Online safety is critical when you’re serving e-commerce customers. If proper protocols aren’t followed, e-commerce sites can easily fall prey to cybersecurity breaches, which may expose private customer information.
These security breaches can cost your company both in money and in customer loyalty, so it’s essential to prioritize shoppers’ online safety. To help you secure your consumers’ shopping experience, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council outline the key security steps companies should take with their e-commerce sites.
1. Always Use A Payment Provider
Never store credit cards yourself. Always use a payment provider like Stripe that will take the liability away from you. People can live with losing their email address, although they don't like it; what people won't forgive you for is if you lose their credit card information. Even if you're not selling products, but rather recurring subscriptions, there are payment providers that will store this information and manage all of it for you. Taking this step is especially important as an early-stage startup before you have the resources in place to get proper security software and internal IT security personnel. - Andy Karuza, Base64.ai
2. Create Best Practices
It's all about data privacy. Even people who know about data privacy don't fully understand how valuable it is. Find standard best practices for making sure your customers’ data is secure on your website. Be transparent about your policy with it. This doesn't just protect your consumers—it protects you as well. - Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
3. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
One of the best ways to keep your customers safe online is to enable multi-factor authentication for returning visitors. We always ask our customers to register with their phone number or email address so we can confirm their identity before they make a purchase from our site. This tip helps us track who is accessing our site and from where. I believe being mindful of how users log in can dramatically improve e-commerce safety and security for shoppers around the globe. - Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
4. Use Fraud Prevention Tools
You need to make the most of fraud-checking and virus protection software. When you're dealing with other people's money, you need to take every step you possibly can to ensure that all transactions are completed as safely as possible. Nothing will ruin trust in a company faster than a data breach, and nothing will lose you money faster than having to compensate burned customers. If you predominantly sell online, you need to stay on top of cybersecurity. Hackers, sadly, are only getting more sophisticated with their tactics, so you need to do the same. Fraud prevention tools in particular can protect both you and your clients from falling victim, so it's a beneficial investment for everybody involved. - Nick Venditti, StitchGolf
5. Look Beyond Native Security
Most companies need to take the time to look beyond the native security of the platform they are using. The website-building sites like Squarespace or WordPress and popular store-building sites like WooCommerce or Shopify make it easy to set up an e-commerce store, but the security they come packaged with leaves a lot to be desired. While some of these sites (like Shopify) are a bit better about native security than others, they all have security plug-ins or third-party security features that you can add. The farther away you can get from a generic security setup, the less likely you or your customers are to be victimized. - Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group LLC
6. Install An SSL Certificate
Having an e-commerce site automatically comes with the responsibility to keep your customers safe from intrusive hackers. One security step companies should take is keeping private information secure by installing an SSL certificate. This is a tool that encrypts data that's in transit from the customer's browser to the server of the payment processing site. In other words, it's preventing a customer's personal information from getting stolen. For example, my company accepts payment through third-party processors like Shopify Pay. An SSL certificate prevents hackers from stealing payment information in the process of them making a purchase. - Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.
7. Educate Your Customers
As business owners, it's our duty to protect our customers’ information online—but you need to understand that your customers might not know how to do it. So, educating them about cybersecurity is extremely important. Remind them to change their password and access credentials from time to time, back up their data regularly, install authorized software, etc. You can also send them relevant newsletters that help them learn more about keeping their data safe online. - Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
8. Keep Everything Up To Date
There are quite a number of things an e-commerce store needs to do to keep its customers safe and feeling safe. That includes being safe as a business because if you get hacked as an e-commerce site especially, it'll be hard to convince your customers that they'll be safe buying from your website even if they themselves weren't affected personally. I'll say that you, your staff and your customers should be security conscious. Build your site on trusted and tested internet infrastructure. And when you do, keep the place up to date. Hackers are crawling the net looking for opportunities to destroy businesses. And they've learned to target small ones that think hacks happen to big corporations only. Small businesses are easy targets. - Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
9. Invest In A Quality Hosting Provider
An e-commerce site's safety depends heavily on the hosting provider they use. New business owners may think that it's a good idea to use cheap shared hosting, but this option becomes expensive in the long run. You also want to use a good hosting provider that can upgrade your usage and solve technical issues fast. Such providers are proactive when it comes to monitoring threats and security issues. Start by investing in a reliable hosting platform or make the switch to a good one fast. It'll reflect in the speed of your website and will help protect your site and customers from data breaches. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
Image: Courtesy of The Individual Members
Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.