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Building and Maintaining a Secure eCommerce Site

There are virtually no barriers to entry into eCommerce at this point. It’s possible to secure inventory from online wholesalers, or even easier than that, work with dropshippers and maintain no inventory at all. Setting up an eCommerce site can be done in a matter of minutes, with no help from a professional developer and then you can advertise on social media with very little experience and a tiny budget.

As easy as it is to set up an eCommerce business, there are things that a lot of new entrepreneurs in the field don’t consider. One area that often isn’t looked at as a priority is security.

However, not having a secure eCommerce site and protecting your customer’s data can create financial and legal problems.

The following are some of the things every eCommerce business should keep in mind, as it pertains to security.

Third-Party Services

Third-party services are a primary way it’s so easy to become an eCommerce entrepreneur. Third-party services provide the features you need to incorporate all of the core functionalities of a successful eCommerce site.

For example, third-party services are how you’re doing things like analyzing your traffic and customers, accepting payments, getting reviews from customers, and implementing social strategies. This only scratches the surface of all the way third-party services are used in eCommerce.

However, there can be risks.

“The most important aspect of any vendor relationship, however, lies in your control over your own information,” writes Karen Walsh, of Reciprocity software.

The idea here is that when you’re entering into relationships with third-party services and vendors, you need to know how they do business. What are they going to do with your customer’s data, and how are they going to protect it? Be clear on the details before using any third-party service provider or beginning any new vendor relationship.

If you still don’t understand the importance of keeping control over third parties, keep in mind that 78 percent of code is provided and managed by third parties, according to Chris Olson of Digital Commerce 360.

PCI DSS Compliance

If you’re an online eCommerce entrepreneur, it’s up to you to make sure your site is PCI DSS compliant. This is a security standard for any business that accepts credit cards.

Another thing to keep in mind is the movement of your site to HTTPS if this is something you’re not already doing. To move an eCommerce site to HTTPS, you need an SSL certificate which you can obtain from a hosting company or vendor.

Then, you can install that on your site and change the settings.

With HTTPS, you’re not only going to be more secure, but it can help you with Google as well. Google utilizes HTTPS as one of their ranking signals. Of course, it also serves as a way to protect customer data and credit card information, so it’s a win-win for eCommerce retailers.

Reconsider Your eCommerce Hosting Service

A big component of a secure site versus one with problems is the eCommerce hosting service used. The hosting service you choose needs to have backup service so that you’re covered if a breach does occur.

You also want things like RAID data protection, and most eCommerce entrepreneurs feel a cloud-hosting platform offers them a combination of convenience and security.

Be Careful with the Data You Store

While you hear a lot about the importance of collecting customer data, especially so you can remarket to them, it’s essential to realize that storing too much customer data or sensitive customer data is just putting everyone at undue risk.

Only ask customers for what you need, and don’t store their credit card information on your website. What many eCommerce companies will do to prevent sensitive information from being stolen is using something called tokenization.

With tokenization, random numbers called tokens are created instead of customer information, which prevents credit card fraud.

Finally, if your site is one that uses login information and passwords, which it likely does if you’re selling products and services through the site, you need to think about customers are accessing their own information. You can be proactive when it comes to passwords, and send out emails on a regular basis asking customers to change their passwords. You can also set it up so that your customers create more secure and unique passwords. For example, if customers create passwords have them include at least eight characters including letters, numbers, symbols and upper and lowercase letters.