Today’s online businesses have plenty of reasons to invest heavily in cybersecurity. For one, up to 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses. And according to a 2019 report by Fundera, 64% of small businesses experienced some form of web-based attack while 62% were victims of phishing and social engineering attacks. Moreover, at least 59% also encountered malicious codes and botnets.

Even worse, the attacks are only getting costlier. In 2019, there was a hacking attack every 39 seconds and a ransomware attack every 14 seconds, costing businesses over $2 trillion. This figure is projected to rise sharply, potentially reaching $6 trillion by 2021.

Several reasons make small business owners easy targets. First off, small businesses, up to this point, haven’t treated cybersecurity with the deserved seriousness. The average small business invests a paltry $500 in cybersecurity. Worse yet, 77% of organizations don’t have a cybersecurity incident response plan.

Be Different – Take Steps to Secure Your Online Business

Fortunately, you don’t have to be an IT geek to keep your e-commerce shop safe from cybercriminals. The following seven tips should suffice;

  • Choose a secure e-commerce platform

There are many SaaS eCommerce platforms that small businesses can use today. From Weebly to Shopify and BigCommerce to WooCommerce, the list is endless. If you choose to use these platforms, the security of your e-commerce store starts with the trustworthiness of that platform.

To this end, make sure to conduct thorough research of the various e-commerce platforms before deciding. Among other things, the platform must implement SSL certificates, robust authentication protocols, and payment gateway encryption.

Also, ensure that the platform provides 24/7 monitoring, maximum uptime, and good backup services in case there’s a security breach.

  • Move your services to HTTPS

Unfortunately, even today, many e-commerce store owners take HTTPS so lightly. According to W3Techs, only about 58.5% of the over 1.7 billion websites use default HTTPS protocol – a sad state of affairs considering the widespread cyberattacks.

To protect your e-commerce site, you must move to the secure version of HTTP, i.e. HTTPS. Identified by a green padlock in the browser address bar, HTTPS adds a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to your website, creating an additional layer of protection for your business and customers. The SSL layer ensures that all data passed between your site and web servers remains private and integral.

It’s worth noting that SSL also significantly boosts trust among shoppers and guarantees a better ranking on the Google search engine.

  • Comply with the PCI DSS Standards

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) is an information security standard that applies to any business that handles branded credit cards from the major card companies, i.e. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. The main aim is to protect both the businesses and customers from rampant data theft.

The PCI DSS standard has many requirements, including the need to install and maintain firewall configurations to protect cardholder data and use and regularly update anti-virus software. Compliant businesses must also avoid vendor-supplied passwords and regularly test security systems and processes.

In the end, though, businesses get to benefit from improved resilience to data breaches and increased consumer trust.

  • Be careful with storing sensitive user data

Whether you’re using your own website or an e-commerce platform, be careful with storing confidential customer information. Some e-commerce platforms come with the option to accept and store such data, which often includes credit card numbers. Don’t fall for it; it’s a recipe for disaster.

Ideally, you want to consider 3rd-party payment processors such as PayPal to handle your transactions. This way, you don’t have to worry about collecting, leave alone storing, credit card numbers. Quantum, Sage Pay, and Stripe are other popular payment processors that will handle sensitive card data on your behalf.

Additionally, find a way to purge any data you collect so that you’re only left with the information you need to track shipments and issue refunds/chargebacks.

Another good solution can be hiring a reliable expert, who can solve the problem with data storage in an appropriate and secure way.

  • Invest in relevant cybersecurity tools

A Web Application Firewall (WAF), for example, is a hardware or software system that serves as a gateway between two or more networks. It controls traffic entering your networks and can block unauthorized traffic.

Another tool you can invest in is bot detection software. Today, bots represent over 50% of internet traffic. The large percentage of these bots are designed to spy on internet users and perform malicious monitoring. A real-time bot detection software allows you to detect suspicious bot activity on your site or network.

Security plug-ins and add-ons are other recommended cybersecurity tools if you sell from an e-commerce platform such as Shopify.

  • Make sure everyone’s on board

Since you, your employees, and the customers are the ones who have access to the website or your e-commerce app, it’s vital that you protect the site from these three parties as much as you do for fraudsters.

The first step you should take here is requiring passwords for full entry into the site. Operating without passwords is like leaving your door open in the middle of the night. So, make sure that everyone has a password. Also, passwords must be strong. Indeed, consider two-factor authentication.

Aside from passwords, train your employees to spot criminal activities and have clear procedures and policies on cybercrime.

  • Run vulnerability scans constantly

Anyways, even with cybersecurity, you can never be 100% secure. Why? Because the dynamics change every second. So, you could be bulletproof one minute and an easy target the next after a new type of threat emerges.

The only way to protect your business from this constant evolution of cyber threats is to keep up with the changes. Never rest on your laurels. Instead, keep monitoring for new threats and continuously run vulnerability scans to uncover any weak spots in your security chain.

Whenever you come across any loopholes, apply the right security patches and update your site or systems as necessary to adequately address the situation.

  •  Find a Reliable Tech Vendor

A good technical provider will take care of your security issues and guarantee the safety of your business, eliminating the need to pay attention to technical issues. You can devote more time to your business needs, allowing professionals to do what they can do effectively.

United Perfectum Offers Lasting Cybersecurity Solutions

United Perfectum is a professional e-commerce security solutions vendor at the moment. From monitoring tools to bespoke software to minimize your exposure to risk, we help small businesses remain vigilant and fight cybersecurity head-on. Make up your trusted partner today for complete peace of mind.