Understanding the eCommerce landscape can provide some insight into how important customer security is, but also how often its importance is overlooked.
Reciprocity, a compliance technology provider, describes the barriers to entry for eCommerce as low. As a result, retailers have to ensure they’re competing by having a deep understanding of their customers, and offering what they need at the right time and price.
To do so, eCommerce businesses need data and lots of it. eCommerce retailers also tend to want to keep their costs low, but they still need to be focused on security and compliance risks associated with their collection of data.
Some of the data retailers collect on a daily basis include names, credit card information, address, nationality, buying history, and sometimes age. When retailers have their own credit card program, they’re also collecting user IDs, passwords and credit histories.
With all of this data being circulated, what should eCommerce businesses know about keeping their customers safe and secure?
Collect the Least Amount of Data You Can
There’s this tendency that we see with not only online retailers, but websites and social media sites to collect a seemingly endless stream of data. You’re answering questions about your childhood as you sign up to read a single article, or at least it feels that way.
It’s important for retail businesses and all online businesses to understand there’s no value in collecting data just for the sake of doing it.
The more data you collect, the more you have to protect. There’s no reason to burden your online retail business in that way. Also, if something does happen and you’re a target of cybercriminals, the less information they get from you, the better.
Don’t Store Credit Card Information
First and foremost, online retailers need to be PCI compliant. You may think if you’re a really small business that you don’t have to worry about PCI compliance, but it’s not the case. Any business that allows credit card transactions has to be compliant. Otherwise they can face significant penalties.
Along with that, don’t store your customer’s credit card information. You don’t need to save them in your online server, and having that information isn’t PCI compliant. It can also cause huge problems if you’re the victim of cybercrime.
If you do store credit card information and you’re hacked, it’s likely going to destroy your brand, and you’re probably going to be on the hook for legal penalties.
Keep Your Site Up-To-Date
It’s important that along with growing your retail business day-to-day, you’re also regularly thinking about safety and security. If you’re using applications or different types of software that isn’t updated to the newest version, you’re leaving holes in your security that hackers can take advantage of.
What a lot of retail eCommerce business owners don’t realize is there’s software available that allows hackers to crawl websites and easily identify places where security is low.
In addition to software that you may use, also remember those apps that you might be using throughout your eCommerce site because they can represent a weakness as well.
As an online retailer, use SSL certificates on your checkout pages, and anywhere else your customers are entering their information. SSL is a way to help protect your customer’s traffic and information from theft.
SSL, along with adding an additional layer of security, also helps increase your brand’s trustworthiness in the eyes of your customer. Customers are going to feel more comfortable buying from your site if they see that “https” as part of your URL.
As well as SSL, encryption can be helpful for retail businesses. Encryption means that information isn’t accessible without a key.
Educate Yourself and Train Your Employees
A lot of small business owners don’t realize how many data breaches and related security issues are the result of human error. You need to regularly work on educating yourself to stay up-to-date with security threats and best practices. You should also train people who work for you.
Finally, choose a secure eCommerce platform. A lot of the top, well-known eCommerce platforms handle much of the security for you. You want a platform with the most advanced possible security features, and if you choose the right platform, they’re probably going to take care of a lot of the ongoing security issues for you. Most eCommerce platforms that are big names in the industry will keep up to date with PCI compliance as well. However, as was touched on above, even with the best platform you need to make sure you’re always using the newest, most updated version.