When considering entering the e-commerce sphere one of the single most important things to consider is internet security. Have the best in security measures ensures that your clients can trust that their financial details, credit card and other sensitive information remains confidential and is transferred via secure channels across the internet.
Your clients want to know that they can have full confidence when shopping on your website. In fact, with recent changes to internet browsers like Google Chrome, secure websites are identifiable to users immediately while insecure websites flash a warning. If you haven’t taken the necessary measures to ensure that you’re safeguarding your online shoppers’ transactions you will indeed run the risk of losing valuable customers. Not to mention your business’ reputation and bottom line will be in jeopardy.
If you’re new to the e-commerce world and you’re looking to start an online store then you’ve come to the right place. If you’re an existing e-entrepreneur then this is more of a security refresher.
In this article, we will outline the must-have security needs to safeguard your client’s shopping carts, transactions, sensitive information and your website from cybercriminals. We will also discuss payment methods and the securest options amount them.
Top-Notch Security & PCI Compliance
Operating an online business is just as hectic as running a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ operation. There are various precautions you must take to safeguard not only your clients’ financial information but your business’ financial and website data as well. Having an ironclad security detail will save you thousands of pounds in clean-up and legal fees if your site was breached by a hacker or cybercriminal. What’s more, is you can find yourself in very hot water with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard if your website is not PCI compliant and ensures secured payments.
The PCI Data Security Standards help protect the safety of financial data. They set the operational and technical requirements for organizations and businesses accepting or processing payment transactions, and for software developers and manufacturers of applications and devices used in those financial transactions. Maintaining the utmost in payment security is serious business. It is imperative that every entity responsible for the security of sensitive cardholder data diligently follows the PCI Data Security Standards.
PCI Security Standards
Maintenance of a Secured Network
- Installation and maintenance of a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data.
- Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters be sure to change them regularly using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
Protection of Cardholder Data
- Secure and protect stored cardholder data.
- Ensure encrypted transmission of cardholder data across open and public networks.
Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program Regularly
- Use and regularly update anti-virus software or programs and website monitoring tools.
- Maintain secure systems and applications
Implement Strong Access Control Measures for Staff
- Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know for any staff.
- Assign a unique ID to each member of staff with computer access
- Restrict physical access to cardholder data consider authorization protocols.
Regularly Monitor and Test Networks
- Keep track as well as monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data for staff.
- Regularly test security systems and processes along with website monitoring reports.
Maintain an Information Security Policy
- Maintain a policy that addresses data security for employees and contractors.
While the list may seem daunting at first glance, ensuring that your e-commerce store is PCI Compliant is easier than you think with a few tools and systems from your hosting provider. A trusted hosting provider has cyber warehouse chock full of features and systems that can satisfy your website’s security and monitoring needs. You simply have to utilize them.
If you’re serious about e-commerce and having a thriving online store then our word of advice is to not treat this list as an optional take-away. Everything listed below is necessary to safeguard online transactions, remain PCI compliant, and guarantee your reputation as a trusted brand remains intact.
1. SSL Certificates
Having an encrypted connection is tantamount to your website security arsenal. In fact, SSL Certificates are your first line of defence. Moreover, it is now a requirement beyond e-commerce websites that SSL Certificates are used. SSL gives your URL the trusted ‘https’ for a secure connection.
With SSL encryption the following are passed through the internet, sever to sever, over a secured network:
- Financial transactions online
- Customer login details and data input on web forms.
- Information sent over mobile devices
- And much more.
SSL Certificates is a compulsory requirement for PCI Compliance and therefore a must-have for all online stores.
2. Website Monitoring Tools
If a security breach happens you need to be notified immediately to resolve the situation fast. This ensures that your business is secured along with all of its data which includes customer information. Using a monitoring tool is akin to having your own personal virtual IT team assigned to your website. Monitoring not only keeps tabs on the health of your website but it can also ensure your security is holding firm.
3. Fire Wall & Internet Security
In the same way that your personal computer needs a firewall and internet security so does your website. These ensure that there are no hackers and cybercriminals sniffing around your website’s defences checking for chinks in its armour in order to launch an assault. Your hosting provider will have a plethora of internet security measures available to you when you purchase hosting. Discuss enhanced security measures with Technical support.
4. Switch to Managed VPS Hosting
As your e-commerce store flourishes you will need a more vigorous hosting solution that can handle the traffic, give you more space and power, and come packed with its own security detail. With Managed VPS you not only get a virtual private server all to yourself, but you also get a built-in firewall and added internet security. Having a private server for your website makes things much more secure. An added bonus is that with a managed account your hosting provider does all the heavy lifting for you. You can have specialized software installed and maintained easily ensuring the security of your website.
Secure Payment Methods
Now that we’ve covered PCI Compliance and crucial security methods let’s discuss alternative payment methods you can receive that add an additional level of security for you and the customer. While cardholders usually have no qualms about tapping out their details on a trusted and secure site, having other options boosts your credibility and widens the scope of payment services you offer.
Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) allows EU customers from 28 EU countries to use one form of payment without incurring unnecessary banking fees when shopping country to country. Or in this case with websites located throughout the EU. It includes debit and credit cards and ensures quick transfers between banks.
Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are becoming increasingly popular as a mode of payment online. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that has no physical cash form. One of the brilliant aspects of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is that it is a secure form of payment due to the authentication associated with the nature of it. Bitcoin allows instant and secure transactions.
Started by Elon Musk, PayPal is an online platform that allows you to complete transactions securely with your digital wallet. You can also connect your PayPal account with your bank account, credit or debit card directly. A lot of smaller e-commerce sites redirect payments through PayPal to ensure encrypted payments.
Without a shadow of a doubt, anyone that is serious about having an online storefront must be equally serious about safeguarding online financial transactions for their prospective clients and ensuring they are PCI Compliant and have a myriad of payment options available. Internet Security is tantamount to any online businesses success. So, don’t treat it lightly. Building your business as a trusted brand starts with a secure line of defence.