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How to Protect User Data on Your Ecommerce Site

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For all you know, a hacker could be looking for a way to launch an attack on your ecommerce site at this very moment. But you can easily protect your site by following some simple tips we discuss here.


Ecommerce site owners play a major role in protecting ecommerce user data, since these sites contain personally identifiable and financially sensitive information. Such information is protected under several data privacy laws and financial regulations like the GDPR, PCI DSS, and more.

A few years ago, regulators had to step in and take stock of the matter because cybercrime was increasing rapidly. Therefore, the GDPR was drafted in 2016 when ecommerce related cybercrime was already a serious issue. By then, hackers had already attacked many large companies like Target, Adobe, Verizon, Canva, and several others.

In 2020, hackers changed gears and targeted small and mid-sized ecommerce businesses that used Magento for their ecommerce sites. What this tells you is that the size of your business does not matter. For all you know, a hacker could be lurking around and looking for a way to launch an attack on your ecommerce store at this very moment. Therefore, you need to be well-prepared to counter those attempts. Doing this does not require an in-house security operations center or a specialized cybersecurity team. Instead, you can easily protect your site by following some simple tips we discuss here.

Use Secure Hosting

You can compare your web server to the location where you plan to build your home. You want to keep that space private and secure. Unfortunately, this does not happen when you pick a web hosting plan that shares the server’s resources with other websites.

Basically, a shared web hosting or VPS hosting deprives you of privacy and security. Therefore, it is important to use a solely dedicated server for your ecommerce site. You can buy one and maintain it in-house or rent one from a colocation center. Some web hosting companies also offer customers the opportunity to hire an entire dedicated server for their website.

Utilize Identity Verification

Ecommerce sites are a top target for fraudsters, who are increasingly using synthetic identities to target online transactions. Threats include credit card fraud, phishing attacks, and account takeovers to access shoppers’ accounts.  

This is where digital ID verification comes in handy. Rely on it to fight against identity fraud, as it will make it possible for you to quickly spot and stop fraudsters in their tracks. Meanwhile, you’ll still be delivering a smooth user experience.

Install a Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL

SSL certificates are essential for encrypting server-client communication. This is because these communications take place on a public network. Since these digital certificates activate the HTTPS, they use port 443. Through that, the encryption takes place. However, the SSL can only effectively protect ecommerce user data when you choose the right type for your site.

As most ecommerce businesses use multiple domain names and subdomains, it only makes sense to use a multi-domain wildcard SSL. The most versatile SSL type is also known as SAN-enabled wildcard. (SAN stands for “subject alternate name,” meaning you can have multiple host names on a single certificate.)

You can choose to encrypt multiple domains for your ecommerce site, along with their respective first-level subdomains. The only other option would be to install one DV SSL for each primary domain, which would turn out to be a cumbersome process. It would require tracking the validities of individual SSLs and maintaining multiple private keys.

Collect Data for Your Ecommerce Site Cautiously

Many ecommerce sites collect irrelevant data such as credit card numbers, account details, Social Security numbers, and so on. But if you run a small or mid-sized ecommerce business, there is no need to provide customers with the option to store their card details for convenient checkouts. Instead, let them type in the details every time they transact.

Not storing such data works in your favor. This is because you are only obligated to protect the data you collect from your customers. If you don’t collect and store it but let customers process payments through a third-party payment gateway, you limit your risk. This is necessary because any failure to protect ecommerce user data could lead to endless litigation, fines, and loss of reputation. So limit data collection only to what is necessary. Then it becomes easier to prevent subsequent damage.


Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Did you know that multi-factor authentication can prevent 99.99% of attacks launched on your ecommerce site? Since this type of authentication requires multiple verification factors, they are more secure. This includes a combination of memory-based and physical authentication factors.

When you have multi-factor authentication, the user has to log in using the password and one or more other authentication codes your site sends to a mobile phone or email to which the user has access. This authentication technique evolved from the belief that it is nearly impossible for hackers to gain access to millions of mobile phones or emails which the user directly controls. So, even though the hacker cracks the ecommerce website’s password, there is nothing more they can do.

Perform Regular Backups on Your Ecommerce Site

Imagine waking up one fine day only to realize that cybercriminals have you locked out of your ecommerce portal. Unfortunately, this has been the plight of thousands of business owners whose ecommerce sites were attacked with ransomware.

It left them clueless about their existing orders as executing them without having access to customer data was impossible. In such cases, taking regular backups of customer data can be of great use. Besides ransomware, backups are also useful when there is a loss of data due to other reasons such as technical failures or human error. The best way to back up your data is by automating it so that the system does its job as scheduled, even if you forget.

Update Ecommerce Applications

If you use ecommerce applications for your online store, remember to keep them updated. Additionally, be sure to back up the content management system (CMS) and all the other applications.

It’s important to understand that third-party add-ons which provide functionalities to your site may contain malicious code. However, when you use an application from a reliable development firm, they roll out regular updates to fix bugs and prevent security issues.


These Suggestions Will Prevent Cybercrime on Your Ecommerce Site

In 2020, over a trillion US dollars were lost due to cybercrime, and the most common reason was poor cybersecurity practices. The above discussed are six powerful ways to protect ecommerce user data and combat cybercrime. You can prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, SQL injections, data sniffing, brute force, and several other forms of cyberattacks by following them.