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How to secure your ecommerce store

In this article, xneelo looks at how to protect your online store from malicious threats.

In a previous article, we provided tips for increasing traffic to your ecommerce store. As a business owner, you have a responsibility to prioritise the safety of your new, increased audience. This includes safeguarding your ecommerce website from attack and taking measures to protect your customer data.

Here are a few best practices you can implement to protect your ecommerce store.

Secure your website

Your website should be using a number of security measures. The first step is to install a SSL security certificate. A SSL certificate ensures that web pages are accessed over the Internet securely via encryption. This is used to protect credit card transactions or any other type of data transfer or logins. It has now become the norm when it comes to secure browsing over the Internet. Check with your web hosting provider if they provide a security certificate in their service. 

Another recommended security best practice is to use a Web Application Firewall (WAF) like Cloudbric WAF to stop malicious traffic before it hits your website.

Keep your website CMS and plugins up to date

Ensure your Content Management System (CMS) has been updated to the latest version. You can refer to your CMS provider’s website and forums for information on security patches and version upgrades.

If you’re using WordPress, it's important to update your plugins as some will contain security patches against recent vulnerabilities. Plugins are the cause of 92% of WordPress vulnerabilities. Always research a plugin before installing it and make sure it's compatible with the version of WordPress you’re using.

A reputable security plugin will reduce risk by applying the latest WordPress security practices and techniques. Sucuri and WordFence are two good examples of plugins that can be used to mitigate hacking attempts.

Use strong passwords

A weak password is the first vulnerability hackers look for. Avoid simple and easy-to-guess passwords and use an auto-generated complex password for each individual account you use.

As an additional security measure, set up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). With 2FA enabled, a hacker would need access to your phone (or similar device) and your password to access your account.

Keep backups of your website

Keeping regular backups of your website is helpful should you need to restore your site to a previous version should a hacking attempt occur. But be cautious when restoring an older version as backups could also be compromised in some cases. Ensure that you are updating a backed-up version from before the hack to remove any malicious code or changes introduced by the hacker.

Beware of phishing scams

Hackers are constantly coming up with new ways to trick individuals into sharing their sensitive data through phishing scams. Stay abreast of recent developments around phishing and educate yourself and your team about what to look out for. Phishing emails often contain typos and grammar mistakes and have an email address that doesn’t match the sender's name. Also, remember a trusted source will never ask you to change your passwords or provide your bank account details through a link in an email.

Prioritise privacy

Privacy refers to the set of obligations that you as a business owner have to comply with to protect personal data from unwanted observation or loss. For a South African online business, you would need to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act, more commonly referred to as POPIA. 

Should your online business trade internationally and process the data of EU residents, you will also have to comply with the GDPR.

Good privacy practices include but are not limited to:
  • Being transparent about your data processing practices
  • Asking for the necessary consent where needed
  • Only collecting the data you need for legitimate processes
  • Having security measures in place to safeguard the data in your care

Choose a trusted web hosting provider

Choose a web hosting provider that is known for its robust hosting infrastructure and good customer service, who has a strong track record on security.

Look out for a web hosting provider that offers a security certificate, a firewall, and automated data backups that can help you restore your site if anything goes wrong. 

Xneelo takes security seriously. We’re on a quest to achieve the most secure and optimal environment for our hosted websites. We hope the advice provided here will help you create a safe and trusted ecommerce environment for your customers.

Useful resources:
xneelo
xneelo offers web hosting and business enablement to more than 500 000 South African websites.
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