The retail space has changed, and dramatically so across the past year and a half. While online commerce existed prior to the pandemic, stay-at-home orders meant that online retail hit its’ heyday among vendors and consumers alike.

Another trend across the past 16 months? A massive increase in cyber attacks on businesses of all kinds. The retail risk is relatively high, as cyber criminals are eager to obtain customers’ financial information, product purchasing info, and other high-value data assets owned by retailers.

E-commerce security standards emerged in the early 2,000’s, and yet a large number of retail organizations are now interested in further improving upon their security infrastructure. Cloud adoption in retail has contributed to this renewed e-commerce security focus. Cloud-based misconfigurations unintentionally offer opportunities to threat actors and complicate retail risk.

Curious about how you can better safeguard your retail environment? Check out the info below.

11 tips for excellence in e-commerce security

  1. E-commerce companies should ensure that they comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which helps organizations better manage credit card security. In European countries and in many US states, this security measure is required by law.
  2. Online retail spaces should maintain a valid SSL certificate, which will interrupt cyber criminal efforts to extract credit card numbers and other data. On the consumer side, an SSL certificate indicates that your online retail space represents a safe place to shop.
  3. Secure your servers and admin panels. The majority of E-commerce sites come with out-of-the-box default passwords that are simple to guess. Businesses should take care to ensure that these default passwords are swapped for strong, complex passwords. In some cases, organizations may be able to configure the hosting site so that it notifies an admin in the event of an unknown IP that attempts to gain access.
  4. Prevent unknown malicious web content and email files from entering your network and endpoints. Despite security safeguards, in some cases, endpoints can still allow threats to slip through. Ensure that your organization implements a strong security solution that’s truly capable of proactively identifying advanced threats.
  5. Avoid storing customer information on your site. Hackers interested in easy information acquisition often make a website’s backend configuration their first stop. If the information is there in the first place, hackers cannot steal it. But you need to store your data somewhere, right? Consider use of a third-party group for customer data storage.
  6. It might not take many employees to operate an online retail space, but ensure that you train any employees who handle online information in cyber security best practices. Although preventing human error in entirety may not be possible, you may be able to cut down on accidental malware installations or other employee-based security-related mishaps.
  7. Stop cloud-based attacks with a fully automated, cloud native application security solution. Learn more about protecting cloud-based E-commerce applications here.
  8. Patch systems regularly. Software developers want to help protect your organization. The patches that they distribute are intended to do so. On occasion, a cyber threat actor will discover a vulnerability ahead of a patch’s release. These instances are known as zero-day attacks, for which you should also be prepared. More on zero-day threat prevention here.
  9. Consider using firewall software. Network firewalls can typically block insecure traffic from accessing your site. Web application firewalls (WAFs) can safeguard both inbound and outbound internet traffic that travels through specific web servers. WAFs can prove useful to e-commerce groups. They can automatically discard malicious web traffic and allow admins to manually select who can or can’t access a given website.
  10. Incorporate multiple layers of security into your system (and if you’ve read this far, you have most likely already done so). A layered approach can improve security protections and lower your overall retail risk. From two-factor authentication all the way to Content Delivery Network (CDN) protection, every layer of security can help block attackers.
  11. Be sure that you beat the bots. Software that can block bots is useful, and even the largest of retail organizations can experience problems with bot traffic. In addition, bots can buy up your merchandise in bulk, and then their human operators can sell your merchandise for a mark-up on the dark web or elsewhere. Avoid bots by using Captcha and other cyber security software technologies.

For more insights into retail risk and e-commerce security, read our whitepaper.