Author: Meghan Sheerin
The importance of cybersecurity in modern e-commerce cannot be overstated, especially when a company like Equifax finds itself on the business end of hackers’ intentions. Personal information for some 145.5 million people was exposed due to a simple security oversight. We’re talking birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, 209,000 credit card numbers, and, worst of all, Social Security numbers. This last category means just under 50 percent of the U.S. population may have had their crucial secret identifier exposed.
How are we supposed to trust anything online after that?
Trust is a must
Meanwhile, an aura of trustworthiness is one of the key factors customers look for when they access an e-commerce venue for the first time. To this end, there are several steps you can take to telegraph the security of your site to customers.
For instance, installing an SSL certificate will tell visitors their transactions are encrypted and less likely to be visible while in transit between their device and your servers. The green padlock in the address bar and the accompanying lock-sign tells users they can feel more secure about the private information they share on your website.
Securing your site
One of the most important things you can do to protect your e-commerce platform is to ingrain within your employees a sense of urgency surrounding security. In far too many cases, careless employees have introduced spyware or malware to an organization’s network. Opening suspicious emails and clicking links within them is the most common method of infection. The other area in which your employees need to be trained is maintaining robust passwords.
The best ones are made up of six or more characters using a mix of letters, numbers, and unique symbols. Further, whenever new applications or peripherals are introduced to your network, the manufacturer’s default passwords should be changed immediately. Another key measure is implementing software updates as soon as they become available. Regularly probing your system for weaknesses and shoring them up whenever they are found should be a standard operating procedure as well.
Hosting matters too
Your site is only as secure as the server on which it resides. When you’re just starting out, you might be tempted to save some cash by residing your site on a shared server. However, in that instance, your site is only as secure as the least secure site on the server. It’s like being hospitalized in a quarantined ward in the hospital when you’re there for only a minor procedure. If the germ is in the room, it’s probably going to find its way into your body. A private server is always your best option. If you can’t afford a private server, your next best choice is a virtual private server.
Hackers are lazy-ish
Hackers tend to go after low-hanging fruit, so if your e-commerce site is secured with the latest encryption and protected by a robust system of near impossible-to-crack passwords, it will likely send most cybercriminals looking for easier pickings. In other words, the more effort you put into securing your site, the less likely it is to be targeted.
The importance of cybersecurity, one of the key arbiters of e-store success, in modern e-commerce must constantly be underscored. Bearing the above advice in mind as you establish your e-commerce business will benefit both you and the industry at large.
For more on data security, see From Job Loss To Jail Sentences, Data Protection And Privacy Is No Joke.