There's no question that this year has been extremely challenging for business owners, especially those who operate brick-and-mortar businesses. Now, as the holiday season rapidly approaches, many small businesses are setting up online channels to generate the revenue they need.
Although having an e-commerce presence is important in the current climate, there are three cybersecurity considerations business owners need to keep in mind when setting up an online store. I strongly recommend that business owners follow this cybersecurity checklist to safely transition their business online and increase customers' trust in their new e-commerce site.
1. Meet Basic Website Security Requirements
When it comes to setting up a secure e-commerce website, installing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is a must. The purpose of an SSL certificate is to protect website and customer data as it's transmitted between a website and server. For instance, if one of your customers logs in to their account or submits a payment, using an SSL certificate ensures their login credentials and credit card information is encrypted and transferred over a secure connection so cybercriminals can't intercept it.
In addition to protecting your customers' data, an SSL certificate is a clear indication to them that your website is trustworthy. Customers can easily tell if your site has an SSL certificate because your site's URL displays a padlock icon in front, and it begins with "https" instead of "http." The presence of an SSL certificate signals to customers that you take their security seriously and they can safely do business on your site without fear that their personal information will get compromised.
2. Defend Your E-commerce Site Against Cyberthreats
As an online business owner, it's essential to invest in reliable cybersecurity solutions to protect your new e-commerce site from cyberthreats. You might feel that your business is small and unlikely to be noticed by cybercriminals, but unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, many cybercriminals assume small businesses and e-commerce sites are easy targets because they don't have the resources to invest in advanced cybersecurity solutions.
So, how can you protect your small e-commerce site from cybercriminals? One of the most important steps you can take is investing in an automated website scanner. All sites need to run regular scans to detect security vulnerabilities and threats such as malware, but for e-commerce businesses it's a daily necessity.
A website scanner can simplify the process by automatically reviewing your files for malware and other threats and removing any that are discovered. When choosing a website scanning solution for your e-commerce site, opt for a comprehensive scanner that searches for malware, spam, and XSS and SQLi attacks, and automatically removes these threats if they're detected.
To further protect your site from security threats, consider adding a web application firewall (WAF). A WAF acts as a kind of gatekeeper for your website, monitoring all traffic to your site and blocking threats such as web-based attacks and malicious bots. For this reason, it's a powerful tool for filtering out unwanted traffic and preventing cyberattacks from reaching your e-commerce site.
3. Opt for a Secure E-commerce Platform
Last but not least, all brick-and-mortar business owners venturing into online commerce should thoroughly research their preferred e-commerce platform to ensure that it's secure. When choosing an e-commerce platform, look for one that has the ability to integrate with an SSL certificate, and is compatible with a comprehensive cybersecurity solution.
Also make sure the platform is well-maintained and has a track record of patching security vulnerabilities quickly. By choosing a platform with both of these features, you can configure your site to meet basic security requirements and will be able to install website scanning and WAF solutions.
Finally, it's crucial to choose a platform that's PCI compliant, because PCI compliance is a requirement for e-commerce sites. PCI compliance means that you follow a set of security standards to ensure that all credit card information is handled in a secure manner. When it comes to PCI compliance, it doesn't matter if your site is small, or how many transactions you process. To put it simply, PCI compliance is mandatory for any business that accepts credit card payments. It's a crucial as well as compulsory security measure that helps protect your customers' credit card information from cybercriminals.
Stay Safe When Bringing Your Business Online
In the current environment, consumers and businesses alike are relying on the internet more than ever before. As a result, as the holidays approach, a large number of small brick-and-mortar businesses will be bringing their stores online. By following this cybersecurity checklist when launching your e-commerce site, you can ensure your customers have a secure shopping experience while maximizing your revenue this holiday season.