Your web host plays a big role in your cybersecurity, particularly for e-tailers, but many retail shops overlook this critical aspect. Overall, e-commerce is a force to be reckoned with and one of the largest, most lucrative online industries. Many retail shops are moving to an online-only model, finding the money saved on overhead and increasing customer demand for easy shopping from mobile devices to be the savviest financial move they can make. There are custom e-commerce platforms, like Magento, targeting this thriving industry, but simultaneously cybercrimes are increasing. One security breach can take down an e-tailer for good, especially if news gets out—reputations and sales can start dwindling immediately. For web hosts that specialize in e-commerce, a breach is just as damaging.
The cybersecurity industry is similar to creating antibiotics. While protection increases so do security threats, and both camps feed on each other. Technology has advanced, and in 2015 there are a number of features and options for increasing security for e-commerce websites and web hosts alike. Before launching a site and/or choosing a host, make sure you have these security measures covered:
- Smart security: Any security policy needs to be smart and consistently updated. Oftentimes, “security policies” are drafted once and then forgotten. It’s not until a major breach happens—perhaps one big enough to make headlines–that it’s discovered a company’s security policy is subpar, non-existent or drastically out of date.
- Mitigation: The size and shape of a network impacts how easily (or not) hackers can compromise a site’s security. One of the most popular types of attack is a Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS This is when numerous bots or people jump on a targeted network’s bandwidth, overloading it with traffic. This is an obvious issue for e-commerce websites. However, the content delivery network or CDN naturally helps fight against these attacks. CDN is a server group that works in tandem, keeping loads balanced. It’s a great choice for e-commerce sites with big inventories, and DDoS attacks are mitigated simply because of the collection of servers.
- Encryption: Encryption changes the data being transmitted so only senders and recipients can read it. The practice is steeped in old spy communication, and it can keep threats at bay. Unless a hacker has the “key,” which is a must for decryption, they’re locked out. You can tell by the URL if a site is encrypted or not—if it is, it has https before the address instead of http. The “s” is for security.
- Authentication: Some sites require you to provide proof of who you are before getting access to them. Authentication is most commonly a password, which should be changed regularly. Even better is two-factor authentication, which means a person has to provide at least two out of three “proofs” before gaining access. Fingerprint scans, a PIN and a password are a common trio.
Web hosts can only do so much about cybersecurity on their end. It’s also the website owner’s/manager’s job to ensure security is a top priority. However, a reputable web host will work with website owners, providing tips and recommendations, to make sure everyone is protected.