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How To Ensure Safe Online Shopping For Your Customers

eCommerce has been on a consistent rise with more and more people choosing to shop online today than ever before. The shift to online shopping has only been accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic. With movement restrictions imposed across the globe, online shopping has become the preferred way to purchase goods and services.

The result of this explosive growth is that there are 12 to 24 million eCommerce sites in the world today. The value of just retail eCommerce was estimated at 4.3 trillion USD in 2020. From groceries to FMCG goods, everything is now being shipped online. eCommerce is one of the very few business verticals that has grown in 2020.

All this is great news if you have an eCommerce website. However, there are problems too, chief of which is cybersecurity. Even before the pandemic, cyber-attacks were on the rise. A pandemic, with more people online than ever before, means that the attacks are going up at an alarming rate. People are more cautious about cybersecurity too and will not shop on websites that are unsafe.

This article explores a few ways through which you can ensure a safe and secure online shopping experience for your customers.

  1. SSL certificate

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is perhaps the most important security-based requirement for any website. SSL is a global standard technology that’s used to secure websites.

An SSL certificate has two primary functions — encryption and validation.

An SSL certificate proves that you are the real owner of the website, and you run a legitimate business — that’s the validation part. Once you’ve been granted an SSL certificate, a green lock is shown to the left of the URL of your website that informs people that your website is genuine and they can proceed with an SSL secure shopping.

Additionally, SSL also encrypts all user data and communication. So, any exchange of information between a browser and your web server is completely encrypted. This is done to prevent Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks. MitM attacks steal user data when they’re in transit. Hackers can steal data as it travels between the web server and a user’s browser. Encrypting this data will ensure that even if the data is hacked, the information that’s stolen will be rendered useless. Unless there’s a decryption key — which the web server and the browser have — you cannot decrypt the information. This means that MitM attacks are rendered useless.

Apart from the technical benefits of having an SSL certificate, there are also benefits in the form of customer trust and brand reputation. The green lock to the left of your website’s URL tells your customers that your website and their data is safe. Additionally, the URL of your website will change too. Instead of beginning with HTTP, your website’s URL will start with HTTPS. The ‘S’ stands for secure and is another badge of safety for your website.

Finally, SSL certificates also help with SEO. Google, by far, the most used search engine, has put it in writing that their algorithms prefer secure websites. This means that if all other factors are the same, the secure website will be shown higher up than the others. SSLs are officially recognised by Google as a mark of security and legitimacy of a website.

  1. Malware detection and removal software

Malware are malicious pieces of software that are injected into your server’s network. Malware can bring your website down, steal your business information, and even your customer data.

One of the ways to protect your website from a malware attack is to use a cloud-based website security program. There are many such applications, such as SiteLock Website Security, that are specifically designed for small businesses. Instead of paying a huge fee upfront, you can pay a monthly fee, like a subscription, for as long as you use the application.

SiteLock is a collection of various tools, such as malware detection, malware removal, enterprise-grade antivirus, daily website scanning, and a robust firewall, that are bundled together to work seamlessly. It will help your website by securing your customer data better.

  1. Keep your website PCI DSS compliant

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It is maintained by an independent body that was created by MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Visa, and Discover.

The PCI DSS lays down a series of requirements for any website that wants to conduct financial transactions. These requirements include use and maintenance of firewalls, password protection, protection of cardholder data, encryption of transmitted data, updation of software, use of antivirus, unique IDs for access, restriction of physical access, maintenance of access logs, restricting data access, scanning for vulnerabilities, and document policies.

If your website fulfils all these requirements, it’s said to be PCI DSS compliant. The idea of complying with all those standards may seem difficult, but if you go through the document, you’ll see that it really isn’t.

Complying with PCI DSS adds a new layer of comprehensive security for your website. From customer data to payment security, PCI DSS covers all aspects of website security.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity isn’t one-off; it isn’t about doing just one thing or installing just one software. Instead, it’s a strategy that comprehensively protects your website, and the process is ongoing.

The foundation for this strategy is the SSL certificate. It’s the first step, so to say. Depending on what sort of SSL you want, you can actually acquire an SSL certificate for your website within hours of beginning the process. SSL certificates are no longer a niche security feature; they’ve become industry standard. In fact, Google Chrome, the popular web browser owned by Google, puts up a warning message every time a non-SSL certified website is accessed. If a warning were to pop up on your website, you can be sure that most people are simply going to close your website, and probably never come back!

Similarly, malware protection has gained significant prominence in recent times due to the rising cyberattacks. Having a comprehensive anti-malware protection tool like SiteLock will accord authenticity and reliability to your website.

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