How to Protect Your E-Commerce Store from Hackers


Online security is
in the spotlight right now and will continue to be thanks to the
enormous amount of money changing hands online in the e-commerce
sector. Malicious attacks, data breaches and theft by hacking or
phishing is on the rise, and as an e-commerce website owner, you’re
responsible to do what you can to negate this threat for your users
and customers. Here are some ways you can protect your e-commerce
store from hackers.





Update Your Website CMS





If you’re hosting
your e-commerce website yourself, or using an out-the-box self-hosted
solution like WordPress or OpenCart,
you need to make sure you keep these software applications up to date
and apply any patches and updates that come out as they are released.
You should also ensure your underlying server operating system is up
to date and that any security patches have been applied. Hosting your
own e-commerce website isn’t for the faint of heart and often it’s
better left up to professional hosting companies who can do most of
that for you as part of their hosting fee. Consider instead using a
trustworthy web host.





Use a Trustworthy Web Host





When
you set out to create an online store, many companies offer not only
a reliable and secure website hosting service, but also provide an
easy to use and comprehensive e-commerce website builder to save you
an enormous amount of time and money during the design and setup
phase, as well as continued maintenance that you’d otherwise have
to worry about yourself. Using an ecommerce
website builder
is a great way of increasing the security of your
e-commerce store from hackers without much extra effort. You’ll
probably end up saving a good amount of money on the design and setup
of your online store too. Most of these hosts will provide SSL
security, but if they don’t, make sure your website has SSL
security.





Make Sure Your Website has SSL
Security





Users are becoming
savvier and web browsers are now more transparent at making users
aware of SSL
security certificates
and the dangers of websites and e-commerce
stores where sensitive user data is being exchanged. SSL (secure
socket layer) is a way that your computer and a website you’re
visiting can exchange information securely by encrypting the data
during transmission. It means that any information you type into
forms can get from your computer to the website securely and
privately. Without SSL, everything you send to the e-commerce store
is in plain, readable text and is open to interception. It’s
nothing short of an essential requirement to ensure your website has
a valid and current SSL certificate, as your customers will be
looking out for it. While SSL is essential to ensure the user data to
your website is uncompromised, there’s always a risk that data can
be compromised if you are storing it, so avoid storing sensitive user
data.





Avoid Storing Sensitive User
Data





This is a compromise
between creating efficiency for your customer by remembering their
data, so they don’t have to retype it every time they checkout
while making a purchase and promoting privacy and data security.
Sensitive user
data is any personal information
you might collect about a
customer, including their shipping or billing address, cellular
number and, most importantly, their payment information like credit
card numbers. Where at all possible, avoid storing this, or even
better, just use a third-party payment processor.





Use a Third-Party Payment
Processor





At checkout, users
will be required to input their personal information to complete the
payment of their purchases. Often, this takes the form of credit card
or banking information. By relying on a third-party payment
processor, you’re negating the risk of storing and processing these
transactions by transferring it to another company to handle. By
far the most popular of these is PayPal
, but there are companies
that will process payments made by credit and debit card, electronic
transfer and many other payment types for you. If you couple a
third-party payment processor with good website security like strong
password requirements, you’re giving your users the best protection
of their personal information.





Insist on Strong Passwords





Take the opportunity
to educate your customers about online safety and guide them into
creating a safer profile on your website by insisting they use strong
passwords for their user profiles. There is some debate about what
makes a strong password, but following common industry trends of
asking users to include both lower case and capital letters, as well
as at least one number and symbol in a password at least 8 characters
long, is widely accepted as best practice.





There is a lot you
need to think about when you run an online store and the security of
your website and associated user data is just one thing of many. By
understanding the threats and what you can do to help protect
yourself against them, you’re on your way to a secure online store.


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