How to Protect Customer Data Online—For E-Commerce Stores

A part of running an ecommerce business means being entrusted with customer’s online data. Maintaining that trust to protect the data is of upmost importance not only for the sake of customer relationship but also to keep your business secure.  The ecommerce business facilitates its customers in ways unimaginable, but where this innovation made things relatively easier, its impeding security calls for something too.

The ITRC (Identity Theft Resource Center) reports 2015 to be the year when online data from industries had surges in security breaches. Since then, it has only fueled the fear of falling victim to data breaches in business owners. By the looks of present cyberterrorism, the annual growth rate in cybersecurity market will likely increase by 10.2% between now and 2023.

According to the statistics, it is the small business owners that suffer most from such attacks, which is due to the prevalent mindset that smaller ecommerce businesses are not vulnerable. Protecting customer data online must become a priority. How to do that when you are not a giant with big guns and much resources? Fret not, for I bring you six proven ways to protect online customer data.

1.                  Strengthen IT Infrastructure

A vital step, and in reach of everyone, is to get your house in order by keeping it up to date. What you can do is update your devices and systems with the latest Operating System you can grab your hands on. An updated OS will encompass tools and defense mechanisms to fight new threats that keep brewing. Add layers to your security by also keeping an updated firewall, trusted antivirus software and all of your applications updated as well.

2.                  Keep Only Relevant Data

A mistake is often made when unnecessary data is collected and stored for long periods of time. Avoid storing sensitive information taken from customers and opt for minimalism when collecting user data. Determine a shelf life to be more secure. The chances of you being robbed will drop more when you have less to offer to the thief. This includes sensitive payment information which to my advice, is best left to the third party apps such as PayPal, etc. They are better equipped and armed to deal with security issues regarding payment information breaches, thereby hindering identity theft.

3.                  Stronger Passwords

Users make themselves vulnerable when they keep simple, short and only alphabetic or numeric passwords. You can put restrictions and demand passwords tailored in such a way that they are at least 9-keyed or more including alphabets, numerical and having at least one special character. This requirement will help you stop easy breach in user profile and their data. It’s no hard math – the harder the password is the more secure will be the data it guards.

Not only you should get tough with users setting up stronger passwords but also be firm with yourself and your employees. You or your employees are as susceptible to cyberattacks as your customers. Since the information goes both ways you must be cautious and vigilant.

You might also like to read: How To Create A Convenient Customer Experience?

4.                  Use SSL Certificates

Adding an additional layer of security can be done via SSL certificates. The data exchanged between a server and webserver is encrypted through Secured Sockets Layers (SSL) certificates. A SSL configuration will amplify the credibility of an ecommerce website and this will be visible to customers in the form of a green padlock right beside the URL of the store’s address. This is the best online security you can avail in order to protect your website from malicious intent and score trustworthiness from users. While it makes a website secure, it also makes the website PSI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant, which basically means you can transfer money transactions with ease knowing it is solid and secured.

5.                  Add Security to Mobile Devices

A company’s employees can turn out to be the biggest threat to the company itself. The irresponsible behavior or lack of security on the employee personnel such as mobile devices may result in security breaches. Add encryption to not only mobile devices but also hard disks and laptops. For if they are ever stolen, fallen into wrong hands accidently or being cyber attacked, encryption will keep your client data from being misused. 

6.                  Two-factor Authentication

Phishing is a common fraudulent practice among hackers to gain your sensitive information such as user credential that reveals bank details, etc. You can incorporate a two-factor authentication (2FA) to put a hindrance in hackers attempt to steal user data. 2FA is a combo of a username/password and a code generated in real time which is sent to a trusted device from which you can verify your identification in a more secure way. Your password may be cracked by an adamant hacker but this real time code verification is something they cannot hack.

You can never be careful enough in this age, but if you use methods described above such as 2FA, SSL certificates, using stronger passwords and encrypting information you may be successful in eluding the malicious hackers from stealing and breaking your client’s trust in keeping data secure.

          Author Bio

 Emma Megan is a passionate tech blogger at Mars Technology, a Virginia based Data Security and Cyber security Company. She is passionate about technology and loves to analyze the tech industry in her spare time and stay in touch with the latest happenings.

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