Data Privacy in eCommerce – Trends and Tips
Working in the eCommerce industry requires handling a lot of sensitive data as it’s impossible for a customer to complete a transaction without inputting some of their personal data.
Data privacy is of great importance in eCommerce. If you look at some research, you will see why it’s essential for the survival of a business. Without it, both your business and your customers are in danger of hackers.
If you take into account that the average total cost of a data breach is $3.92 million, you will probably want to know how to protect your eCommerce store. That is why you need to know the data privacy trends and tips we listed below.
Re-think your external services
The e-commerce market is constantly growing and expanding. Retailers who want to keep up with high demands from customers and competitors need help from external services. To provide a seamless digital experience, eCommerce websites use third-party vendors to integrate some key functionalities.
These vendors expand your website’s capabilities with aspects such as checkout, reviews, and payment processing, but they can also pose a threat to your customer’s data security. The biggest issue with third-party vendors is the lack of visibility and control you, as a retailer, have into their workings.
You don’t know what kind of data they collect and if they’re bringing in a fourth-party service without your knowledge. A large number of high-profile data breaches occur because outside parties collect customer’s data, which puts the eCommerce website at a high-security risk of data breaches.
The best way to protect yourself against this is to limit the use of third-party providers and find a good balance between providing customers with a seamless experience and protecting their data.
Have an up-to-date SSL certificate
SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer, while an SSL certificate is a web protocol that provides security in online communications. It secures websites from hackers that are trying to collect data from a website and give your customers safe online shopping experience.
There are three main ways an SSL certificate protects your customer’s data:
- It makes payments secure. A third-party merchant account is mandatory if your store accepts credit cards. If you don’t have an SSL, your end-users’ data will be at risk. Additionally, most hosting providers require an SSL certificate for eCommerce stores that accept credit cards.
- It protects the user’s password logins. If your customers create memberships on your website, unless you have an SSL certificate, hackers will be able to steal their login information.
- It secures website forms. Credit card and login information aren’t the only data hackers can steal. Whenever a customer fills out any form or questionnaire on your website, it also contains a lot of sensitive data that hackers can steal and misuse unless you have an SSL certificate.
Use a firewall
A firewall is a system that, as its name suggests, works as a gateway or a wall between networks. It permits access to authorized traffic while blocking unauthorized and possibly dangerous traffic from accessing your website.
It also offers selective permeability and allows you to customize its settings to determine which incoming traffic you want to allow. It doesn’t necessarily have to block out threats, as you can also customize your firewall to make your website inaccessible in certain countries.
As eCommerce websites have a lot of outbound traffic, a firewall is a necessary form of protection that blocks out hackers. Its main purpose is to protect you from threats such as SQL injections, DDoS attacks, and cross-site scripting.
Keep your admin panel secure
Hackers often target website administrators because admin panels contain a lot of sensitive data. Once someone hacks into the panel, they can practically take over your entire store. To stop these kinds of attacks and protect yourself and your customers, your need to keep the following things in mind:
- Implement a secure password policy. While this should be obvious, many security breaches happen because of weak passwords. The general rule is to never use the same or similar passwords for different systems.
- Be wary of phishing attempts. Hackers can implement targeted phishing attacks, either through an admin’s personal or their work computer. To avoid this, admins should never use personal emails to log into the panel. They should also avoid links and downloads in emails, and never use work emails for personal purposes.
- Look for suspicious links everywhere. Hackers can leave infected links in any part of your website such as forms and blog posts and just wait for an admin or a customer to click them. Regularly check for these links and delete them off of your website if they appear.
Hire a trustworthy staff
The sensitive data you hold doesn’t need to be protected only from hackers and cybercriminals, it also needs to be safe inside your organization. Your employees also have access to this data and you need to be very selective about who you hire. Furthermore, you have to carefully train your staff in data handling and security.
Organize security training for all employees and teach them how to recognize hacking and phishing attempts. That way, you will significantly decrease the risk of data breaches. It’s essential to teach them which sources are legitimate and who they can share sensitive data with.
Don’t take this lightly, as educating employees is one of the main ways you can prevent your eCommerce website from being hacked. Another thing to remember is that once an employee leaves your company, you need to make sure they don’t have access to any of your systems anymore.
Educate customers on data privacy and security
Your customers are also concerned about their data, but 41% of customers don’t believe companies care about the security of their data. It’s important to educate your customers on all the measures you’ve implemented to keep their data safe.
Explain to them that they’re also responsible for their own data security and teach them all the best tactics they can use to protect themselves. Tips on which symbols to use to create a perfect and secure password and how to recognize suspicious emails can go a long way.
However, don’t make them think they need to do too much extra work just to feel secure. Show them you take the privacy of their data very seriously and if they take a few extra precautions themselves, they won’t have to worry about security.
Data privacy is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially in the eCommerce world. Your customers entrust a lot of sensitive data with your company and if you don’t implement the right measures to keep that data secure, you will lose their trust and your business.