New to ecommerce? Here’s your guide to basic ecommerce website security

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While South Africa’s ecommerce industry has more than doubled in the last two years, it’s no surprise that more SMEs are taking their storefronts online. It is the ideal time to take the leap, not only because consumers are more familiar and comfortable purchasing online than they used to be, but because it’s easier than it’s ever been to build a website.

With the likes of DIY web builders and third-party payment processes that are easy to integrate, entrepreneurs can get online and start selling in less than 24 hours.

Setting up is relatively simple, but to ensure a smooth and risk-free journey for both you and your customers, you need to protect your website and all the data it holds against cyber-attacks. SMEs are often left vulnerable as resources are tight, but there are a number of basics that every website owner can employ, that won’t break the new business bank.

Choose a secure ecommerce platform

Right off the bat you can get initial security set up with the ecommerce platform you choose. A reliable web builder provider will offer you security measures that get your website off to the best possible start. Find a provider that offers the following:

– SSL certificate

With an SSL certificate you can ensure all data that is sent and received via your website is encrypted, and that would result in a data breach if it got into the wrong hands. With encryption, even if the data is leaked it cannot be deciphered.

– Secure payment gateway

Facilitating secure payment processes for customers is vital to building a positive experience. Choose a provider that offers the integration of a robust third-party payment portal that uses 3D secure. This is a feature where additional steps are added to the payment process to authenticate the cardholder performing the action.

Be sticky about passwords

Remembering a number of different passwords for different platforms isn’t always looked on favourably by consumers, but ensuring your website visitors have unique passwords that are a bit more complicated than their pet’s name or birth date, will keep you one step ahead of hackers. 

As many consumers use the same password for each account they hold, if that one password is discovered it can be used to infiltrate their account for your website. Requiring a complex password from customers will ensure their data safety as they browse your website.

Store personal data securely

With the recent introduction of the PoPI Act, it’s more important than ever to store customer data (including names, email address and banking details) as safely as possible. It’s also important not to store old customer data after a certain period of time has passed. In an age of transparency, ensure that the data you collect is securely backed up via your web hosting provider.

Do your updates

It’s easy to ignore those update notifications, particularly when they pop up during meetings or while you’re focusing on a task, but software updates are vital to keeping your security at its peak. These updates most often come with bug fixes, patches for potential vulnerabilities or vital feature updates that enhance your software’s abilities. 

Use a virtual private network

If you want to go a step further, a virtual private network or VPN is a useful tool to enhance your website security. A VPN encrypts your entire connection, and ensures that any information transported internally or externally is undecipherable to hackers, no matter your device or location.

In summary, keep your ecommerce website secure with the following basics:

  1. Choose a reliable ecommerce platform that offers an SSL and payment authentication
  2. Ensure customers use unique passwords
  3. Ensure data backup and storage is done securely via your web hosting provider
  4. Never ignore updates
  5. Use a VPN.


[Image – Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash]



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