Cybersecurity Best Practices for an e-Commerce Website
Recent decades have seen tremendous growth in online activities, including online shopping, thanks to the evolution of technology and e-commerce platforms. This growth was only accelerated by COVID-19 – the pandemic led many businesses, in an effort to stay connected with customers, to shift from traditional in-person communication and service to digital solutions. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018 survey revealed a key finding of around 98% of all businesses rely on some form of digital communication or service. Although an online presence brings various advantages to e-commerce businesses, it also brings its challenges – it increases the risk of security breaches and exposes your business to cyber threats, such as different types of malware, denial of service attacks, network attacks, and other cyber incidents that can affect your internal systems.
Post-pandemic, more customers are turning to e-commerce websites, but, as the number of online users continues to increase, one major concern is cyber security. Website security can no longer be treated as a second thought or a tedious task – security controls for your e-commerce website are necessary for business continuity, even for small businesses.
To address these cyber risks, there are several things you can do, including investing in security tools, such as antivirus software, training your staff to identify potential threats, such as spear phishing attacks and suspicious emails, and introducing internal compliance standards and regulations that employees must follow. As well as this, taking out a Cyber Liability Insurance policy can minimise business disruption in the event of a cyber attack. In addition to these steps, here are some other ways you can minimise security flaws and protect your e-commerce business from malicious cyber events.
How To Prevent Cyber Attacks: Cyber Security Solutions For e-Commerce Businesses
Use Secure HTTPS
HTTPS is the secure form of http. Without getting too technical, the difference between http and https is that https includes an SSL certificate that converts data being sent to and from your website into code, preventing unauthorised access from cyber criminals. A cyber breach can give hackers access to sensitive customer information – without HTTPS, any sensitive data that customers enter into the site (such as their username, password, bank details, or any other form submission data) will be sent in plaintext and is therefore more easily accessible, hence more likely to be hacked.
Keep Your Website Updated
This is the simplest step, yet many businesses ignore it. It’s great if your website is up and running, but to keep your business secure, it’s crucial to keep your entire website, including plugins, updated to minimise the risk of a cyber attack. Software developers continuously update operating systems to manage security vulnerabilities, so updating your website should be an ongoing process for your business. If you don’t update your site, it can cost you in the long run and result in your site being susceptible to many different types of cyber security attacks. Regularly updating your e-commerce site in terms of content, design and SEO improves performance and keeps features up-to-date. Most importantly though, updates contain online security features and vulnerability repairs, which help to fix any security issues in your website.
Use Secure Passwords
Many e-commerce websites require customers to create personal accounts to purchase products and use their services – these individual customer accounts are a prime target for hackers. In 2020, cyber security professionals found that around 81% of all data breaches were caused by weak passwords. Not all customers are fully aware of the dangers of cyber security, and, though you can’t bring everyone up to speed on best practice, you can apply security procedures when users set up an account on your website. For instance, you can do this through the use of additional authentication factors and password strength meters.
Top tip: Employees who use the content management system of your website can generate a strong password by making it long, using a mix of special characters, numbers and letters.
A website backup can help you recover your website in case of your IT systems being compromised, or any files being overwritten, encrypted or deleted by hackers. The location of your backup is equally important too. Storing your backup on the same server as your website may seem like the easy option, simply for your business convenience. However, this leaves the website vulnerable to attacks. Consider backing up your data to a secure cloud service to protect it from these cyber risks.
So, What Happens If You Don’t Secure Your e-Commerce Website?
Hackers can use your site to infect your visitors with malware. Malware is classified as software that’s developed for a malicious purpose – SEO spam is one of the common types of attacks. If your business is subject to this type of attack, your website is likely to receive an SEO penalty, which makes it difficult for your company to reach new customers. In other words, it creates a sudden drop in Google rankings, making it difficult for visitors to find your business and even purchase from your site. Furthermore, your website can be blacklisted – this is where the search engine removes a site from its list. When a site is blacklisted, it loses almost 95% of its organic traffic, which can rapidly affect revenue – the costs of cyber attacks for some businesses are simply too much to handle.
It’s Time To Take Out A Cyber Insurance Policy
With e-commerce security threats and data breaches now a common reality, Cyber Crime Insurance can protect you from financial loss and other damages. At The Insurance Octopus, we offer specialised Cyber Security Insurance policies, providing protection for your computer systems and data. To learn more about how we can tailor cover for potential cyber security issues or to get answers to questions such as ‘what is Cyber Insurance?’ and ‘what does Cyber Insurance cover?’
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