Concerns over digital security on eCommerce websites are hardly new, but recent news about successful hacking attempts on large company sites are certainly alarming.
You probably heard about Target’s data loss, and there was also recent news about a database breach that impacted Marriott hotels in Denver, Austin, Chicago, and other large cities. Not only can hacking disrupt your business, it can also generate plenty of negative PR for your company.
Your small or medium-sized business may not have the resources of a national or international company, but you should still consider taking these seven steps that can help keep your online business running smoothly.
1. Force users to generate strong passwords. Good passwords should not be common words or sequences of letters and numbers. They should also contain a mix of upper case, lower case, numbers, and possibly, other characters.
2. Keep software updated. Hopefully, you chose eCommerce software from a reliable source with a dedication to staying ahead of hackers, but that will only help you if you keep up with software updates.
3. Limit login attempts. Everybody mistypes their password once in awhile, but hackers run software that can generate thousands of password attempts in a very short time. Most large eCommerce or financial sites force members to take a 15 minute break or call for assistance after three to five failed login attempts.
4. Keep your files backed up. Just in case the worst happens, and a hacker does manage to damage your website, you will be happy to have recent backups to help you restore everything to normal very quickly. Good hosting plans may include this service.
5. Work with a reliable website hosting company. Some eCommerce software gets hosted by the software company, but most has an option to use your own hosting company. Be certain that your company routinely monitors their servers for signs of hacking attempts and knows how to help you in case you do attract unwanted attention.
6. Consider cloud hosting for protection against a DDOS. A DDOS, or denial of service attack, can bring your website to its knees. Cloud hosting companies may be able to automatically detect these attacks and move your site to another location automatically until the attacker can get isolated and blocked. CloudFlare, a large cloud hosting company, explains how their solution can give you protection that you may not find on traditional hosting.
7. Get an SSL certificate. SSL provides another layer of protection. You may have noticed that when you login in to some secure websites, the URL starts with https:// instead of just http://. Another advantage of having an SSL certificate is that some case studies, like the ones Symantic Corporation mentions, report increased conversions when potential customers see the website is secure.
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