5 Ways to Secure your eCommerce Website

Starting an online store is all about building your brand. If you grow your business correctly, you'll establish credibility, brand exposure, and improved sales. An eCommerce website is any domain that chooses to sell goods or services online through any platform. These can be physical items or online services. If there is payment made through the domain for either of these items, you not only have a company, you have an eCommerce company.

Many entrepreneurs believe that creating an eCommerce platform is effortless. Simply purchase the domain, add the products, and start selling. What the majority of online businesses fail to consider, however, is the security of your eCommerce platform.

With the proper security, you’ll limit the potential risk of compromised information. This means a lower risk of data theft, fraud, or identity theft. Stolen sales also decrease your overall revenue long-term, harming your business too. The damage from a compromised website can be irreversible. Having to deal with chargebacks, angry customers, and social media attention isn’t a way to win business. Once the word gets out that your company doesn’t safeguard their customer sales, business is over.

Who needs to protect their website from attack?

Anyone that owns a website and sells products online needs to increase their security. It doesn’t matter that you’re a small business with minimal sales. In fact, small businesses are at a higher risk of attack, as they’re often easier to gain access to. Safeguarding your website, your investment, and your customer data isn’t complicated or expensive.

Here are five ways to secure your eCommerce website:

1. Limit Your Account Access Online

It doesn’t matter if you have one employee or one thousand; any individual with access to the backend of your website could potentially compromise the site’s security. Account theft isn’t always from outside malware; it occasionally occurs within a company registrar. To lower the likelihood of an in-house attack (an employee stealing, selling, or deliberately accessing authorized content), always perform a free background check before giving access.

A background check will give you a snapshot of the person’s financial, personal, and criminal history, highlighting potential areas of concern. For example, if you happen to notice an employee has past fraud convictions, deny access to any sensitive information. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that anyone running the customer account (or financial area) has a solid credit report. It may not entirely protect your business from internal theft or fraud, but it can limit the potential for security breaches.

2. Get an SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate is known as a Secure Sockets Layer. It adds a built-in security system to your website, encrypting data away from prying eyes. This encryption makes the data shared unreadable (also not something they can steal) to everyone but the business owner and customer. All eCommerce websites must have an SSL certificate under the PCI Data Security Standard.

All merchants with an eCommerce site need to comply with the PCI Security Standards. They guarantee that businesses are protecting their customers from fraud and identity theft. Users can identify websites with an SSL certificate through the HTTPS designation as well as the lock at the end of the browser. While some companies offer SSL certificates for minimal cost (or free), purchasing this should be done through your hosting provider. Many third-party websites will take the account information and intentionally use this information in a negative manner. Additionally, using SSL symbols or images without the certificate is a dangerous game. It leaves your customers open to identity theft, fraud, or other hacking attempts.

3. Ensure you have an eCommerce platform and Secure Web Hosting

Not all hosting is created equally, especially when you’ve got an online shop. Many hosting providers offer eCommerce solutions, but that doesn’t guarantee a secure platform. It’s always a great idea to shop around for a while before committing to a hosting provider. Contact each company and ask them about the various security measures they have in place for their customers. Things like SQL injections and malware are common causes of compromised accounts; get a feel for their understanding of these threats.

4. Keep the Website Backed Up and Up-to-date

Hackers are going to attack websites that have vulnerabilities or weak spots of entry. Once these vulnerabilities are exposed, web developers (or theme developers) will work to bring a patch or fix to the website. These patches are essential for continued security and stability overall. Continuously monitor the website or theme for updates. Likewise, if you’re hosting through WordPress, ensure your FTP is updated and current. Some platforms require users to update the system, meaning without regular monitoring manually, your site could be compromised without realizing it.

Admittedly, having a current backup of your website does nothing to improve your website’s security; it does ensure that any attack you may face in the future may be minimal in damages. Having a backup will ensure that your information stays with your company. It won’t be corrupt, held for ransom, or lost indefinitely. This can save you hours of work trying to redevelop your website in the future. Always make sure that any backup on the site is not saved in the exact location of your hosting. An outside third-party website offers greater security and a minimal likelihood of both files becoming corrupt.

5. Consider Purchasing a Website Application Firewall

When you’re trying to ensure everything about your eCommerce site is secure, using a website application firewall (WAF) can help do exactly that. It’s designed to protect your website from SQL injections, forgery requests, Xss, and any attempted hacking. Brute force attacks can also be prevented. It can also reduce any risk of DDoS or DoS attacks.

These applications are web-based, putting a shield between the internet and the WAF. This means that your website will be protected from malicious web traffic by filtering out the negative and only bringing genuine traffic to your site. If the traffic is deemed unsafe, the WAF prevents entry to the server, which prevents site access.

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