Money

Published on November 18th, 2015 | by Howard Bell

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Operating Online? Protect Your Finances

In recent years we have heard hundreds, if not thousands of stories of e-commerce websites that have been hacked. Online stores have been prime hacking targets in 2014, with more than 35% of all attacks being directed at them. When it comes to these stores, cyber criminals are mostly interested in databases that host card data, which can be easily used for fraudulent purposes. With e-commerce being one of the fastest growing industries, and hackers continuously trying to reach customer’s data, companies that sell their products and services online are developing advanced strategies for making their websites and databases less vulnerable to these attacks.

Use Secure Connections for Online Check-Outs

E-commerce and other websites that sell their products or services online should use strong Secure Socket Layer authentication for their check-out process. SSL certificates authenticate the identity of your business and encrypt all the data that’s in transit, including sensitive information concerning customer’s credit cards. Today there are also more complicated SSL-based security systems like Extended Validation Secure Socket Layers (EV SSL) and live verification services that prevent data breaches by comparing addresses entered online with the ones stored in the credit card company’s files.

Monitor Your Website Regularly

Advanced website analytics can also be used for monitoring your website for security purposes. There are lots of different tools like Woopra and Clicky that enable website administrators to watch how visitors navigate and interact with different website features. This is as close to web CCTV as we can get, and it can be used for detecting suspicious behavior and potentially fraudulent IP addresses. These tools can also send notifications to administrator’s smart phones in order for him/her to react in the fastest way possible. This kind of monitoring should also be done by hosting providers in order to make their servers safe and malware free.

Never Store Customer’s Credit Card Data

Companies often store customer’s data, especially for marketing purposes. This shouldn’t apply to sensitive data such as credit card numbers, expiration dates and card verification codes. This is strictly forbidden by the PCI standards, and any company that wants to be compliant needs to purge all old records from their databases. The general rule here is that if you have nothing hackers would like to steal, they won’t rob you.

Introduce Layered Security to Your Website

Layering your security is one of the best ways to keep your business safe from cyber crime. Firewalls should be the first defending line of any website security; on top of that you should add other security layers, like login boxes, contact forms and search queries. You also need to require more complex passwords from both your customers and your employees. All this together will protect your databases from app-level attacks, including cross-site scripting and SQL injections.

Use Different Secure Getaways

Most websites enable their customers to pay for products or services they have purchased with their credit or debit cards, but offering more secure payment getaways increases customer’s safety and makes the payment process much more convenient. There are lots of different payment getaways like Stripe and PayPal, but there are also more secure ones, like escrow, where money is being held by a third party until the deal is finalized. These payment getaways are especially useful for large transactions, because they come with very strict security and provide a safe environment for even the largest transactions.

Provide Security Training for Employees

Lots of data breaches happen because of human mistakes, when some of the e-commerce company’s employees reveal sensitive data through chat or sms messages, or any other non-secure method of communication. Employees need to be educated in the laws and policies that effect sensitive data, and trained to guard it from outside breaches. Each company should introduce strict written protocols and policies that will make employees do their best in making the company’s databases safe. They also need to be trained to react in a correct way during and after possible data breaches which will make these occurrences much less harmful.

Advanced online security is one of the most important criteria for any entrepreneur that wants to build a successful e-commerce business. Companies that struggle with data breaches regularly are usually avoided by customers, because they fear their personal and credit card data might end up in the wrong hands.


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