Online shopping is booming, but customers will shun e-commerce if they do not feel their data is secure.
Just as “Video Killed the Radio Star,” e-commerce is making shopping malls go the way of the horse and buggy. In 2016, consumers reported making 51% of their purchases online, up from 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014. Meanwhile, real estate experts estimate that large brick-and-mortar department stores need to eliminate about 1/5 of their current footprint in malls just to return to the same levels of productivity they enjoyed a decade ago.
Consumers love the convenience and cost savings of ordering items online and having their purchases shipped to their door, but they will quickly sour on an e-commerce site if they feel their credit card information and personal data are not safe. Following are five tips for keeping your e-commerce store safe from hackers during the holiday season and throughout the year.
1. Make sure your e-commerce store is PCI DSS compliant.
While PCI DSS compliance alone does not equate to a comprehensive e-commerce cyber security, being compliant with PCI DSS is the first step – and it’s required by major card issuers. Additionally, some states have laws that refer to PCI DSS explicitly or contain equivalent mandated standards. If you are breached, and it turns out that your e-commerce store was not PCI DSS compliant, your store may be found in violation of your state’s laws regarding data privacy, and the credit card companies that mandate PCI DSS could impose fines on your organization amounting to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are unable to pay the fines, you will no longer be able to accept their cards. Plus, your customers’ data will have been breached, which could result in civil lawsuits and massive damage to your store’s reputation.
2. Make sure all of your hardware and software is up to date.
Antivirus and antimalware software should be updated regularly, and any manufacturer updates or patches to your operating system and other software used in your business should be downloaded and installed as soon as possible; they often include important security patches addressing newly discovered threats.
3. Make sure all of your employees, including temps, are trained in cyber security best practices.
The weakest link in any business’ cyber security plan is its people. The overwhelming majority of data breaches occur after hackers obtain legitimate login credentials, often through social engineering schemes such as phishing emails. Make sure all of your e-commerce store’s employees, including seasonal workers, are trained in cyber security best practices, such as how to spot phishing emails and why they should never send personal data through unsecured email, share their passwords or leave them out in the open, or log in to the network on an unsecured device or connection.
4. Create a culture of “if you see something, say something” regarding e-commerce cyber security.
Employees, especially seasonal workers, want to please their bosses, and this is something hackers take advantage of through schemes such as “spear phishing,” where hackers send what looks like a legitimate email from the business owner or a c-level executive to a low-level employee, requesting sensitive information such as system login credentials or e-commerce customer data. Employees should be instructed to report all suspicious emails or any other activity that just doesn’t seem right – even if they think “it’s probably nothing” – to a supervisor.
5. Place appropriate restrictions on employee’s system access.
E-commerce employees, especially temporary workers, should be given the minimum level of system access they need to perform their jobs, and no more. If at all possible, limit access to your most sensitive data – such as customer payment information and employee tax data – to full-time, year-round employees. The reasoning is that full-timers have a track record with your company, have far more experience with cyber security best practices than your temps, and probably underwent a more extensive background check as well.
The cyber security experts at Lazarus Alliance have deep knowledge of the cyber security field, are continually monitoring the latest information security threats, and are committed to protecting organizations of all sizes from security breaches. We offer full-service risk assessment services and Continuum GRC software to protect companies from data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other cyber threats.
Lazarus Alliance is proactive cyber security®. Call 1-888-896-7580 to discuss your organization’s cyber security needs and find out how we can help your organization secure your systems.