Securing Your Ecommerce Website: Essential Safety Features
In today’s digital-dominant landscape, e-commerce is a key factor of the marketplace. The growth of online businesses brings an inevitable rise in potential cyber threats, making comprehensive security measures essential for e-commerce websites looking to protect their customers’ data and business resources. Despite this potential risk, many Americans – nearly one in six – shop online monthly. Ecommerce websites are sometimes more vulnerable to attacks than brick-and-mortar stores, so extra measures must be taken to keep these sites secure for customers.
In this article, we will explore the top 8 e-commerce security features that all businesses should prioritize for maximum protection.
Top 8 Essential Security Features Your Ecommerce Website Needs
1. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate:
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is a critical security feature that every e-commerce website should have. It is an encryption protocol that secures the connection between the user’s browser and the web server, protecting any sensitive information that is transmitted between the two.
The SSL certificate creates a secure connection by encrypting the data that is transmitted between the user’s browser and the web server, ensuring that any information exchanged is protected from eavesdropping, tampering, or interception by hackers. When purchasing an SSL certificate, you should be familiar with SHA1, SHA2, and SHA256 encryption algorithms. These algorithms are used to securely encrypt data & ensure that data integrity is maintained.
In addition to protecting sensitive information, having an SSL certificate also builds trust and confidence in your website visitors. Visitors can easily identify a website that has an SSL certificate by looking for the “https” prefix in the URL, as well as a padlock icon displayed in the web browser’s address bar. This tells them that the website is secure, and that any information they provide is protected. Want to make sure your website is safe and secure? Use an SSL Checker Tool! This tool verifies that your server’s SSL Certificate is correctly installed and trusted on your web server.
2. Regular Software Updates
Regular software updates are critical for maintaining the security of your e-commerce website. Updates can include bug fixes, performance improvements, and most importantly, security patches that address known vulnerabilities in the software.
Hackers are continually searching for security holes in popular software and exploiting them to gain access to sensitive information. Therefore, it is essential to keep all software, including your e-commerce platform, content management system, and any third-party plugins or tools, up to date.
Software vendors regularly release updates to address security issues and to improve the overall performance of their products. Failing to apply these updates can leave your website vulnerable to cyber-attacks, including malware infections, data breaches, and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
The best way to ensure that you are always up to date with the latest software updates is to have an automated system in place that checks for updates and applies them as soon as they become available. This can be achieved using automated patch management software, which can detect and apply software updates automatically without any manual intervention.
3. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a security mechanism that requires two forms of identification to verify a user’s identity. This provides an extra layer of security beyond a simple password, which can be vulnerable to hacking and other security breaches.
Typically, 2FA requires a user to provide two of the following three types of identification:
- Something you know, such as a password or PIN.
- Something you have, such as a security token or smartphone.
- Something you are, such as a biometric identifier like a fingerprint or face scan.
When a user logs into a system with 2FA enabled, they first enter their password as usual. Then, the system prompts the user to provide a second form of identification, such as a security token or a biometric scan. Only when both forms of identification are provided correctly can the user gain access to the system.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is widely used to secure online accounts, including banking, email, social media, and other sensitive information. It is an important tool for protecting users against identity theft, fraud, and other cyber-attacks.
4. Regular Backups
Backups ensure that your website data is protected in case of a security breach, system failure, or other unexpected events. If your website data is lost or compromised, backups can help you quickly restore your website to its previous state, minimizing the impact on your business and customers.
There are several backup options available for e-commerce websites, including:
- Manual backups: You can create manual backups of your website by downloading all the files and databases manually to a local system. While this option is time-consuming, it can be useful for small websites with limited data.
- Automated backups: Many hosting providers offer automated backup solutions, which can be scheduled to run at specific intervals. This ensures that your website is backed up regularly without any manual intervention.
- Cloud-based backups: Cloud-based backup solutions store your website data in secure cloud servers, providing an additional layer of protection in case of hardware failure or other disasters.
To safeguard your valuable data, it is imperative to securely store and regularly test your backups so that you can quickly restore them in the event of a disruption. Furthermore, having multiple backups stored in different locations can provide extra assurance that your information stays safe from disasters, thievery, or other incidents that may affect your records.
5. Firewall Protection
Firewall protection is a security feature that helps to prevent unauthorized access to your e-commerce website. A firewall acts as a barrier between your website and the internet, monitoring and filtering incoming and outgoing network traffic to prevent malicious activity.
Firewalls can be hardware or software-based, and they work by analysing incoming network traffic to determine whether it is legitimate or malicious. If the traffic is deemed to be malicious, the firewall will block it, preventing it from reaching your website. It can also be configured to allow or block specific types of traffic based on a set of predefined rules. For example, you can configure your firewall to block traffic from specific IP addresses or to allow traffic only from trusted sources.
Implementing a firewall is an essential security measure for e-commerce websites, it helps to protect your website from various cyber-attacks, like DDoS attacks, malware infections, & data breaches. Firewalls can also help to protect your website from common vulnerabilities and attacks, like SQL injection or cross-site scripting (XSS).
Most web hosting providers offer basic firewall security, but it is recommended to use a dedicated firewall or a cloud-based Web Application Firewall (WAF) for the maximized protection. These solutions provide advanced features and capabilities to keep your website safe from a wide range of cyber threats.
6. Payment Gateway Security
Payment gateway security is an essential security feature for every e-commerce website that accepts online payments. A payment gateway is a service that processes online payments & ensures that sensitive financial information, like credit card numbers and other payment details, is kept secure.
To ensure payment gateway security, e-commerce websites should implement the following security measures:
- Encryption: Payment gateway transactions should be encrypted using SSL/TLS certificate encryption standards. This ensures that sensitive information, like credit card numbers, is transmitted securely & cannot be intercepted by unauthorized parties.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance: The PCI DSS is a set of security standards designed to ensure that companies that process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. E-commerce websites that accept online payments must be compliant with the PCI DSS to ensure that their customers’ credit card data is protected.
- Tokenization: Tokenization is a process that replaces sensitive payment information, such as credit card numbers, with a unique token that cannot be used for any other purpose. This helps to protect customer data from theft or misuse, as the token has no value to hackers.
- Fraud detection: Payment gateways should have fraud detection systems in place to identify and prevent fraudulent transactions. These systems use machine learning algorithms and other techniques to analyse transactions and identify any suspicious activity.
- Third-party verification: E-commerce websites should work with reputable payment gateway providers that have third-party verification and certification. This helps to ensure that the payment gateway provider is following best practices and maintaining a secure environment for online payments.
7. Restricted Access to Sensitive Data
Restricted access to sensitive data ensures that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data, such as customer information, payment details, and order history.
Here are some measures that e-commerce websites can take to restrict access to sensitive data:
- Role-based access control: Role-based access control (RBAC) is a security model that restricts access to sensitive data based on the roles and responsibilities of individuals within the organization. This means that employees can only access data that is relevant to their job function.
- Multi Factor authentication: Multi Factor authentication (MFA) is an authentication process that requires users to provide two or more forms of identification, such as a password and a fingerprint or a security token. This adds an extra layer of security and helps to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data.
- Strong password policies: E-commerce websites should have strong password policies in place, such as requiring employees to create complex passwords that are changed regularly. This helps to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data through password guessing or brute force attacks.
- Regular security audits: E-commerce websites should conduct regular security audits to identify and address any vulnerabilities in their systems. This helps to ensure that sensitive data is protected and that the website is compliant with relevant regulations and standards.
By implementing measures such as role-based access control, multi factor authentication, strong password policies, encryption, and regular security audits, e-commerce websites can protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access, reducing the risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks.
8. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers that are distributed geographically and work together to provide faster delivery of website content to users.
Here are some of the benefits of using a CDN for an e-commerce website:
- Faster website loading times: CDNs cache website content on multiple servers, which means that users can access the content from the server closest to their location. This results in faster loading times, which is crucial for e-commerce websites that want to provide a seamless user experience.
- Improved website reliability: CDNs use load balancing technology to distribute website traffic across multiple servers. This helps to prevent website downtime due to server overload, which can result in lost sales and damage to the reputation of the e-commerce website.
- Protection against DDoS attacks: CDNs can provide additional security against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. By spreading traffic across multiple servers, CDNs can help absorb and mitigate the impact of DDoS attacks.
- Enhanced website security: CDNs can provide additional security features, such as web application firewalls and intrusion detection systems. These features help to protect e-commerce websites from cyber threats, such as SQL injection attacks and cross-site scripting.
- Global website reach: CDNs have servers distributed worldwide, which means that e-commerce websites can serve customers in different regions more efficiently. This is critical for e-commerce websites that want to expand their customer base and grow their business.
By using a CDN, e-commerce websites can improve website performance, reliability, and security, and provide a better user experience for their customers.
In summary, e-commerce websites provide great value for businesses. To ensure their customers’ data and financial information remain safe, retailers must equip their e-commerce sites with robust security measures. These include flood protection from DDoS attacks, malware scanning, and data encryption. Doing so will give customers peace of mind that their data and payment details are secure while shopping on the website and strengthen the brand’s reputation in the process.