Ecommerce security tips to keep your site safe and your business competitive
If you own an ecommerce site or work in the digital commerce space, you’re likely aware of possible security threats. Getting ahead of these threats in order to protect your business and customers is crucial. This post will take you through a comprehensive list of ecommerce tips that will help you avoid security threats.
- Suggest strong passwords
- Implement multilayer security
- Use a firewall
- Use a payment provider
- Install an SSL requirement for HTTPS security
- Update your software and hardware
- Follow PCI-DSS requirements
- Back up data
- Establish best practices
- Choose the right hosting provider
What is ecommerce security?
Ecommerce security is a set of steps that ensures organizations are doing business safely. It benefits both the company and the consumers. These guidelines allow businesses to build trust and a positive reputation among consumers.
Ecommerce security is important because it protects consumer’s address, payment, and other personal information. This privacy will foster confidence in your business and prevent financial losses in the event of a data breach, which can cost millions.
There’s no shortage of ecommerce storefronts today, which means consumers have many options for where to spend their money. If you don’t have the right tools in place to protect your customers’ data, they will go elsewhere.
10 ecommerce security tips to protect your business
There are countless ways to improve ecommerce security. Some of them are beyond what the average B2B or B2C business needs to invest their time and money into. Here are 10 key tips to help your ecommerce site protect your consumers and your business.
1. Suggest strong passwords
The most basic security measure both customers and employees can take is to create strong passwords. A strong password uses numbers, special characters, and sometimes both lowercase and uppercase letters.
Another factor to consider when creating strong passwords is for individuals to create unique passwords across all of their logins. According to a Google survey, 52% of people use the same password for multiple websites.
A password manager is a great tool to encourage your employees to create strong passwords for each tool or platform they use. With each unique password stored in a secure place, it alleviates the frustration of trying to remember a large set of complex passwords and eliminates the risk of reusing passwords on other sites.
2. Implement multilayer security
Make user data protection a top priority by implementing a multilayer security plan. Without layered security measures in place, breaches are inevitable.
It’s crucial to ensure that only company employees dealing directly with a transaction have access to personal information. The cost of data breaches can be catastrophic to your business’s reputation if there is an information leak. For both of these reasons, investing in additional security measures (beyond requiring strong passwords) is important.
What is multilayer security?
Most of us are familiar with multifactor authentication by now. One example is when logging onto a website. Users are contacted via text or email with a code which they enter into a field to verify their identity.
Another example is for users to download the website’s mobile app and login to the app in order to confirm they are the user who is trying to access the site. The goal is to set up additional security walls to prevent data breaches.
A content delivery network (CDN) is another useful multilayer security tool. This approach stores data across a distributed network of servers and protects against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. A DDoS attack uses several sources at one time to flood a website with traffic to make it unavailable to users and gain access to data.
Why is multilayer security important?
Using a multilayer security system provides added layers of protection for businesses both internally and externally. Each measure makes it more difficult for hackers with stolen passwords to login. Implementing multilayer security is a smart recommendation for employees as well as customers. This extra measure improves brand reputation.
3. Use a firewall
Firewalls monitor all traffic coming and going from a site to block suspicious traffic. Firewalls are unique to each company and are built using a set of predetermined rules to pick out untrustworthy traffic sources.
The type of attacks that firewalls can prevent include DDoS attacks and Structured Query Language (SQL) injection. SQL injection is a common cyberattack tactic that “injects” harmful code into a website’s makeup to breach data or destroy the database.
4. Use a payment provider
There are a number of tools available that can process all of your customers’ financial information and keep their credit card data safe. Do not store any customer financial data on company servers. Payment providers encrypt customer payment data as an extra measure to protect against cybersecurity attacks.
5. Install a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate for HTTPS security
An SSL encrypts and protects a customer’s financial data as it travels between their device and the payment processor.
If you’ve ever visited a site and noticed “Not secure” displayed in the address bar, it’s because they’re not using an SSL. When a website uses SSL, HTTP becomes HTTPS, which is the standard for internet security and is safer for users.
Not using an SSL is not only poor security, but it may dissuade users from visiting your site. Some browsers even have a pop up warning page that the page isn’t secure. In fact, a study by John Cabot found that 64% of users leave a site immediately when they see the “Not secure” warning.
SSL and HTTPS are the standard for ecommerce security and should always be used going forward. As a bonus HTTPS improves your site’s SEO because Google ranks secure pages higher.
6. Update your software and hardware
It’s easy to get behind on software updates, especially when they are suggested to us frequently and on multiple devices. Ignoring these updates decreases site security and must be prioritized.
Software updates aren’t released just for new front end features. Tools are often updated to patch vulnerabilities and improve security. Look for a platform that keeps code up-to-date by distributing patch releases often.
Additionally, consider giving employees a scheduled hour weekly or monthly to devote to downloading new updates so they don’t feel like it’s cutting into their work hours.
7. Follow payment card industry data security standard (PCI-DSS) requirements
PCI-DSS is a set of requirements that guides any business that collects, processes, and stores credit card information.
Most of these ecommerce security tips are part of PCI-DSS compliance. For example, firewalls, strong passwords, cardholder data protection, and antivirus software are all components of PCI-DSS. If you implement all of the tips on this list, there’s a good chance your business is close to PCI compliant.
Check out the Adobe PCI Compliance Checklist For Ecommerce Businesses to see where you stand:
A PCI compliance checklist was needed in the early years of eCommerce because there were no set standards for web site architecture design or configuration—let alone measures to protect sensitive data such as credit card numbers and data tracking. With the increasing instances of unauthorized transactions reported by consumers, Visa launched its own requirements and standards platform to be followed by any retailer conducting business on the Internet and accepting Visa as a tender.
There were other credit card brands working on similar projects at the time, but Visa had the strongest requirements. Eventually the brands came together and helped form the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) council to create a formal set of requirements and standards that covered all brands. The standards help to not only protect the card brands, but also retailers and consumers.
Definition of a PCI Compliance Checklist and Why It’s So Important
PCI DSS is so important because it provides a set of baseline requirements and standards on how to protect consumer credit card data, which is referred to as cardholder data or CHD. The standards help guide companies on how to initially build an internal Information Security program, and design it to meet their own business needs. The requirements and standards also help to identify where and how CHD is coming from, moving through, and ultimately being stored. Mapping how the data moves throughout a company’s network is one of the first steps to knowing how to protect it.
Why Your Business Will Be Better With a Comprehensive PCI Compliance Checklist
A PCI compliance program is just one piece of a company’s overall Information Security program. There is a symbiotic relationship between the programs. Having one helps to strengthen the other. The PCI compliance program helps to identify a basic set of standards that, when implemented correctly for the business, help to strengthen the company’s overall Information Security program.
Risks of Being Non-Compliant
The risks range from monetary fines imposed by the card issuers to loss of consumer trust in the businesses who are found to be non-compliant. Trust is built over years and can be as valuable as any product sold. Beware of violating that trust by not protecting consumer card data as the effects of that can have a lasting impact on your business.
What You Need to Do to Protect Your Business
The latest update to the standard, PCI DSS v3, has six main requirements that are broken out into twelve sub-requirements that contain more than three hundred specific standards that have to be met. These standards have one main goal in mind: protecting cardholder data. That is the golden nugget that every person with malicious intent is trying to get to. Once they have cardholder data, it can be used for their own profit at the expense of the consumer, partner, business, and the card issuers.
If You Were Writing a PCI Compliance Checklist, What Would You Include?
The PCI DSS provides a general set of standards that can be implemented across any business model. Over the years the council has improved on the language, definitions, and applicability of the requirements and the changes have incrementally helped to improve PCI DSS compliance as a whole. Your PCI compliance checklist should include the following:
- Use a firewall between the payment card data and the public network, and keep the firewall updated.
- Don’t use vendor-supplied default passwords that come with network equipment or devices used in payment processing.
- Do not store cardholder data. If you have a business need to keep cardholder data, make sure you use strong encryption. You can use Magento’s BrainTree extension to shift the storage of cardholder data off of your system.
- Use encryption to protect all transmission of cardholder data over any public network.
- Use antivirus software on all machines in the cardholder data environment and ensure that the software is regularly updated.
- Check that your card processing systems have vendor-supplied security patches installed.
- Limit access to cardholder data to as few people as possible.
- Assign a unique ID number to each user so that everyone is accountable for his own actions.
- Restrict physical access to the cardholder data environment.
- Monitor all access to the network and cardholder data environment.
- Regularly test your security systems and network environment.
- Maintain a security policy and ensure that all personnel are aware of it.
How Does Magento Help Businesses Remain Compliant?
Magento offers a payment application/bridge that meets a specific version of the PCI DSS, the PA DSS or Payment Application Data Security Standard. This standard is a stand-alone certification process offered by the council. Magento’s payment application/bridge has undergone the process to become PA DSS certified. While Magento provides a PA-DSS compliant application/payment bridge, it does not make you PCI compliant automatically due to the number of PCI controls that lie outside the Magento platform.
For more information about completing your PCI compliance checklist or recommendations for a qualified security assessor, contact Magento online.
How to measure compliance?
Patch management reports are a tool for measuring compliance. They provide routine updates on how your ecommerce platform stacks up against PCI compliance regulations. You should also regularly assess hardware, software, servers, and user accounts for vulnerabilities.
Another strategy for measuring compliance is penetration testing. Penetration testing is attempting to hack your own system — either from the inside or outside. It’s a great way to expose vulnerabilities and keep your system secure.
8. Back up data
All data should be routinely backed up so that it can be restored in the event of a breach or system crash. While most security tips aim to prevent cyberattacks, you need to have a plan in place to recover data if other security methods fail.
9. Establish best practices
Ecommerce security tips are only as valuable as your internal team and customers make them. Educate your employees and customers about online security — including how to create strong passwords and how to implement multifactor authentication.
Be sure to share the steps you’ve taken to protect customer data with your users. This transparency helps make them smarter online consumers.
10. Choose the right hosting provider
A good hosting provider improves your ecommerce security strategy by:
- Monitoring threats
- Providing upgrades to continually improve security
- Fixing technical issues in a timely manner
- Including robust built-in security features
Get started with Adobe Commerce
As more business moves online, cybersecurity becomes more important. One data breach is all it takes to harm customers’ finances and destroy your brand’s reputation, but staying vigilant about ecommerce security can help prevent a disaster.
Start at the top of the list and make sure everyone at your company is using strong passwords for all of their logins. It might help to offer your team access to a password tool that can suggest and store passwords for all of their logins.
Adobe Commerce is PCI-certified as a level 1 solution provider, which supports your PCI certification process. Commerce can help you conduct business online with confidence by providing automatic updates about security risks, malware, and unauthorized access.