Bruce Schneier, a famous American cryptographer, computer security professional, privacy specialist, and writer, once said: “Security is a process, not a product.”
We completely agree with this quote and decided to research different kinds of business philosophies and cybersecurity approaches. We also provide examples that show the importance of security maintenance for any business, but especially for ecommerce.
Security should be among the most critical priorities for your business.
Unfortunately, sometimes the security aspects are ignored. Some entrepreneurs try to save money by not including it in the list of things that they need to do. Most often, this happens because the owners of small businesses don’t see themselves as targets. Nevertheless, victims of cyberattacks can be businesses of all sizes and specifics. According to the Hiscox Small Business Cyber Risk Report, nearly half of small businesses in the US have suffered from a cyberattack in 2018.
Business owners may also think that it’s cheaper to restore the functioning of the business after a security incident than to spend resources on security maintenance regularly. In fact, it’s not. As reported by Hiscox, the average cost of cyber incidents for small businesses in 2018 reached $34,604, while for large companies, it was $1.05 million.
Of course, it’s impossible to protect yourself from danger or threat completely. But precautions will help to predict and manage possible risks in the future. In preparing for the risks, a business can be ready to face, remediate, and recover from any danger.
Security For Ecommerce Sites
If we are speaking about ecommerce, we should remember that it is a specific kind of business that faces a particular list of threats.
The main features of ecommerce businesses are ubiquity, global reach, universal standards, information density, and personalization. An entrepreneur faces specific threats because their business can be reached by thousands of malicious users from all over the world. Moreover, business owners often face the problem of following different kinds of universal or country-specific standards.
In such a situation, a business should place having a security management system among the most priority to-do’s.
Ecommerce Security Requirements
Let’s check out a few examples of business aspects that need additional attention.
- Website workability. Your website is usually one of your main sales channels. Imagine if you lost it, or your site was broken for the long term. Each hour of downtime would have a massive impact on your business and possibly cost a considerable amount of money.
- Private data of customers. Usually, ecommerce requires receiving and processing clients’ private information after they give us permission for this. We are also responsible for their safety. Private information is an object of legal defense in the US, the European Union, and in the majority of developed countries. When processing personal data, it’s necessary to take maximum measures to protect it and not allow third-parties to gain access to such data. Otherwise, you may find your company in court or fined.
To find out more about related laws, you can explore the regulations protecting the personal data of EU citizens in our article “GDPR Compliance Checklist for Online Merchants.”
- Credit card information safety. Online payments and credit cards are an integral part of the ecommerce business. That’s why the owner of the website takes the sole responsibility for their safety and proper usage. If a company inherits and ignores safety standards in a way that results in a data leak, it becomes subject to penalties from regulatory authorities.
The most common payment card security standard is PCI DSS. It consists of several requirements for ensuring the security of cardholders’ data, which is transferred, stored, and processed.
The business aspects that are mentioned above are the main vectors of cyberattacks. According to a 2012 Sophos Security Threat Report, 30,000 websites are hacked every day on average. While some big brands may be specifically targeted, cybercriminals generally use highly effective computer software programs to automatically detect vulnerable sites, regardless of how big or small they are.
Thus, it’s clear that without a proper security system, any ecommerce business sooner or later could face unexpected and devastating impacts from the threats. On the other hand, being prepared for the dangers and having a security management system for your website could mitigate any possible damage from these cybersecurity risks.
How To Secure Your Website
We strongly recommend you take the following steps to keep your ecommerce business safe:
- Use safe and modern web platforms for your business. There are many ecommerce platforms to choose from these days. Your choice shouldn’t be limited only to functionality, but also to the fact that the platform has an excellent reputation for security and updates. The critical point here is to realize that if your website works well, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to be maintained and updated.
- Update your platform with secure hardware regularly. To reduce security risks to a minimum, a holistic approach is required. Security threats are a result of the various interaction points that an application provides to the external world. For example, our engineers use the Bastion tool on various ecommerce projects to improve infrastructure security and withstand attacks on the system from the outside. You could explore more information about Bastion usage in our case study that explains how we created a heavy load architecture for the online clothing store.
- Backup your data. There are manual ways to backup our data, but the danger here is that it could be forgotten, or you could fall out of the habit of doing it regularly. That’s no use to anyone. The best solution is to automate it, which means you can sleep safe in the knowledge that your data is backed up, secure, and up to date.
- Maintain minimum required access to your system. Your staff should be able to access only the necessary zones of your business.
- Provide regular external and internal security audits of your systems. These could include both physical and informational layers. Conducting an internal security audit is a great way to get your company on the right track towards protecting against a data breach and other costly security threats.
Apart from offering development and web design, we also help ecommerce businesses grow online. We carry out extensional audits, including security ones, to show the particular business bottlenecks and give recommendations to improve the performance. If you have any questions about external and internal security audits, please fill out the contact form. We will get in touch with you soon.
- Have emergency plans ready. Make sure that you already have documents outlining steps to follow in case of an emergency. It’s best always to be prepared for eventualities such as fire, robbery, floods, etc. Even if it sounds cheesy, regularly performing drills will pay-off and are sometimes required by fire prevention or insurance agencies.
Assuming everything above, we can state that ecommerce as a specific business activity has advantages and some additional requirements to be secure and stable. Business owners should remember that security is a process, not a one-time investment. Maintaining strong protections for your business can yield valuable results, but this is only true if security is a day to day activity for your ecommerce business.
We’re grateful to Alexander Kozyr for help in preparing and writing this article.