Essential Strategies for Keeping Your E-Commerce Site Secure
As factors such as speed and convenience continue to drive consumer behaviour, the e-commerce market is well and truly thriving. Indeed, an e-commerce website is not only an essential aspect of running a bricks-and-mortar store, but also a highly profitable standalone business. That said, e-commerce success relies heavily on being able to provide an exceptional user experience, and this depends on a whole host of factors. From excellent web design to top-quality products, there are plenty of things to consider when setting up shop online. The top priority, however, should be security, and online retailers have a responsibility to protect their customers at all costs. To ensure that safety concerns do not thwart your chances of online success, here are some fundamental steps you can take to secure your e-commerce site and gain consumer trust.
Select a secure e-commerce platform
First and foremost, choosing your e-commerce platform with security in mind can give you a head start when it comes to creating a safe online shop. Opt for a package that uses PCI-compliant payment gateways and, as discussed later on, site-wide SSL security. Your chosen platform should also have a secured checkout page as well as a session timeout function, which will automatically log users out after a certain period of inactivity. Further tips for choosing the right e-commerce package can be found here.
Set high password standards
One of the most effective ways you can help your customers to shop safely online is by insisting on strong passwords. We are all guilty of sometimes using the same password for multiple accounts, or picking something easy that won’t be difficult to remember. However, what’s easy for us is also easy for cyber crooks – and extremely problematic from a security perspective. Whilst you can’t stop users from repeating a password they’ve used before, you can set certain requirements that ensure a minimum level of complexity. Enforce a minimum number of both upper and lowercase letters, and make it so that all passwords must contain at least one number and one special character.
Protect against DoS attacks
DoS attacks are a very real threat to e-commerce as they can effectively prevent genuine customers from accessing your site. DoS stands for “denial of service,” and a DoS attack constitutes deliberately inundating a site with more requests than it can handle, to the point where it is unable to respond. A mitigation service works by filtering traffic as it comes to your website, ensuring that the requests are coming from real human beings rather than bots. This can help to prevent large-scale attacks that could be potentially disastrous for your business. Take a look at this article from the 1&1 digital guide for more information on attack patterns and available countermeasures.
Use an SSL protection layer
Collecting sensitive customer data is all part and parcel of the e-commerce industry – from credit card details to both email and physical addresses. It is therefore crucial to keep such data as safe as possible, and this is where SSL comes in. An SSL – or Secure Socket Layer – encrypts sensitive information as it travels from point A (the customer) to point B (you), making it harder for outsiders to intercept. SSL is pretty much the norm when it comes to online shopping, and most customers will look out for the tell-tale padlock sign in their browser, so it’s as much about remaining competitive as it is about keeping user data safe. What’s more, SSL protection may even give your site an SEO boost – yet another reason to make security your utmost priority!