In the midst of the e-commerce revolution, entrepreneurs and business leaders are finding themselves enjoying immense success with their online business ventures, but also dreading the exponentially increasing risks associated with running a digital store. A simple firewall and a dedicated server platform are no longer enough to keep zealous hackers and scammers at bay, as attested by the fact that 54% of companies in 2018 alone have experienced one or more successful cyber-attacks. This is a worrying statistic.
It means that cyber-attacks are not only becoming increasingly common, but that they are evolving as well in order to exploit sensitive data (your customers’ personal information) and thus put your entire business in jeopardy. Needless to say, one major breach could result in your brand losing the trust of all its customers. Here to help you avoid such a scenario are the five best cybersecurity practices for your e-commerce business.
Start by asking for strong(er) passwords
Believe it or not, even though humanity has managed to launch numerous probes into outer space (and one car), and even though AI is slowly beating us at every turn, a strong account password is still one of the most effective security tools you can use to deter cybercriminals. That’s right, your favorite GoT quote or your dog’s birthday can be enough to stop a malicious attack dead in its tracks, which is why asking your customers to make strong passwords from the get-go should be your first order of business.
Yes, creating a strong password involving numerals, symbols, and special characters (people are still not sure what that means) is a chore, and no, nobody wants to remember theirs, but you should nevertheless enforce this rule if you want to keep your customers happy down the road. Be sure to explain why you need them to create such a password and encourage them to use Google’s Smart Lock and similar systems to make the entire process easy and stress-free.
Collect only the relevant data
There is a reason why many companies prefer to ask their customers for extensive personal information – more info on an individual means greater industry insights you can later use to your advantage. Although immensely valuable in the hands of a skilled marketing guru, it becomes even more valuable in the hands of an identity thief. This is why it’s a safer and far better practice to limit the amount of data you’re requesting to the bare essentials.
Storing excessive data on your server means you’re in higher risk of ending up in jail should this information fall into the wrong hands – just remember what happened to the CEO of Facebook. While Mr. Zuckerberg didn’t end up behind bars, you can imagine what would happen if your e-commerce website’s security systems got breached.
Get your house in order
Another important element of cybersecurity is actually surrounding yourself with the people you fully trust, and of course, entrusting sensitive data to skilled professionals who not only know how to handle it, but would never put your company in jeopardy by selling information to cybercriminals. Believe it or not, these people are not easy to come by, especially if you’re hiring individual freelancers.
It’s a good idea, therefore, to have an entire team of people on your side, preferably coming to you with recommendations from agencies and trusted sources in the industry. Be sure to scrutinize every team member mercilessly before letting them join your company, in order to make sure they can be trusted. This way, you will effectively prevent any organizational leaks well in advance. Also, reward your trusty employees by using perks of universal gift card. When doing this, make sure that you are teaming up with a company that you can trust.
Set up a strong security system
Speaking of your security system, in the e-commerce world, there can be no room for error or lack of control. While your server does have its own security protocols, it’s not enough to shield you from potential cyber-attacks down the road. As a growth-oriented e-commerce business, you want to be looking into stronger solutions such as managed security that will allow you to lock away sensitive data, perform vulnerability scans, and run everything from a secure centralized location.
This also means that your IT team needs to be top-notch, comprised of skillful individuals who not only know where to look for the signs of an impending attack, but how to set up your firewall for maximum security. Remember, strong passwords will only get you so far in the wake of growing cyber-crime rates.
Keep your customers informed
Finally, your customers deserve to be informed about the possible risks of leaving personal info on your website, but also about the security measures you have implemented to keep the data secure. Transparency and open communication are the keywords you want to follow, as they will help you create a trusting bond with your audience, and at the same time educate them on how to protect their own data when surfing the web.
Cybersecurity has become a serious issue in the wake of the digital revolution and the staggering popularization of online shopping across the globe. Entrepreneurs and CEOs should, now more than ever before, strive to implement stricter security measures in order to protect their customers’ data, and subsequently save their business from what would surely be a catastrophic scenario.