If you’re yet to suffer a data breach, start by counting yourself lucky. Next, take action. If you haven’t been attacked yet there’s every chance you will in the near future. While selling online offers brands huge potential revenue, the cost of doing business in a digital world is equally high. Brands can lose consumers and also face heavy fines when they fail at protecting consumer data.
Hackers Pose a Huge Threat to Data Security
If eCommerce stores were physical shops, most would be fit to burst with the amount of data they hold. Much of this data is necessary for business, writes Nexcess’ Graeme Caldwell. It’s also incredibly valuable. Unfortunately, it’s not just the brands themselves who understand that. Hackers know they’re in for a big pay off if they can get their hands on eCommerce consumer data.
It’s no surprise then that cybercrime is on the rise according to a 2019 report by Accenture. Their research found security breaches have increased 67% over the last five years.
Anyone could be a target, from small stores to global retailers. Take Macy’s for instance. Last November, hackers successfully stole consumer data from their online store, reports Security Media Group Executive Director Mathew J. Schwartz. The hackers were able to place code on the checkout and wallet pages of the website, which captured data submitted by users.
All is not lost, however. The editorial team at Ecommerce Germany points out that just because eCommerce behemoths can’t protect their sites doesn’t mean you’re left to suffer the same fate.
Here are five ways you can protect your consumers’ data by partnering with a Business-as-a-Service provider.
BaaS eCommerce Platforms Offer Greater Security
Your eCommerce store is the only part of your offering consumers truly interact with. It’s also the first line of defense when it comes to protecting their data. Choosing a platform that combines secure software with world-class advice can make a real difference.
When you use a Software-as-a-Service platform to create your eCommerce store, you are literally paying for experts to help you with issues like security, says Kalon Wiggins, CEO at Epic Design Labs. The best providers won’t just help you create a store — they will actively monitor stores to detect security issues and fix them when they’re found.
Ideally, your eCommerce platform should be headless to avoid issues related to outdated software and plug-ins.
Typically hackers will start by trying to exploit weak passwords, writes the team at Malwarebytes Labs. When that doesn’t work, they’ll target a third-party app the site uses. Usually, these aren’t as secure and come with the additional benefit of allowing the hackers to attack multiple sites at once. If they can hack into a third-party provider, they can usually access all of the websites using that software.
Using third-party applications can be enough to put you at risk. Software that isn’t up-to-date is vulnerable to hacks, explains digital marketing manager Megha Parikh. The older a piece of software, the more vulnerabilities it’s likely to have. Equipped with their own vulnerability-tracking software, it’s all too easy for hackers to identify these flaws and attack.
That’s the beauty of headless eCommerce. Your site can’t be at risk if it never has out-of-date apps.
A comprehensive eCommerce platform should also provide appropriate hosting. Secure hosting is extremely important, writes the team at Visualmodo. Your store’s host will be one of the first lines of defense against hackers and should also provide you with backup services so data can be restored quickly in the event of an attack. It’s not enough just to provide the technology, however. Your hosting provider should be on hand to offer support and advice when you need it.
Payment Gateway Partners Promise Zero Liability
Few things are valued more highly by hackers than consumer payment data. They can’t steal what you don’t have, though. One of the best ways to safeguard consumer data is to make sure you don’t hold payment information on your site, writes eCommerceCEO.com Co-Founder Darren DeMatas.
Partnering with a payment gateway means you don’t have to risk storing consumer data on your own servers, writes eCommerce-Nation’s Thibault Herpin. Not only do the biggest payment gateways encrypt all consumer data as a matter of course, but they also abide by privacy policies the world over. This makes it easier for brands to trade across borders.
Many payment providers combine software with expert advice. It really pays to work with a payment expert, writes the Worldpay editorial team. “When you work with a reputable payments processor that prioritizes security, you can breathe easier knowing that your data is secure.” An expert will take time to understand your brand’s specific security needs and develop a tailored plan that addresses them.
Continuous Monitoring Detects and Prevents Hacks
Hosting your site on a secure eCommerce platform and encrypting consumer data using a payment gateway are excellent foundations when it comes to safeguarding consumer data. They aren’t enough on their own, however. Attacks are constantly evolving, which means you or a partner need to be monitoring your site around the clock for signs of potential attacks.
The team at SentinelOne recommends brands devote resources to identifying malicious activity on their site. “This is a methodical process in which your IT or security team look for gaps in your layered defenses, with the aim of spotting any malware that has evaded your other layers early enough to prevent it from reaching its objective,” they explain.
You can either have your site monitored manually or use automated software, says cybersecurity consultant Chester Avey. The most important thing is to identify attacks early. The quicker you do so, the more chance you’ll have to prevent them.
Having access to sophisticated software can make a real difference. If you can get access to advanced features like “a robust audit trail” or “a code-level root cause analysis engine,” your team or partner may be able to identify issues before attacks even occur, writes Gadjo Sevilla, a Business Analyst at PCMag.com.
Expert Advice Ensures GDPR and Other Regulatory Compliance
As data breaches become more frequent, brands are being required to meet stricter regulations across the world — none more well-known than GDPR (the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation). Such is the complexity of many of these regulations, and the GDPR in particular, that a combination of expert advice and software is essential. Enter the BaaS partner who can provide both.
GDPR requires most brands to drastically improve the way they manage data, writes David Hoos, Director of Marketing at The Good. “You’ll need the ability to quickly access records with personally identifiable information so you can supply, modify, or delete that data. You’ll also need to know exactly how that data has been used and where else it has been distributed or stored.” This is a lot for any brand to put in place without the help of an expert who can advise on the specific actions your brand needs to take and the software required to get your data management systems in order.
At the same time, you’ll have to coordinate your regulatory efforts with your marketing and consumer engagement efforts. A significant part of GDPR compliance centers on the way brands handle email marketing. If the same partner can help with both, all the better.
It’s equally important to communicate your compliance with consumers. This demonstrates you have taken the time to get your house in order, writes the MicroStartups team. Your brand reputation can improve as a result of consumer perception of you as trustworthy rather than just another reseller.
Data security is far too important for your brand to handle alone. When even the biggest and most famous brands are at risk, it pays to partner with BaaS experts who can provide the combination of software and advice resellers need to protect their consumer data successfully.