The digital market is experiencing unprecedented growth, spurred on largely by the global pandemic and the convenience of shopping online. In the US alone, total ecommerce sales for 2021 were approximately $870.8 billion, a jump of over 14% from 2020.
A massive boom in sales brings potential threats that are unique to the digital business sector. Because digital businesses focus on selling online, it’s paramount to keep the site safeguarded, and the sensitive data belonging to the vendor and customers locked down.
Common threats to ecommerce businesses include fraud, malware, and other security breaches, along with the illegal sharing of data. Digital businesses should also be mindful of the risks associated with working with third-party vendors, digital security regulations, data privacy laws, and customer service issues.
Another culprit is downtime, which is a devastating and expensive incident for an online business. Modern shoppers will opt to quickly jump to a competitive site if they sense the site is not safe, or if the customer experience is lacking.
Digital merchants have a heavy task at hand, but understanding the threats beforehand makes it easier to safeguard their businesses.
Let’s explore the 8 most common ecommerce threats and how you can proactively avoid them.
1. social engineering
Bad actors are refining their methods and growing smarter by the day. Cybercriminals find it easiest to circumvent your systems from the inside, by swiping employee login details via phishing, or by spreading ransomware and malware through fraudulent links in emails. According to the most recent data breach report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in the US is $4.24 million in 2021, with a 10% increase from 2019.
Avoid a data breach by taking active steps to prevent one. Create and enforce strict data and online security protocols, train your employees in security awareness, and motivate them to act as data security guardians. Establish policies to enforce security, such as requiring staff and customers to use two-factor authentication when logging in to their accounts.
2. human error
Human error remains the most common source of data loss, and usually, it’s the result of an innocent mistake. A well-meaning employee could delete valuable files and data in an instant, causing irreparable damage to your digital business. Consequently, frequent or extended downtime will affect productivity and even the reputation of your business.
Use a backup and recovery solution that enables you to restore and recover files immediately after an erroneous action. A backup solution also ensures that you minimize downtime and ensure staff can return to their tasks quickly by protecting your files and data from human oversight.
3. Exploitation of Weaknesses
Bad actors use automated software to constantly stay ready to take advantage of any weaknesses in your network. Legacy platforms, unpatched software, and sloppy endpoint protection leave your system open to cyber attacks.
Ensure that you keep all platforms, plugins, SaaS, and software up to date. Uninstall and remove unsuitable plugins or themes promptly. Fire up protectors such as firewalls and virus protection, but don’t put all your trust in your device settings. Rather, look into more extensive solutions that will meet your data protection needs. Carry out a security audit and penetration testing annually, or after a major digital event, to ensure you are aware of the vulnerabilities in your systems.
4. Unauthorized Access
All staff members do not require access to the entirety of your company’s files and records. Unauthorized access results in an enormous amount of exposed data. Data loss can result from innocent mistakes made by well-meaning employees, or by nefarious criminals seeking access to private information. Luckily for digital vendors, it’s fairly simple to bolster your data and prevent unauthorized access. Implementing such policies should be a part of your overall data security strategy.
First, restrict access and ensure that your staff members only have access to the areas of your systems that they need to complete their tasks. Have your employees use two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA provides an additional layer of security and blocks users from using login credentials that belong to someone else. After all, the infamous Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in 2021 occurred as a result of a single compromised password.
For good measure, implement the following strategies:
- Use role-based access for employees, as most file-systems can be configured to regulate access based on the role of the user or by credentials.
- Put a single-sign-on solution to work so you can easily regulate and scan access to sensitive data.
- Limit the use of generic accounts to the bare minimum, and enforce password changes for shared passwords.
- Ensure that you delete credentials immediately when employees leave the company, and take care to manage credentials and keep them up-to-date.
The regulations concerning data privacy and protection are strict, and they bring enormous financial penalties in the case of non-compliance. The GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, and other regional and international data privacy legislation outlines the massive risks associated with non-compliance. The regulations mandate that online businesses must adhere to the protocols; operating without regard for data privacy and protection regulations is a sure-fire way to risk your entire business.
Stay on top of regulatory compliance by:
- Ensuring that your business meets the obligations set forth by the applicable data privacy laws.
- Refraining from assuming certain mandates don’t apply to your business.
- Keeping your platform and components up-to-date to make sure you are using the latest versions and thereby doing all you can to protect private customer data.
- Taking the time to extensively vet and qualify all third-party vendors, as you may be the responsible party in case of a data breach.
- Making sure all third-party SaaS complies with international data privacy and security laws.
6. Risk Management and Mitigation
Before you can decide on your security needs, you must first identify the assets you want to protect, and understand the value of those assets. In this article, we have discussed several scenarios and shared ways to decrease the risks involved with running a digital commerce business.
Risk mitigation is a continuous practice, which means you must always be on guard when it comes to your online business. Modern digital threats develop and grow more sophisticated by the day, as cybercriminals work tirelessly to up the ante.
Because ransomware targets companies regardless of size, revenue, or industry, no digital business is truly safe. Bad actors sometimes attack smaller companies because they assume it will be an easy conquest. After all, smaller companies often lack a security policy nor train employees in security awareness.
How to Avoid Ecommerce Threats: Be Proactive About Security
To prevent your digital business from becoming another statistic, take the steps necessary to proactively protect yourself. By adopting the solutions listed in this article, you will lower the likelihood of attack, reduce liability, and recover fast should an incident occur.
To recap, educate all your employees and ensure they understand and follow security protocols. Keep those security protocols up-to-date, and implement strict security policies for passwords and all work devices. Keep attackers at bay with the help of firewalls and security platforms, and routinely scan for fraudulent or suspicious activities.
Protecting your digital business and your digital assets means that you protect your sensitive data and the private data that belongs to your customers. When trying to circumvent ecommerce threats, it helps to work with an organization with a deep understanding of the digital commerce arena and the best practices around mitigating security risks.
Here at Vaimo, we specialize in holistic cybersecurity, a practice wherein we blend best-in-class tools with the right technology to ensure your security needs are met. With our bevy of security professionals with years of experience, our approach to cyber security includes proactivity, tools, and knowledge. Contact our experts in digital security today!