Customers will only use a website if they trust it. Here’s how to secure that trust… while securing your shopping site!
Because of the sensitive personal identifiable information (PII) involved, like customer names, addresses, and credit or debit card details, it’s important that e-commerce websites are safe and secure. But you can protect your business from financial losses and liabilities, business disruption, and a ruined brand reputation.
There are several ways to integrate security best practices into your development process. Whichever ones you choose to implement depend largely on your e-commerce website and its risk concerns.
Here are a few ways to make sure your e-commerce site is secure for customers.
1. Develop a Reliable Infrastructure Setup
Building a reliable infrastructure setup involves creating a checklist for all industry security best practices and protocols and enforcing it during your development process.
The presence of industry standards and best practices helps you reduce the risk of vulnerabilities and exploits.
To build this, you need to employ techniques involving input validation, parameterized queries, and escaping user input.
You can also protect data transmission through HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocols Secure) which encrypts data.
Obtaining an SSL/TLS certificate from reputable certificate authorities helps establish trust between your website and its visitors.
The standards for security you create should align with the company’s goals, vision, objectives, and mission statement.
2. Create Secure Methods for User Authentication and Authorization
Having explored what user authentication is, authorization identifies if a person or system has permission to access the data involved. These two concepts come together to form the process of access control.
User authentication methods are formed based on three factors: something you have (like a token), something you know (such as passwords and PINs), and something you are (like biometrics).
There are several methods of authentication: password authentication, multi-factor authentication, certificate-based authentication, biometric authentication, and token-based authentication.
We advise you to use multi-factor authentication methods—using multiple kinds of authentication before the data is accessed.
There are also several authentication protocols. These are rules allowing a system to confirm the identity of a user.
Secure protocols worth investigating include the Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP), which employs a three-way exchange to verify users with a high standard of encryption; and the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), which supports different types of authentication, allowing remote devices to perform mutual authentication with built-in encryption.
3. Implement Secure Payment Processing
Access to customer payment information makes your website even more susceptible to threat actors.
In running your website, you should follow the Payment Card Industry(PCI) security standards as they describe how best to secure sensitive customer data—avoiding fraud in payment processing.
Developed in 2006, the guidelines are tiered based on the number of card transactions a company processes per year.
It’s vital that you don’t collect too much information from your clients too. This ensures that, in the event of a breach, you and your customers are less likely to be affected as badly.
You can also use payment tokenization, a technology that converts clients’ data into random, unique, and indecipherable characters. Each token is assigned to a piece of sensitive data; there is no key code that cybercriminals can exploit. It’s a brilliant safeguard against fraud, removing crucial data from the business’ internal systems.
Incorporating encryption protocols like TLS and SSL is also a good option.
Lastly, implement the 3D Secure method of authentication. Its design prevents the unauthorized use of cards while protecting your website from chargebacks in the event of a fraudulent transaction.
4. Emphasize Encryption and Back-Up Data Storage
Backup storages are locations where you keep copies of your data, information, software, and systems for recovery in case of an attack resulting in data loss.
You can have cloud storage and on-premise storage, depending on what suits the business and its finances.
Encryption, especially encryption of your backup data, protects your information from tampering and corruption while ensuring only authenticated parties access said information.
Encryption involves hiding the actual meaning of data and converting it into a secret code. You will need the decryption key to interpret the code.
Up-to-date backups and data storage are part of a well-structured business continuity plan, allowing an organization to function in a crisis.
Encryption protects these backups from being stolen or used by unauthorized persons.
5. Protect Against Common Attacks
You need to familiarize yourself with common cybersecurity threats and attacks to protect your website. There are several ways to protect your online store from cyberattacks.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks trick browsers into sending malicious client-side scripts to user browsers. These scripts then execute once received—infiltrating data.
There are also SQL injection attacks where threat actors exploit input fields and inject malicious scripts, tricking the server into providing unauthorized sensitive database information.
6. Conduct Security Testing and Monitoring
The monitoring process involves continually observing your network, trying to detect cyber threats and data breaches. Security testing checks whether your software or network is vulnerable to threats.
It detects whether the website’s design and configuration are correct, providing evidence that its assets are safe.
With system monitoring, you reduce data breaches and improve the response time. Additionally, you ensure the website’s compliance with industry standards and regulations.
There are several types of security testing. Vulnerability scanning involves using automated software to check systems against known vulnerability signatures, while security scanning identifies system weaknesses, providing solutions for risk management.
Penetration testing simulates an attack from a threat actor, analyzing a system for potential vulnerabilities. Security auditing is an internal inspection of software for flaws.
These tests work together to determine the security posture of the business’ website.
7. Install Security Updates
As established, threat actors target weaknesses in your software system. These can be in the form of outdated security measures.
As the cybersecurity field constantly grows, new complex security threats also develop.
Updates to security systems contain fixes to bugs, new features, and performance improvements.
With this, your website can defend itself from threats and attacks. So you have to make sure all your systems and components are kept updated
8. Educate Employees and Users
To develop a reliable infrastructure design, all team members must understand the concepts involved in building a secure environment.
Internal threats typically result from mistakes like opening a suspicious link in an email (i.e. phishing) or leaving workstations without logging out of work accounts.
With adequate knowledge of popular types of cyberattacks, you can build a secure infrastructure with everyone staying informed of the latest threats.
How’s Your Security Risk Appetite?
The steps you implement towards protecting your website depend on your company’s risk appetite—that is, the level of risk it can afford.
Facilitating a secure setup by encrypting sensitive data, educating your employees and users on industry best practices, keeping up-to-date systems, and testing your software work to reduce the level of risk your site faces.
With these measures in place, you ensure business continuity in the event of an attack while retaining the reputation and trust of your users.