Protect Your Ecommerce Website with These 5 Tactics

July 7, 2023 | E-Commerce

Your e-commerce website is a valuable target for hackers. With all the financial transactions going on they cannot help themselves. You do not have to let yourself be vulnerable, there are a number of steps that you can take to increase the protection surrounding your e-commerce website.

You must incorporate these ideas early into the design and function of your website to better protect your customers. There are also tactics that you will need to use going forward. Let’s protect your e-commerce website, keep reading.

Do not collect unnecessary data

There are many different options available for accepting payments online. Here are three ideas:

  1. Make sure that your payment processing is PCI-DSS compliant
  2. Encrypted checkout methods which use tokens.
  3. Third party payment processing services.

Perhaps not every single one of your customers wants to use the latter two and instead will pay by credit card. Not all of your customers will want this extra layer/step. If you take the time to explain to them why it is important you may get more of them on your side.

The other side of data collection is to not collect data you don’t need if a third-party is handling it. If you hire someone to handle your credit card data. Let them do it and don’t also store that on your own servers. This applies to all data you collect. The more places there are for the data to be hacked, the more vulnerable it is.

Encrypt as many communications as possible

The e-commerce platform that you are using must have the latest version SSL or TLS protocols. This will encrypt the data being transmitted between customers and the servers. You can get even more protection with EV SSL. No matter what you choose to use you have to continually monitor them and make sure that you are using the latest version.

Make sure that every page on your site is encrypted. Too many people make the mistake of only securing the checkout page. There is information that hackers can steal during the entire process.

If anyone from your company is accessing information remotely they have to use encryption as well. The common tool for this is a VPN app. Your employee will simply connect to it from their computer, get encryption from the tool, then be able to have a secure connection to the server. Companies were the originators of VPNs many decades ago. Now you can use one at a fraction of the cost back then.

Encrypting your hardware

We have to remember that part of our e-commerce site are held on our computers. A hacker gaining access to data from your computer of your e-commerce website is just as dangerous as than gaining access to the website itself. Here is how you were going to stop them:

  1. Requiring a passcode on all of your machines.
  2. Using full disk encryption. There are options for both Mac and Windows.
  3. Enabling lock screens on all mobile devices.
  4. Downloading encryption apps for your mobile devices.

The last point that I looked at, encryption apps, also includes encrypted messaging apps. Your most important messages about Your e-commerce website must only be seen by those they are intended for. Even a free end to end encryption app, such as WhatsApp, will increase the privacy of your e-commerce website when you speak to developers and other invested parties.

Choose the best software platform

There are nearly limitless software choices out there for your e-commerce site. You need to make considerations beyond which looks the best. Security is something you must consider. All of the top software options have good security. You may say that security is part of their success:

  1. Squarespace
  2. WooCommerce
  3. LemonStand
  4. Shopify
  5. Magento

Those are the top e-commerce software options. If you stray too far from that list you better do some homework and make sure that this is an established company. New companies can often be more vulnerable as they have not had the time to iron out all of their issues. Don’t be their guinea pig, and don’t be a victim of a hacker who finds a vulnerability.

Update all software frequently

The most common reason for any piece of software to update is for security reasons. It is impossible to cover every security issue before a product is launched. This applies to every single piece of software you have.

Here are the four main things that you need to be certain are updated as often as possible:

  1. Operating systems
  2. Mobile apps
  3. Unrelated software on your computers
  4. Security software

The Wanna Cry Ransomware attack was caused because the software was not updated. Those that used the available update were not hacked. Those that didn’t have, or make, the time was hacked. It can be difficult to keep up with all these updates, but it’s not as difficult as recovering from a hack.

Research your host

With all of the tips done precisely as they should above, your e-commerce site will still only be as secure as the server which is hosting it. You have three options when it comes to hosting your e-commerce website:

  1. Dedicated hosting
  2. Shared hosting
  3. Virtual dedicated hosting

The preferred option is dedicated hosting rather than shared. This is because shared hosting brings in the risk of other websites which are less secure. If you cannot afford dedicated hosting that virtual dedicated hosting is the next best thing.

Some of the best-dedicated hosting options for you to research include:

  1. HostGator
  2. 1&1 Web Hosting
  3. InMotion Web Hosting

If you cannot afford to go fully dedicated yet, your next best option is a virtual private server. This has many of the same protections as a dedicated server, but with a lower price point. Start with a virtual private server and move to a dedicated server for more protection when you grow.

Making your e-commerce website secure

Even if you do everything above absolutely perfectly you could still be hacked. New website and online vulnerabilities are being discovered every day. You need to keep up to date on them and prepare as well as you can in advance.

You can’t be lazy, you need to be sure that you’re doing the following:

  1. Don’t collect unnecessary data.
  2. Encrypt your communications.
  3. Use encryption on your hardware.
  4. Choosing good platform software.
  5. Updating all of your software frequently.
  6. Researching your host properly.

As much as the tactics above are not a guarantee you will succeed, failing to do them guarantees that you will fail.

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