Image Source: Pexels
This blog was written by an independent guest blogger.
One of the biggest barriers to successful e-commerce business is protecting user data. If online shoppers don’t feel their information is safe, they won’t make a purchase.
Luckily, there are actions you can take to secure your own e-commerce experience, whether you’re running a digital business or shopping with one. These protections make e-commerce safer at a time when it’s desperately needed. Cyberattacks are on the rise, and with more people shopping online, data is at risk.
By understanding the evolving needs of an e-commerce strategy, you can better protect yourself when buying or selling online. Here’s what you should know.
The evolving needs of e-commerce business
The e-commerce environment is changing. With COVID-19 shuttering many brick-and-mortar retail stores, the pressure has mounted on online sales. At the same time, the broad shift to remote work and virtual meeting places has initiated a wave of cybercrime.
As a result, the field of cybersecurity is growing at a rapid pace in an attempt to counter this wave. By 2026, cybersecurity is expected to grow by 28% as companies across industries add cybersecurity specialists to their payrolls.
For e-commerce businesses, having cybersecurity specialists and protections on hand is especially vital. All types of modern digital threats can affect an online store, potentially causing thousands of dollars to resolve and resulting in an invaluable loss of business. These are just a few of the major threats that digital retailers face:
- Phishing attempts
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
- Credit card fraud
Any instance of a cyberattack can cause irreparable damage to both the financial and the reputational integrity of a business. Whether the threat is from phished employee login info or a DDoS attack that causes your entire site to go down, the modern e-commerce industry requires substantive protections for safely conducting business.
No matter how you are engaging with e-commerce, you can take the following steps to help protect your data and business.
How to protect yourself when buying or selling online
You never know when a cyberattack is going to affect you. With $17,700 lost every minute due to phishing attacks alone, according to CSO, shopping and selling online requires utilizing every best practice and technological advantage at your disposal. Luckily, there are actions you can take ranging from free to high-end that will give you a safer experience and protect your and your customers’ data.
Here’s what you should know.
Any business operating online should make use of all the tools available to them when it comes to protecting customer data. Failure to do so can result in a loss of trust from which it may be impossible to recover. While no strategy is a guarantee of safety, these tips will offer a good foundation for safe e-commerce:
Prepare the proper tools.
There are a host of systems and software out there for hosting and maintaining an e-commerce platform. However, true e-commerce cybersecurity protections require that you find the right firewalls and hosting platforms to keep all your data safe.
An effective, multi-layered cybersecurity approach makes use of the most powerful tools at your disposal. This starts with acquiring proven antivirus and firewall systems for hosting your digital store.
Next, digital retailers must host their stores on platforms with Secure Socket Layers (SSL). Ensure that your site is operating with an HTTPS prefix, meaning that the hosted pages are secured through an SSL and will therefore only send customer data directly to your site.
Use a comprehensive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
In addition to the other tools in your toolkit, a CRM that comprehensively stores and protects your customer data will make all the difference in managing an e-commerce site.
Maintain a high standard for employee cybersecurity education.
With 27% of data breaches resulting from human error, little can aid your security approach as much as proper employee education. Every employee, no matter their role, should understand the nature of social engineering and phishing attacks to best protect company networks.
The best part about maintaining an educated staff is that it can come at little cost. Intermittent meetings going over cybersecurity best practices can help cut down on breaches and secure your business processes like little else.
E-commerce businesses that follow these baselines will be better protected against cyberattacks than businesses that do not. With data secured within a standardized system and defended by employees who understand the risks, you can practice e-commerce without worrying about which breaches each new day might bring.
As a result, you will inspire buyer trust and help your customers keep their data secure.
Doing your shopping online is most likely a necessary aspect of your pandemic experience. However, online purchases can come with associated risks. Any e-commerce shopper should be aware of these risks and practice safe digital practices to ensure the privacy of their data.
Here are a few tips for staying safe while shopping online:
Only use sites protected by HTTPS.
The HTTPS prefix at the beginning of a URL denotes that a site uses secure communication processes. Look for this when doing your online shopping.
Share as little data as possible.
Credit card information and shipping address are necessary components of an online shopping experience. However, if a site asks for a social security number or other uncommon private data, look elsewhere.
Secure your internet connection.
Avoiding public internet connections while online shopping is a great way to stay safe. Instead, use your secure home connection and a virtual private network (VPN) whenever possible.
No one can completely negate the risks involved with online shopping. However, by using these strategies you are doing virtually everything in your power to protect your data. This will allow you to have an ideal shopping experience while in turn protecting your favorite digital retailers.
Assessing e-commerce needs for the future
As the world increases its reliance on technology and digital marketplaces, it is more important than ever that businesses secure their e-commerce practices. Shoppers require a safe experience in which their data remains protected. Employing technology can help businesses achieve this experience, but truly protected e-commerce will come down to best practices followed by both the seller and the buyer.
E-commerce businesses can start making this possible now with the right tools, CRM, and employee education procedures.