Data security is one of the many realities that startup entrepreneurs and owners of e-commerce websites face. Businesses are increasingly getting more vulnerable to the threats caused by hackers who target both large organizations and startups. Often, hackers target e-commerce sites and startups that run on old systems that have little or no protection.
Although hackers keep getting better at their malicious craft, most businesses overlook the security of their websites while tending to focus on aspects such as operations and sales. A study by Deloitte established that 68% of business owners are familiar with ransomware.
As impressive as this might sound, most of them don’t know how to avert the threat caused by hackers. Since PCI DSS certification can only be accorded to businesses that have a proven cybersecurity stance, here’s what you can do to secure your website.
The de facto standard for securing online transactions is the use of an SSL certificate. It helps authenticate users’ identity besides encrypting data both at the store and while in transit. Implementing SSL is particularly recommended for e-commerce sites since it enables you to establish a secure connection between your website and end-user systems.
Similarly, SSL implementation has a positive impact on your sales. Tech-savvy buyers tend to shop exclusively from websites that feature a padlock icon alongside HTTPS on their address bar. The icon indicates that your website secures buyers’ credit card information and personal details.
PCI compliance entails proving that your business is capable of securing all financial transactions that it undertakes, and the resultant data. There is no better way of showing that you are compliant than implementing SSL certificates to secure transactions.
All users need to be aware of PCI standards and the possible sanctions that result from non-compliance. Furthermore, they need to stay apprised with laws and regulations that govern Internet security. Employees and other network users should be educated about information security practices.
Every stakeholder should be aware of the strategies that are in place to protect your website and cardholder data. This will make them aware of what they need to do from their end so that sensitive data is secured. Since PCI standards are regularly updated, you also need to direct your employees and other website users on how they adhere to mandated security policies and protocols.
Apart from encryption, the use of malware scanners can help you protect your website from cyber-attacks and malware. Malware scanners can fortify your cybersecurity stance by helping you pinpoint and fix patch vulnerabilities and malicious software.
The best website malware scanners are those that are automated. This functionality allows them to perform scanning without human intervention. Such malware scanners will protect your site from potential breaches by scanning for any threats and getting rid of them. In doing so, visitor’s won’t be interrupted by slow speeds or even a crashing site.
One of the most basic and pertinent cybersecurity defense measures is ensuring that your CMS, plugins, and themes are up to date. Research indicates that most malware-infected WordPress websites that startup entrepreneurs prefer don’t run on the latest security patches.
Such websites are highly-vulnerable to data loss in case of a security breach. Even when using an updated CMS, you should only rely on properly-maintained plugins. This means you must avoid those that have not been updated in more than one year.
You should be mindful about the plugins that you use. It’s advisable only to use those that can help you build your website, rather than those that come with glamorous yet trivial capabilities such as counting website users. When it comes to premium plugins, you should only spend money on those that are vital to your website.
Some startup entrepreneurs who own WordPress websites resort to downloading pirated and unlicensed versions of premium plugins. In as much as this can help you save money, it puts you at risk of cyber attacks and malware in the long run. Often, distributors of such plugins use them to spread malware.
Whether you run a successful business or a startup that uses an e-commerce website to sell its products and services, the primary step towards securing that website is choosing a secure platform. You need a platform that comes with sophisticated security features. Likewise, ensure that your server adheres to PCI compliance requirements. You can ascertain this by running PCI scans on the server so that you can validate your compliance stance.
Achieving and sustaining PCI DSS compliance isn’t easy, especially for startups. If your business handles credit and debit card payments, it is vital to secure your website. One of the PCI requirements is proof that you have fortified your IT systems. The basic step towards realizing this is securing your site.
Mohit Tater is the founder and CEO of BlackBook Investments through which he helps people invest in online businesses and digital assets. Apart from advising clients on SEO and marketing he also blogs at mohittater.com.