Cybersecurity For Your eCommerce: Secure Your Online Store In 2024

When you walk into a physical store, many traditional commerce protocols reassure you that you’ll walk out with the product once you pay. You can see the product, hold it in your hand, pay with cash if you don’t want to hand them the card at the register, and once the transaction is done, you just walk out with the product. Everything is simple, straightforward, and streamlined.

Most of these safeguards don’t exist in e-commerce. If someone hasn’t done business with you before, they have to take your word that your products are legit. After all, you have tons of meme pages with people showing the difference between products they ordered and what they got in the mail. Moreover, they are expected to trust you with their financial information before they can even confirm that you’re legit.

This is why you have no wiggle room regarding cybersecurity - especially email security. Here are some steps that you can take to secure your eCommerce store and maintain client trust in 2024.

Why Is Robust Email Security Essential for eCommerce Stores?

Cyber risk is on the rise, with attacks like targeted spear phishing and ransomware becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect. Over 90% of modern cyberattacks begin with a phishing email. eCommerce stores rely heavily on client trust and satisfaction and cannot afford the aftermath of an attack or data breach. Thus, maintaining a robust email security posture is essential for all eCommerce stores. While simple measures like using multi-factor authentication (MFA) for email accounts and antivirus protection on endpoint devices are a great start, implementing a comprehensive cloud email security solution is the best way to ensure that all fraudulent and malicious mail is intercepted and quarantined before it reaches the inbox, mitigating the risk of human error.

What Practical Measures Can I Take to Secure My eCommerce Store?

Practical measures you can take to maintain a robust cybersecurity posture for your eCommerce store  include:

Train your team and insist on a strong password policy from your team.

ecommerceIt doesn’t matter how good your cybersecurity is if your team members (who have access to almost all of your systems). They can just log in, make all the changes they want (to your code), and access all the customer data. This way, they can cause irreparable damage. Why? Because you didn’t instruct your team on how to act. 

First, you need to teach them about a strong password policy. Second, you need to establish strong lines of communication. You don’t want them to use their IG DMs to discuss company matters or share files vital to your e-commerce business. This doesn’t mean they can’t get scammed via company email; doing it this way is harder. Third, you need to spend quite a bit of time warning them about the dangers of phishing.

The key to this training is preparing great onboarding materials, giving as many examples as possible, and even giving them some simulations. Hire a white-hat hacker to send them suspicious links to check if they’ve been paying attention. After all, it’s better to vex them this way than to have them fall for a real phishing scam, the repercussions of which can be dire. 

When it comes to your customers, things are a bit more complex. Ideally, you would teach and instruct them, but the reality is that they have no patience for these things. This means that the only thing you can do is install some digital guardrails so that they don’t fall off when they least expect it.

What do we mean by that?

Well, you need to introduce a strong password requirement. You won’t let them register unless their password fulfills certain criteria. You can also insist on a 2FA (two-factor authentication). 

Hire some help for penetration testing.

excited hacker after breaking government server using supercomputerYou can spend hours building up cybersecurity on your site, but until you test it, you have no idea if it’s done right. This is why you need to do penetration testing over a wide attack surface, allowing you to notice vulnerabilities in your system.

First of all, this is an incredibly demanding task, so no tutorials and even professional tools won’t be enough. You need cybersecurity specialists and white-hat hackers on your team to help you carry out the process.  

This matters because theory will only get you so far. The father of the modern German army, Helmut von Moltke the Elder, once said that no battle plan ever survives the first contact with an enemy. Cybersecurity doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and when you construct some cybersecurity measures, you actually need to see if they hold up under pressure. 

Some are concerned that professional help might cost you quite a bit; however, you need to keep in mind what you’re avoiding. Just think about the potential financial loss from successful attacks and ask yourself whether avoiding them wouldn’t be more than worth the investment. 

Moreover, remember that there are no do-overs. A breach or a leak will ruin your reputation, and patching the bug won’t fix the issue. The damage will already be done. With cybersecurity, you have to learn how to be proactive. 

Knowing where current problems are can also help you map future problems. This will help with your incident response and recovery system quite a bit. 

Choose a secure web host.

The next thing you need to do is pay close attention to your choice of a host. Just think about it: if you were to open up a brick-and-mortar store, you would be very picky when choosing a venue and landlord. You can’t lower your criteria for choosing a website host, which is a virtual world equivalent. 

First, you need to look at the security features offered. This should be in offer (at the forefront of their offer), but you may also want to inquire about various aspects of their offer.

Second, you need to ask about the data center security. Check their reputation online and read about other data centers in that region.

Uptime and reliability are not directly tied to your cybersecurity, but if your site is down, it’s down, regardless of whether it’s a DDoS attack or scheduled maintenance. You aim to keep it all as low as possible. 

Pick the right security plugins.

cybersecRegardless of where your e-commerce is hosted and what kind of CMS (content management system) you use, you need to install many great security plugins to elevate its overall cybersecurity.

An antivirus and anti-malware plugin is probably the first thing that comes to mind. This simple installation will ensure that your e-store is free from malicious code. Not only that, but these platforms also have an analytics and assessment tool as a feature, which means that, at any given point, they can assess the reliability and quality of your code.

While every anti-malware system has some sort of scanner installed, getting an actual security scanner plugin is usually more efficient. Then, you can set it up to automatically scan your site and periodically conduct a manual scan just to see where you stand. 

Getting an SSL certificate is one of your highest priorities, which is why getting an SSL certificate plugin makes it easier. This plugin verifies and ensures that the level of encryption is satisfactory. 

Loss of data can be one of the worst forms of cybersecurity incidents. It will result in a loss of hours upon hours of hard work, and the best way to prevent this is to install a plugin. This way, in the case of a breach, you can easily recover your data. Even if you lose some work, we’re talking about hours and days of lost labor, not weeks and months.

Keep your software up to date.

Previously, we’ve discussed the many potential benefits of e-store extensions, but they only work if you keep them up to date. This happens automatically most of the time, but occasionally, the software stops getting updates.

Perhaps you’ve changed the security settings, or the plugin developers stopped working on it. Either way, it doesn’t take long to check for new updates (or see when the last update was).

These updates need to be more frequent in cybersecurity because the longer a bug is present, the more aware the hacker community becomes of it. Have you ever seen software brag about zero-day protection? This is how protection is estimated in the cybersecurity world, and it’s why updates are so important. 

There’s no field where this is more important than e-commerce. Not only do these plugins affect the loading speed and functionality, but they also keep your data and that of your visitors safe. Since we’re talking about e-stores, a lot of financial information is going around. 

More importantly, cybersecurity affects your business, customers, and the government (although some would even put them first). However, many ignore that the government is directly involved in data protection and cybersecurity. Staying updated is one way to keep up with all the demanding compliances. 

One last thing you should remember is that customer confidence isn’t simple, and you have to support it in any way you can. By promoting your update vigilance, you’ll simply inspire more trust. 

Keeping your e-store secure is as important as locking up your physical store before leaving.

The biggest difference between the two (and the biggest flaw in the analogy) is that a burglary is hard not to notice, while a hacking attack can go undetected for a while. Besides that, hackers won’t wait for everyone to leave the premises. They’ll strike at any given moment. Nonetheless, as long as you take the right protective measures, you have a fighting chance. 

Keep learning about strengthening your cybersecurity posture by exploring the resources below:

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