How to Hackproof Your Online Store

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Francis Pilon

If your eCommerce site is hacked by cybercriminals, it could cause your business significant financial turmoil, while damaging your brand’s reputation. The average consolidated total cost of a data breach is $4 million. So it is crucial for online businesses of all sizes to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from all types of security breaches, as even the best eCommerce sites can fall prey to cybercriminals.

The recent hacking of big brands such as Target and Home Depot highlights that no business is safe from cybercrime attacks. Even after securing SSL Certificates and putting up firewalls, there are many further steps that you can take to ensure additional levels of protection from hackers.

Use a VPN When Managing Your Site

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) connects you to your site using a remote network. As you send and receive information using a VPN, it is encrypted to ensure that no unauthorized parties can access any of your information. You'll be able to keep your login details safe so that third parties cannot gain access to customer information, and all of your banking information remains secure.

According to Secure Thoughts, there is a wide range of VPNs available, each with their own benefits. It is important to do plenty of research to choose the right VPN to suit your business and its needs.

Don’t Save Data That You Don’t Need

Hackers attempt to gain access to eCommerce sites to steal sensitive customer information, such as banking details. So, if your site doesn’t store any of that data, then there won’t be anything for hackers to steal.

This is why it is important to clear any private customer information from your servers when you no longer require it. If there is any customer data that is essential for your business, then ensure that is in encrypted. Taking this simple measure could have prevented Sony’s Playstation Network from being hacked in 2011, when cybercriminals stole the personal details of over 77 million users.

Consider Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is one of the most effective ways to identifying potential vulnerabilities of your ecommerce site. It involves hiring a cybersecurity specialist to seek out potential ways in which your site could be hacked. Their job is to look for weaknesses in any area of your business’s online operations, such as operating systems, application flaws, improper configurations or dangerous end-user behavior.

After identifying any potential security issues, your business can take the necessary steps to correct them. This is a valuable service that puts you one step ahead of cybercriminals who may want to gain access to sensitive data.

Keep on Top of Your Security

Even after you've ensured that your site is as secure as possible from potential hacking, your work still isn't done. You have to stay up to date with the latest security measures to ensure that your site won't fall victim to any new methods of hacking.

Cybercriminals are always finding new ways to hack websites and gain access to sensitive information. So it is up to your web development team to stay on top of your online security systems. There are plenty of security programs that monitor your eCommerce site for early detection of malware, backdoors, web shells and any other forms of hacking. This software allows you to deal with any breaches before they can do irreversible damage to your site or your brand’s reputation.

Provide Online Security Training For Staff Members

Did you know that employee mistakes are the causes of many security incidents on eCommerce sites? Baker Hostetler’s 2016 Data Security Incident Response Report has identified that human error is responsible for 24 percent of breaches, following closely behind the main cause of phishing, hacking and malware software at 31 percent.

This is why it is important for eCommerce site owners to ensure that all staff undergo basic cybersecurity training. You can enlist your web development team or an online security firm to teach your employees about the necessary safeguards they should put in place. A list of issues to cover includes:

The various types of security breaches How to create safe passwords How to use a VPN to access your commerce site’s backend Your company’s security policies

Ensure that training is provided to all new employees, and even consider offering refresher training yearly. Another way to keep staff sharp is by sending out cybersecurity tips regularly. This helps to keep the knowledge fresh in their minds so there are no slip-ups that could compromise your site’s security.

Remember to lead by example. Your staff are unlikely to take cybersecurity seriously if members of management leave their computers unattended and unlocked on lunch breaks. Practicing safe online security in the office will encourage your employees to follow suit.

By following the above steps, your brand is sure to maintain a safe and secure eCommerce presence. You can ensure the protection of your business, your customers and your brand’s image.

What security measures have you taken to keep your eCommerce site safe? Share your methods with us in the comments!

Author Bio: Caroline is a technology blogger with a specialty in cybersecurity. She advises all of her clients on the best practices for keeping their sites safe from hackers and security breaches.