Ecommerce revenue worldwide amounts to more than 1.7 trillion US dollars, in the year 2018 alone. And the growth is expected to increase furthermore.
However, with growth comes new challenges. One such problem is cybersecurity. In 2017, there were more than 88 million attacks on eCommerce businesses. And a significant portion includes small businesses.
Moreover, online businesses take a lot of days to recover from the attacks. Some businesses completely shut down due to the aftermath of the security breaches.
So, if you are a small business, it is essential to ensure the safety and security of your eCommerce site. Else, the risks pose a potential threat to your online business.
Here we discuss some basics to ensure proper security to your eCommerce site.
Add an SSL certificate
An SSL Certificate ensures that the browser displays a green padlock or in a way shows to the site visitors that they are safe; and that their data is protected with encryption during the transmission.
To enable or enforce an SSL certificate on your site, you should enable HTTPS—secured version of HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)—across your website.
In general, HTTP is the protocol web browsers use to display web pages.
So, HTTPS and SSL certificates work hand in hand. Moreover, one is useless without the other.
However, you have to buy an SSL certificate that suits your needs. Buying a wrong SSL certificate would do no good for you.
Several types of SSL certificates are available based on the functionality, validation type, and features.
Some common SSL certificates based on the type of verification required are:
- Domain Validation SSL Certificate: This SSL certificate is issued after validating the ownership of the domain name.
- Organization Validation SSL Certificate: This SSL certificate additionally requires you to verify your business organization. The added benefit is it gives the site visitors or users some more confidence. Moreover, small online businesses should ideally opt for this type of SSL certificate.
- Extended Validation SSL Certificate: Well, this type of SSL certificate requires you to undergo more rigorous checks. But when someone visits your website, the address bar in the browser displays your brand name. It indicates users that you’re thoroughly vetted and highly trustworthy.
Here are some SSL certificate types based on the features and functionality.
- Single Domain SSL Certificate: This SSL certificate can be used with one and only one domain name.
- Wildcard SSL Certificate: This SSL certificate covers the primary and all the associated subdomains.
Every subdomain along with the primary domain example.com will be covered under a single wildcard SSL certificate.
- Multi-Domain SSL Certificate: One single SSL certificate can cover multiple primary domains. The maximum number of domains covered depends on the SSL certificate vendor your purchase the certificate from. Typically, a Multi-Domain SSL Certificate can support up to 200 domain names.
Nowadays, making your business site secure with SSL certificate is a must. Otherwise, Google will punish you. Yes, Google ranks sites with HTTPS better than sites using no security.
However, if you are processing online payments on your site, then SSL security is essential. Otherwise, bad actors will misuse your customer information such as credit card details, eventually leading to identity theft and fraudulent activities.
Use a firewall
In general, a firewall monitors incoming and outgoing traffic on your servers, and it helps you to block certain types of traffic—which may pose a threat—from interacting or compromising your website servers.
Firewalls are available in both virtual and physical variants. And it depends on the type of environment you have in order to go with a specific firewall type.
Many eCommerce sites use something called a Web Application Firewall (WAF).
On top of a typical network firewall, a WAF gives more security to a business site. And it can safeguard your website from various types of known security attacks.
So, putting up a basic firewall is essential. Moreover, using a Web Application Firewall (WAF) is really up to the complexity of the website or application you have put up.
Protect your site from DDoS attacks
A type of attack used to bring your site down by sending huge amounts of traffic is nothing but denial-of-service-attack. In this attack, your site will be bombarded with spam requests in a volume that your website can’t handle. And the site eventually goes down, putting a service disruption to the normal/legitimate users.
However, it is easy to identify a denial-of-service-request, because too many requests come from only one source. And by blocking that source using a Firewall, you can defend your business site.
However, hackers have become smart and highly intelligent. They usually compromise various servers or user computers across the globe. And using those compromised sources, hackers will send massive amounts of requests. This type of advanced denial-of-service attack is known as distributed-denial-of-service-attack. Or simply put a DDoS attack.
When your site is attacked using DDoS, a common Firewall is not enough; because a firewall can only defend you from bad or malicious requests. But in DDoS, all requests can be good by the definition of the Firewall, but they overwhelm your website servers.
Some advanced Web Application Firewalls (WAF) can help you mitigate the risks of DDoS attacks.
Also, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can detect them and stop the attacks from hitting your website servers. So, contact your ISP and get help from them on how they can protect your site from DDoS attacks.
If you need a fast and straightforward way to secure your website from distributed-denial-of-service attacks, services like Cloud Secure from Webscale Networks is a great option.
In the end, it is better to have strategies in place to mitigate DDoS attacks. Otherwise, your business site may go down and can damage your reputation—which is quite crucial in the eCommerce world.
Get malware protection
A Malware is a computer program that can infect your website and can do malicious activities on your servers.
If your site is affected by Malware, there are a number of dangers your site can run into. Or, the user data stored on your servers might get compromised.
So, scanning your website regularly for malware detection is essential. Symantec Corporation provides malware scanning and removal tools. These tools can help your site stay safe from various kinds of malware.
If you are storing any user or business related data, it is best to store the data in encrypted form, on your servers.
If the data is not encrypted, and when there is a data breach, a hacker can easily use the data—which may include confidential information like credit card details, social security number, etc. But when the data is encrypted, it is much hard to misuse as the hacker needs to gain access to the decryption key.
However, you can use a tokenization system. In which, the sensitive information is replaced with a non-sensitive data called token.
When tokenization implemented, it renders the stolen data useless. Because the hacker cannot access the Tokenization system, which is the only component that can give access to sensitive information. Anyhow, your tokenization system should be implemented and isolated properly.
Use strong passwords
Use strong passwords that are at least 15 character length for your sites’ admin logins. And when you are remotely accessing your servers, use SSH key-based logins wherever possible. SSH key-based logins are proven to be more secure than password-based logins.
Not only you, urge your site users and customers to use strong password combinations. Moreover, remind them to change their password frequently. Plus, notify them about any phishing scams happening on your online business name.
For example, bad actors might send emails to your customers giving lucrative offers. And when a user clicks on the email, he will be redirected to a site that looks like yours, but it is a phishing site. And when payment details are entered, the bad actor takes advantage and commits fraudulent activities with the stolen payment info.
So, it is important to notify your user base about phishing scams and make your customers knowledgeable about cybersecurity.
Avoid public Wi-Fi networks
When you are working on your business site or logging into your servers, avoid public wifi networks. Often, these networks are poorly maintained on the security front. And they can become potential holes for password leaks.
However, public wifi networks can be speedy. So, when you cannot avoid using a public wifi network, use VPN services like ProtonVPN, CyberGhost VPN, TunnelBear VPN, etc, to mitigate the potential risks.
Keep your software update
To run an online business, you have to use various software components, from server OS to application middleware and frameworks.
Ensure that all these components are kept up to date timely and apply the patches as soon as they are available. Often these patches include performance improvements and security updates.
Some business owners might feel that this is a tedious process. But remember, one successful cyber attack has the potential to push you out of business for several days, if not entirely.
In this 21st century, web technology is growing and changing rapidly. So do the hackers from the IT underworld.
The steps mentioned above are necessary. But we cannot guarantee that they are sufficient. Moreover, each business case is different. You always have to keep yourself up to date. And it would help if you took care of your online business security from time to time. Failing which can make your business site a victim of cyber attacks.