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Understanding ECommerce Security: 6 Ways To Make Your Site Secure

Cyber security for your eCommerce store is an essential aspect and expense for your eCommerce site. Every now and then the world will hear about a cyber security breach that has compromised the data of hundreds of millions of people, and cost the concerning business an insurmountable amount of money. Cyber security breaches are the crime of the 21st century and you’d be wise to ensure your site or business is secure before you even think about developing it.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that cyber security is only necessary for the big players. Hackers need to pay the rent just like you do, and your small to medium sized business is an easy target.

ECommerce Security: What is it?

ECommerce security is simply the measures implemented to protect your eCommerce site and all your customers from cyber threats.

To help you get the most value out of this article, below we’ll quickly cover all the important terminology regarding eCommerce security.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

This is often referred to as PCI, you will often see an eCommerce platform to note that it’s “PCI compliant.”  PCI DSS means that all credit card information entering your stored in accordance with the laid out PCI guidelines in order to store it more safely.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

The ISO is a global organization whose purpose is to provide standardization across a range of products and services both physical and online. Essentially the IOS ensures your business is fit for purpose. The ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification concerns cyber security. Any business that achieves this has reliable management systems, risk-aversion strategies and data security.

Personal Data

Any data that relates to an individual or can identify an individual. When it comes to eCommerce, examples of personal data are email addresses, phone numbers or somebody’s name. However, personal data your site collects and the way eCommerce sites collect it is different now due to the GDPR. GDPR compliance will be discussed later.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

You’ve probably heard of a DDoS attack but never knew what it actually meant. A DDoS involves your server, store or network being overwhelmed by an influx of malicious traffic, resulting in your normal traffic not being able to enter your site.

HTTPS Authentication, Transport Layer Security (TSL), Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

SSL encrypts information sent over the internet. Once your site has an SSL certificate, your site moves from “HTTP://…” to HTTPS://…,” which helps customers trust your store in the form of the padlock symbol next to your URL.

Identity or User Verification

Two Step Verification: Requires the user to submit a code received from an email, text or call.

Two-Factor Authentication: Requires the user to authenticate their login via an alternative device

Multi-Factor Authentication: As the names suggest, requires the user to authenticate their login via multiple steps (more than two).


Malicious software that is installed in your system by an attacker. Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents a user from accessing their system or data until a ransom is paid.

Some warning signs of a malware infection are:

  • Programs opening and closing automatically
  • Emails won’t stop bouncing
  • Endless amounts of pop-up ads
  • Repeated crashes, freezes or periods of unresponsiveness
  • Sudden lack of storage space

Other Than Protection, Why is Cyber Security Beneficial?

All the reasons below will relate to security in some way. For the more business minded, here are a few reasons why having cyber security is beneficial for your business.

Compliance and Fine Avoidance

Security is something you need to take seriously. You wouldn’t buy from a car manufacturer that didn’t install locks, the same goes for your site. If you don’t meet security standards you may be fined. Even if you can’t technically be fined for not having met a standard, you still pay for it in the luck of trust from your customers.

Avoid Paying for Recovery Services

The cyber way of saying “better safe than sorry!” Upon a security breach you’ll need to pay for data recovery services, data investigation and credit monitoring. Having reliable security is time and cost-effective for your business.

Earning Customer Trust

You can spend as much time as you like making your store function smoothly or making it visually appealing. But, if a customer isn’t confident submitting personal data to your store, especially payment details—the rest is pointless. Trust is what retains your customers and having cyber security as well as meeting compliance standards ensures no red flags are raised during user experience.

6 Ways to Make Your ECommerce Site Secure!

It can be overwhelming, especially for non technical business owners, thinking about all the ways your eCommerce site can be cyber attacked.

  • Set Up Password Requirements

Unfortunately the majority of attacks are simply attackers taking advantage of weak passwords. It’s something that can be easily avoidable, and putting passwords regulations on yourself and your customers will keep everyone secure. This means you and your customers have to do the following:

  • Passwords of at least 8 characters with lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols
  • Never use the same password for multiple sites or accounts
  • Ensure everyone’s username is unique
  • Never trust any service that asks you to share sensitive information, external to secure account creation or payment gateways
  • Ensure All Business Devices Have Antivirus Software or Firewalls

No matter if your business is running using a single laptop, or you have a large office with one hundred different devices, every device that accesses your business needs to be secure with antivirus, firewalls or alternative security software.

What’s important here is that you keep consistent. Let’s say you hire a new developer, designer or marketer and therefore buy them a new device. The first thing you should do is set up antivirus on this device. Each device without adequate security is an opportunity for attackers to get through the door.

  • Keeping Wise to Social Engineering Attempts

Social engineering is a broad term for malicious activity. Thankfully most social engineering attempts we are automatically kept safe from- ever clicked on a site to get a warning saying “this site may be unsafe.”? Ever seen a suspicious ad saying “you’re the 1,000,000 visitor, click here to receive your reward!”? For many users, avoiding social engineering attempts is second nature, but the same attempts are the reason you’re a bit nervous about your grandparents using the internet.

For eCommerce business owners the most common phishing attempt is via email. These emails will take you to a fake site that has the exact same design as one you’re familiar with. Entering your details to login to the fake site will give the attacker access to your account and personal information on the real site.

To stay wise ensure you stay wise to the following:

Check the domain of the sender: It may look familiar, but it will have one small difference, e.g “myshopify.com” (real domain), “myshopfy.com” (fake domain)

Grammar mistakes: grammar mistakes are rife in attacker emails. If it’s uneasy to read or has one too many grammar mistakes, it’s likely to be malicious!

Anything that asks you to suddenly transfer money or information: Block the sender, delete the email, hang up the phone. This is a sure sign of a phishing scam.

  • Make Two-Step or Multiple Factor Verification A Must

This is similar to creating a strong password. It takes a minute extra effort and ensures you and your customers are the only ones logging into their accounts. For something so easy to do, it’s very valuable.

  • Keeping Updated, Patching Vulnerabilities and Keeping Updates

If you’re using an eCommerce platform, updates and patches should happen automatically. Some platforms will require you to install updates manually. However, updates can cause some of your installations to break or not work together, you may need to hire external assistance to get things running smoothly again.

If you have your own independent store you will be responsible for making all security updates or vulnerability patches to all software your store uses. This can be seriously time consuming, if you don’t have in-staff expertise to keep your site secure, you will need to hire external assistance.

  • Remove All Plugins and Third Party Integrations You’re No Longer Using

You remove plugins you don’t need for two reasons: limiting the amount of access people have to your data and because it makes your site run faster. Assess your level to trust with all installations you both are currently using or no longer use. Is the creator of that software providing support or are you left on your own to keep it secure and operational? Check new reviews for all plugins, are people reporting security issues? If you feel uneasy about a piece of third-party software on your site, take no risks and remove it.

Take Your ECommerce Security Seriously

Cyber security is an expense you’ll have to accept, but it’s your most time and cost-effective expense, your business growth is dependent on it. Some cyber security practices all business owners can do themselves , installing an antivirus or auditing social engineering attempts.  However, implementing more complex aspects of security such as setting up user verification, completely removing old plugins and bug fixing will require technical expertise. Even if you are a business owner with a technical background, security will overwhelm your time and have an adverse effect on the sales side of your eCommerce site.

It’s recommended you hire web developers for eCommerce cyber security. Doing so removes the technical burden of gaining the best eCommerce security practices and free’s up your time to focus on actually growing your business. If you want to hire expert eCommerce developers I’d recommend the development team at CodeClouds. They have specialist developers in a range of popular eCommerce platforms including Shopify, Magento, OpenCart, WooCommerce and Big Commerce. With over a decades worth of development experience, their work portfolio is rich withmaking highly secure and functional eCommerce sites


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