Whether you are hoping to sell physical products or services through your start-up business, the internet offers a huge wealth of opportunity for bringing in revenue. Therefore, so many businesses have invested heavily in an eCommerce company website, a digital marketing strategy to bring visitors to the website and convert them into customers. While eCommerce websites do offer a simple and effective selling platform, there is more to setting them up than meets the eye. If your business’ eCommerce website is not created securely, you may be leaving both your customers and your business open to attacks from cybercriminals.
1. Use a secure website host
When you ask customers to enter their personal and financial information into your site, you are taking on a lot of responsibility. You need to ensure that customer data and transactions are stored confidentially on the server by choosing a secure website host. The server or host is where the website ‘lives’ so it’s important to choose a secure option which can be easily scaled up or down to meet your changing business needs.
2. Encrypt your system
In addition to using a secure website host, you also need to ensure that a cybercriminal cannot intercept customer data by enabling a secure socket layer (SSL) protection on your website. The SSL certificate encrypts all data moving between the website server and the customer’s browser. The SSL certificate protects customer data from being intercepted via the browser, but cybercriminals can still attack your system from the back end, so you should also be using encryption tools on your servers and databases. Even if the data is stolen, it won’t be usable as it will be encoded.
3. Carry out regular testing for vulnerabilities
Vulnerabilities in your website’s security could leave the door open for a cybercriminal to gain access. It’s not enough to wait and see if your security is breached – this could spell operational downtime, financial and reputational losses or even the end of your business.
You need to be proactively looking for your weaknesses, so you can fix them before an attack takes place. This is called penetration testing and is best carried out regularly by an external company specializing in MSSP cyber security. They will try to hack into your system as a criminal would to identify weaknesses and tell you how to fix them. These companies can also provide security monitoring which will detect unusual activity or attempted attacks before they cause damage so you can take steps to prevent them.
4. Make sure you are compliant with privacy laws
Online privacy is a big topic all over the world and businesses which do not take care of their customer data diligently face severe consequences. In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was passed in Europe. If your website is open to European users, you need to be compliant with the GDPR, including obtaining explicit consent to send them marketing materials and keeping them informed about how their data is stored and shared. If you are found to in breach of GDPR, you could face hefty financial penalties.
5. Back-up your business data
Unfortunately, cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways to attack websites, and it’s not always possible to prevent them. Make sure you put in place a strategy for backing up your data securely so that in the event of a data loss, you can retrieve vital information for your business.