Five essential tips for keeping your e-commerce business and clients safe from hackers

IF YOU have an e-commerce business you may be concerned about security. Expert Dianna Labrien from has published five essential tips for staying safe…


Have a system in place for purging customer data

The best way to ensure that your data is not vulnerable to hackers is simply to not keep that data around. Get rid of old customer data on a regular basis. Then, only keep the information that you need to track packages, issue refunds and credits, and to chargeback accounts. Obviously, you will need to retain names, addresses, and emails for marketing purposes, but it is important to think long and hard about what information you keep storing and why.

Insist on e-commerce customers using strong passwords

If a customer information gets hacked, they are not going to care that their lack of oversight might have contributed to the issue. All that will matter to them is that their information was compromised and that they lost money because of it. It might seem unfair, but you’re going to have to save customers from themselves. Set up strict password rules that force customers to use capital letters, special characters, and to have long passwords. In fact, you might consider forcing them to use a password phrase.

Use SSL and ensure that you are PCI compliant

Strong SSL authentication is a must have to keep your website and data protected. SSL also prompts customers that your website is secure enough to grant their credit card data. You should also take the time to ensure that all your financial operations are PCI compliant. If you do not do these two things, you risk losing trust and losing business.

Select a secure ecommerce platform

Do your research before committing to a certain ecommerce platform. Ideally, it should be based on an object-oriented programming language with respective built-in security protocols. If you opt to use WordPress as your platform, select a WordPress security plugin that will add an extra layer of protection to your site. Remember that e-commerce platforms are never one size fits all. Do your research to find one that fits your business needs.

Train your employees to be vigilant about security

The truth is – a lot of the fraud that occurs is due to human error. People simply don’t understand what might create a vulnerability. For example, a customer support rep may reveal an account number during a live support chat or on social media. Another might give a login and password over the phone to somebody who claims to have forgotten theirs. A third employee might receive a phishing email, not recognize it for what it is, and respond with sensitive information.

This can be avoided by establishing strict policies related to privacy and security, training employees in these policies, and providing regular refresher courses. It is also a good idea to ensure that only those who need to have access to sensitive information actually have it.

Build trust with your customers by taking the steps necessary to protect their personal and financial information. This will help to ensure them that they are safe each time they hit the checkout button.