Best practices for ecommerce website security
local seo optimisation
by Rudi van der Westhuizen

Ecommerce has been one of the most rapidly growing sectors in recent years, with an increasing number of people choosing to purchase goods and services online. In 2021, the UK reported a total of 24000 new e-commerce businesses. This has been a noteworthy shift in the digital age, allowing many businesses to penetrate new markets. However, with the increase in online transactions comes the need for increased ecommerce website security. Customers need to trust that their personal and financial information is safe when making purchases online. This is why ecommerce website security is so important. 

What are the best practices for ecommerce website security?

  • Use HTTPS

The first step in securing your ecommerce website is to use HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) instead of HTTP. HTTPS encrypts the data that is exchanged between the customer’s browser and the website. This helps to protect sensitive information such as credit card details, login credentials, and personal information.

When a customer visits an ecommerce website that uses HTTPS, they will see a green padlock icon in their browser’s address bar, indicating that the site is secure. This gives customers confidence that their information is being transmitted securely.

  • Use a firewall

A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing traffic based on a set of security rules. It helps to prevent unauthorised access to your ecommerce website and protects against common web-based attacks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting.

A firewall can be implemented at the server level, the application level, or both. It is important to configure the firewall properly and keep it up to date to ensure that it is providing the best possible protection.

  • Use strong passwords

Passwords are a critical aspect of ecommerce website security. They are the first line of defence against unauthorised access to your website. It is important to use strong, unique passwords for all user accounts and to enforce password policies that require users to choose complex passwords.

Best practices for password security include:

  • Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
  • Avoid using easily guessable words, such as “password” or “123456”
  • Do not reuse the same password across multiple accounts
  • Use a password manager to generate and store strong passwords

Keep software up to date

It is important to keep all software used on your ecommerce website up to date. This includes the operating system, web server, database, and any third-party software or plugins that are used.

Software updates often include security patches that address vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers. By keeping your software up to date, you can minimise the risk of a security breach.

  • Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security feature that adds an extra layer of protection to user accounts. It requires users to provide two forms of authentication before they can access their account. This can include a password and a one-time code sent to their phone or email address.

2FA can help to prevent unauthorised access to user accounts, even if an attacker has obtained the user’s password. 

  • Conduct regular security audits

Regular security audits are an important part of maintaining the security of your ecommerce website. A security audit can help to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your website’s security and provide recommendations for improving security.

A security audit can include a review of your website’s code, database, server configuration, and firewall settings. It is recommended to conduct a security audit at least once a year, or more frequently if there are significant changes to your website or your business operations.

  • Implement an SSL certificate

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is another important aspect of ecommerce website security. It encrypts data that is transmitted between the customer’s browser and the website, ensuring that sensitive information is not intercepted by attackers.

An SSL certificate can be obtained from a trusted certificate authority and installed on your website’s server. When an SSL certificate is installed, the customer’s browser will display a green padlock icon and the website’s URL will begin with “https”.

In addition to providing encryption for data in transit, an SSL certificate can also help to build trust with customers. It indicates that your website has been verified as legitimate and that you take the security of your customers’ information seriously.

  • Limit user permissions

It is important to limit user permissions on your ecommerce website to minimiSe the risk of unauthorised access or accidental data loss. This includes limiting administrative access to only those users who require it and ensuring that each user is only able to access the resources and data that they need to do their job.

User permissions should be regularly reviewed and updated as needed. It is also important to ensure that user accounts are deactivated promptly when an employee leaves the company or no longer requires access to the website.

  • Backup your data

Regular data backups are an essential aspect of ecommerce website security. Backups ensure that you have a copy of your data in case of data loss due to a security breach, hardware failure, or another issue.

Perform regular backups of your website’s code, database, and other important data. Backups should be stored securely and offsite to ensure that they are protected in the event of a physical disaster or security breach.

  • Train employees on security best practices

Finally, it is important to train employees on security best practices. Employees should be aware of the risks of phishing, malware, and other types of cyber attacks, and should be trained on how to recognise and respond to potential security threats.

Security training should also include information on how to use passwords securely, how to identify and report suspicious activity, and how to respond in the event of a security breach.

With so much data being exchanged online website security is more important than ever. By following best practices for ecommerce website security, businesses can protect their customers’ information and build trust with their audience. If you’re unsure about whether your website is secure, contact Media Matters for more information.

The Author

Rudi van der Westhuizen

Rudi also joined the MM family in 2021. His strengths lie in digital marketing with an emphasis on eCommerce, tech, SEO, search engine marketing and website development. With Brad, he runs his own agency in South Africa, while partnering with us to help support our own national and international clients. Rudi’s passion is new technology and getting excited around digital innovation and how it can help businesses to grow and thrive.
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