re secure outside of online servers.
If certain sensitive information has to be stored, ensure that they’re protected at all times in a safe online repository. It should have total data encryption to prevent theft or other kinds of cyberattacks. Backing up all important data into the cloud helps businesses recover quickly in case of sudden data loss or cyberattacks.
- Use a Website Monitor
Businesses who use established e-commerce websites don’t need to worry much about website monitoring tool sets. This feature is already part of the basic package when they sign up to open an account. But for those who host their own e-commerce sites, it’s time to start looking for robust website monitoring tools to keep the website running smoothly and securely. Some of the best third-party monitoring tools for e-commerce sites are New Relic and LogicMonitor.
Website monitoring and analytics tools are also the virtual equivalents of having security cameras installed in a physical store. Some software even allows owners to see how visitors navigate through the website and interact with some of the features. They also send alerts to the manager’s phone when there’s suspicious activity to prevent it from developing into a bigger problem.
- Ensure that Everyone Uses Strong Passwords
Passwords are the most commonly used “keys” to access different software, sites, and accounts. They’re needed for just about every website on the internet, which is why most people only use a single combination for most of their online accounts. However, the biggest danger of using a single password for everything is that hackers only need one to access multiple websites and accounts.
Password managers are the best solution for people who find it hard to remember a dozen combinations or are too lazy to come up with a strong one. In addition to complex passwords, two-factor authentication (2FA) is also another secure way to confirm the identity of the person seeking access to a website or account.
- Keep the System Updated
Hackers exploit all the vulnerabilities in a system, website, or software to gain access to sensitive information about a business. They’re great at finding bugs and other openings, which is why it’s important to keep the system updated with the latest version available.
Updating provides better security and functionality for most sites because it patches up the vulnerabilities and fixes the bugs. Most e-commerce sites release regular patch updates, so make sure to get them as soon as possible to minimize the risk of cyberattacks to the online shop.
- Educate Employees About Online Theft and Security Measures
Even with the best cybersecurity systems in place, hackers still manage to infiltrate secure networks by finding the weakest link – which are most often the employees using the same system.
Employees should be aware of different cyberattacks that might affect the business to avoid falling for scams and malicious content. They should also be taught about the different ways that hackers might use, such as email, text, or voicemail to gain access to sensitive business and customer data. The different policies and laws that affect customer data should also be part of their employee training and education.
- Know the Different Signs of Fraud and Hacking
Cybercriminals are sneaky when it comes to committing fraud. Most cybersecurity measures aren’t perfect, which is why there’s still a small fraction of malware that gets through the system undetected. It’s important for people to recognize the signs of fraud and hacking to avoid falling for one.
Since most phishing scams follow the same pattern, regularly checking usernames, domain names, customer order history, and geographic fraud trends make it easier for users to identify fraudulent accounts. Through training, education, and experience, users eventually see the connection between these kinds of information that are used for scamming.
Protect Your E-Commerce Store Using the Abacus Advantage
Business owners can rest easy and focus on running their business if they hire a trusted IT solutions provider to take care of their e-commerce store’s cybersecurity system. Here at Abacus, we have a team of highly experienced engineers and support personnel who work together to create a comprehensive security system and protect your business.
With over 15 years of experience in the industry, Abacus has already provided different kinds of IT solutions at the right price to different businesses. Get in touch with us today to find out the best way to grow your business online without worrying about cyber threats.