The holidays are here, and according to the JLL 2019 Retail Holiday Survey, more than half of shoppers plan to buy something for themselves this holiday season.
But with it also comes the rise of online purchase scams, which exposes you and your customers’ online identity. Not to mention that it can even drain your wallet. Experian’s 2018 survey revealed that 43 percent of customer identity theft during the holidays happened while they were doing their shopping online.
Nobody wants to get ripped off, especially during these most festive times of the year. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can protect yourself while doing your holiday shopping online.
Scan your website for possible vulnerabilities
Apart from executing a website hosting comparison, there are various ways you can do to boost the security of your site.
Scan your site for possible malware. For instance, Qualys’ Vulnerability Management solution will scan your website and network for potential vulnerabilities, helping you have a pre-emptive solution.
There’s also Symantec’s Web Security solution that will help you identify possible vulnerabilities in your site, and will even send you a warning.
Implement HTTPS across the entire website
With the technology becoming more and more advanced, a smart move is to protect your site from hackers, malware, and other negative things that will harm both you and your customers’ privacy.
That’s why a best practice is switching to a more secure protocol like HTTPS. It’s a better version of HTTP, especially if customers are giving you sensitive information like their credit card and other personal details.
But it’s also good that you secure information in all your pages.
Review all plugins and third-party integrations
Make an inventory of all the third-party solutions that you’re using in your e-commerce store. If you’re no longer using some of these integrations, then it’s best to remove them in your store.
The idea here is to limit the number of third-party integrations that can access your data. Keep only those that can help propel your business to move forward.
Don’t forget about DDoS
With the rise of the size and complexity of DDoS or distributed denial of service attacks, your businesses should consider improving upstream service providers to protect DNS and web servers.
A cloud-based approach for both DDoS protection and DNS management gives an alternative that’s cost-effective to maintaining uptime.
Store necessary customer data only
It’s easier to secure your customers’ data if you only store what is essential. The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council recommends that you eliminate all the unnecessary customer data.
Some examples of your customers’ data are the cardholders’ name, primary account number, and expiration date of the card. Doing so allows you to minimize risk, as well as decrease the amount of data that needs protection.
Limit access to customer information
Your team might be trustworthy, but they’re human, too. Phishing and other schemes that exploit human psychology and other habits that gain access to sensitive information, especially with your customers’ financial data, is the most common target.
Your customers’ sensitive information should be accessed only by authorized personnel who are knowledgeable about secure and ethical data management.
Regularly hold training on data defense strategies and stringent security measures like two-factor authentication that will protect your customers’ data, as well as those that have to access to it.
Have a disaster recovery plan in place
Another important aspect of security during the holidays is to verify your data backups and see if your disaster recovery processes are in place.
If a cyber-attack happens, even with all your efforts, you have to restore your operations as soon as possible. That way, orders can still keep on coming in.
Verify website encryption
Website encryption is one of the most effective ways to prevent any kind of sensitive data exchange.
Before, it’s only an option for sites to provide an extra layer of security. SSL encryption is now required for websites that want to maintain the trust of their customers in the e-commerce world.
To ensure the security of your customer data, your website should have an SSL certificate first and foremost. If that certificate is already expired, then you need to renew it as soon as you can.
Most holiday shoppers aren’t likely going to trust a site that has no encryption and will turn to other websites that will offer them a safe and more secure shopping experience.
Over to You
It’s easy for a lot of shoppers and retailers to lose themselves in the holiday shopping spirit. While the upcoming days (and weeks) gives everyone the chance to snag rare and unbelievable deals, website security isn’t something that should be overlooked.
Maintaining a secure site is vital. If you want to keep your customers’ trust and attention to your products and promotions, the last thing that you want to happen is to compromise the security of your site.
By embracing the best practices in customer data protection, you can keep your company’s reputation (and profits) on the upswing.
About the Author
Matt Ahlgren is the co-founder of Website Hosting Rating. Our mission is, to tell the truth about web hosting companies by giving you honest, unbiased reviews of some of the most popular web hosting companies. He is a web developer with in-depth skills in SEO and affiliate marketing. When not at work, he enjoys spending time with his family and taking his pug for a walk.