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What e-Commerce Business Owners
Need to Know about Cybersecurity

The basics of cyber security for e-commerce

There are so many online stores being opened up on a daily basis that we do not even have a statistic about how many such businesses are being launched. There is at least a couple million such stores out there and they are dealing with personal data of hundreds of millions of people. This very fact makes ecommerce websites very attractive to attackers and this should be reason enough for ecommerce business owners to brush upon their cybersecurity knowledge.

Today, we will go over the basics of cybersecurity for e-commerce.

E-commerce cybersecurity is essential - shopping cart illustration

If you are a small business owner with an e-commerce website, you must take proper
steps to protect your business and customers data from cybersecurity attacks.

Your Business is Big Enough

A huge number of ecommerce business owners believe there is no need for them to learn about cybersecurity because they think they sell very little and that they are not interesting to potential attackers. The attackers have absolutely no interest in how much you sell or how much money you make in any given month. They only care for the personal financial data that is transferred from your customers to your website and vice versa.

In fact, ecommerce websites are among the most attractive targets, accounting for almost 40% of all breaches in the last few years. These are mostly large ecommerce businesses, but the small stores also make a hefty portion of victims.

Big Platforms are Your Best Bet

The services that are provided by the world's biggest ecommerce platforms such as WooCommerce or Shopify have made them so ubiquitous that there independently developed and hosted ecommerce companies are extremely rare.

Believe it or not, this is a good thing. Namely, these platforms understand that they would go bankrupt if the word was to spread that the websites hosted by them can be breached and compromised. This is why such platforms will use the latest cybersecurity measures that will ensure brute force attacks can do absolutely nothing to compromise the data that you store on your website.

In case you are developing your own ecommerce software and design your own website (or hire someone to do it), security of your and the data of your customers has to be the biggest priority.

Be Careful with Apps

Most people who run ecommerce stores soon discover that they have to use independently-developed apps that provide new functionality to their stores. These can be apps for marketing, shipment tracking, customer service and anything else you can think of.

And while people who run these platforms do everything in their power to ensure that these apps do not have any vulnerabilities, there is always a chance that a hole might slip under the radar. This is especially true for apps that have to do with points of sale and other aspects of the ecommerce store where the vicinity of customer data is immediate.

Always make sure to read up on apps and if you are not sure, talk to the customer support people that work for the platform you are using. Also, never give access to any parts of your system which store sensitive data to these applications, no matter the reason.

An illustration of social media, with icons

Various apps and social media have distinct business advantages, but you have to be careful about various platforms security and potential data breaches.

Beware of Social Engineering

Regardless of how great your cybersecurity measures are, if you fall prey to a social engineering scam, they will be for nothing. Social engineering involves person-to-person scams where you or someone who works for you is tricked into providing access or passwords to attackers who present themselves as a government agency of some kind, ecommerce platform customer support or someone else.

It is absolutely crucial that you do not open any emails that have to do with your ecommerce business and that you cannot verify. It is especially important not to click on any links that appear in emails you cannot be 100% certain of.

You should also ensure that any people who work for you are aware of social engineering and that they know how to behave.

Set Up a Breach Management Procedure

It would also be a good idea to have a structured breach management procedure worked out, just in case. For instance, you should always make sure to report the breach to the authorities and to also inform your customers whose data might have been compromised that you experienced a breach.

Most likely, you will have prevented any legal action against your company in your terms and policies and this has to do with common decency, informing people that their data may be in danger and that they might want to report this to their credit card companies.

Closing Word

In essence, it is not that difficult to protect your ecommerce business against cyber attackers. Always go with large commerce platforms, be careful about independent apps and make sure your people know how to recognize and avoid social engineering scams. With growing ransomware and other attacks, cyber security for e-commerce has become a serious responsibility for any online bsuiness owner.

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