5 Security Essentials for Ecommerce Sites

Dianna Labrien

You work hard to get your customers to your checkout page. You offer quality products, invested money in a good marketing campaign, and set up a great website for displaying your wares and work hard on getting more customers on board. However, there's another important element of conversion you need to consider – customer security.

When a customer enters their personal information and financial information they are literally entrusting you with their identity. You’ve also witnessed what it’s like when hackers get too sensitive data and destroy that trust. Over the past few years, several online and brick and mortar retailers have lost private and financial data because hackers were able to breach their internet security systems.

Over the past few years, several online and brick and mortar retailers have lost private and financial data because hackers were able to breach their internet security systems.Could you recover if this happened to you? Why take the chance? Instead, take a look at these 5 security essentials for ecommerce sites.

Have a System in Place for Purging Customer Data

The best way to ensure that your data is not vulnerable to hackers is simply to not keep that data around. Get rid of old customer data on a regular basis. Then, only keep the information that you need to track packages, issue refunds and credits, and to chargeback accounts. Obviously, you will need to retain names, addresses, and emails for marketing purposes, but it is important to think long and hard about what information you keep storing and why.

Insist On Customers Using Strong Passwords

If a customer information gets hacked, they are not going to care that their lack of oversight might have contributed to the issue. All that will matter to them is that their information was compromised and that they lost money because of it. It might seem unfair, but you’re going to have to save customers from themselves. Set up strict password rules that force customers to use capital letters, special characters, and to have long passwords. In fact, you might consider forcing them to use a password phrase.

Use SSL and Ensure That You Are PCI Compliant

Strong SSL authentication is a must have to keep your website and data protected. SSL also prompts customers that your website is secure enough to grant their credit card data. You should also take the time to ensure that all your financial operations are PCI compliant. If you do not do these two things, you risk losing trust and losing business.

Select a Secure Ecommerce Platform

Do your research before committing to a certain ecommerce platform. Ideally, it should be based on an object-oriented programming language with respective built-in security protocols. If you opt to use WordPress as your platform, select a WordPress security plugin that will add an extra layer of protection to your site. Remember that e-commerce platforms are never one size fits all. Do your research to find one that fits your business needs.

Train Your Employees to be Vigilant About Security

The truth is – a lot of the fraud that occurs is due to human error. People simply don’t understand what might create a vulnerability. For example, a customer support rep may reveal an account number during a live support chat or on social media. Another might give a login and password over the phone to somebody who claims to have forgotten theirs. A third employee might receive a phishing email, not recognize it for what it is, and respond with sensitive information.

This can be avoided by establishing strict policies related to privacy and security, training employees in these policies, and providing regular refresher courses. It is also a good idea to ensure that only those who need to have access to sensitive information actually have it.

Build trust with your customers by taking the steps necessary to protect their personal and financial information. This will help to ensure them that they are safe each time they hit the checkout button.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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