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Top Tips to Secure your eCommerce Website in 2019

ByDave Stopher

Oct 14, 2018

Nowadays cybersecurity is more relevant than ever. This article will bring you the most up to date tips of what you need in order to secure your enterprise eCommerce website in 2019.

1 – Basic Service Security

Providing a solid security foundation for your eCommerce website is a fundamental part of this process. The following are the bare minimum elements you will require for a basic service-level security:

  • Hosting Provider: one of the first decisions you have to make is choosing an appropriate hosting provider. There are many options available, Virtual Private Servers (VPS), cloud servers, shared hosting services, eCommerce-specific hosting services, and the list goes on. On top of that, you have to choose between a managed or an unmanaged hosting service. Managed hosting services usually cost more but in exchange, they run for you security updates and keep the server in good shape. This is a big decision, always try preferring a good and reputable provider, remember that all your services will be built on top of the hosting platform.
  • SSL Certificate: depending on your hosting provider you may buy or install an existing SSL Certificate from the administration panel (managed servers) or install it manually (unmanaged servers). Discussing between using or not an SSL Certificate is out of the question. You need to use it. This certificate is required in order to use encrypted HTTPS communications but is also mandatory to avoid being flagged by Google as an insecure website.
  • HTTPS Protocol: it is unthinkable an enterprise eCommerce website working with an insecure HTTP connection. Browsers will not like it, Google will flag your site and penalize it in the rankings and users will avoid doing any transaction. Using the HTTPS protocol is a must-have in order to run an enterprise eCommerce website. This technology also poses a great obstacle to hackers trying to intercept your website traffic so is hands down an excellent investment.
  • Top Level Firewall: a properly configured firewall is a defacto security mechanism for any enterprise eCommerce website. Firewalls greatly reduce the attack surface, only allowing certain connections on specific ports. Depending on your hosting provider, you may have several firewall layers. A hosting-level firewall acts as your first fence against attacks while an OS installed firewall could be used as a second defense and even an eCommerce plugin can also be installed as a third firewall layer.

2 – eCommerce Website Security

Now that you have the essentials in place it’s time to start securing your website from another perspective, the eCommerce platform itself:

  • eCommerce platform: choosing a reliable eCommerce platform is as important as the hosting provider. Several aspects should be considered besides security like convenience, flexibility, scalability, and complexity.
  • Administration Level Access: independently of the eCommerce platform or hosting provider you will always count with an administrative panel. Securing the access to this panel is a must. Using granular role-based permissions is desirable as well as enforcing strong passwords with two-factor authentication.
  • User Data Storage: one critical security aspect you must consider is how to manage user information. The most effective option to avoid data leaks is not storing the user’s financial data in the first place. But in case you need to do it the best approach is making your enterprise eCommerce website PCI DSS compliance. PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and is designed to increase controls around cardholder information in order to decrease credit card frauds.
  • Security Plugins or Services: depending on your enterprise eCommerce solution you may have the option to use special plugins designed to harden even more the website security. It’s always advisable to install these plugins or services to reduce security breaches and make even harder to break through your website.
  • Platform Updates: security fixes and patches are common these days. A good practice is setting up automatic software upgrades to keep your infrastructure safe. Some security plugins include updates as one of its features.

3 – High-Level Enterprise Security Hardening

You already have your website up and running, but you may want to go a step further and use optional security services:

  • Content Delivery Network (CDN): using a Content Delivery Network is many times cited as a performance hack for enterprise eCommerce websites, and it is. But this advanced service also adds a new layer of security against DDoS attacks. It’s highly advisable to use a CDN if you are serious about security and performance for your website.
  • Fraud Prevention Services: another high-level service that you can use to increment your enterprise eCommerce security is a geo-location fraud prevention system. This service/software analyzes the user IP address to determine its location and then compares that location with the billing address of the credit card. The service can automatically ask for additional information in order to verify user identity when locations are not the same. If your website is already using PCI DSS then you may skip this tip.
  • Vulnerability Tests: it’s always a good idea to use a professional vulnerability check service. This kind of service performs a wide range of tests looking for weak points in your website. The results are invaluable to fix any possible vulnerability.

4 – Disaster Recovery

Even the best prevention and protection system is subtle to fail, that’s why you need a good action plan for this situations.

  • Regular Backups: making regular backups of your website and/or user data is a recommended practice. Using an independent third-party backup storage service would be even better to add some redundancy.
  • Security Manual: even the most secure eCommerce website can go down. That’s the main reason to have a detailed security manual in place, that way administrators can follow an official step-by-step process and decrease the response time notably.
  • Emergency Website: current cluster-based technology allows you to set up more complex scenarios, your enterprise eCommerce website can go down and instantly be replaced by a new one while you work on the issue.