We live in an era where online privacy is dwindling. But it’s also an era of consumer empowerment, where average people are taking control of their online behaviors and protecting themselves against unnecessary outside intrusion. Consumers are concerned in light of the recent news of the National Security Agency’s snooping, the Heartbleed bug and other cyber security issues.
The 2014 Internet Security Threat Report suggested targeted attacks increased 91 percent in 2013 and 552 million identities were exposed to breaches. E-commerce businesses have started feeling the pressure to provide more secure sites to protect customers’ data. Companies that have access to their customer’s credit card numbers and other personal information online should take extra care, given the recent data breaches, to make sure customers are safe.
E-commerce sites are easy targets for hackers. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable, as oftentimes, the budget for a highly sophisticated data security system simply isn’t there.
CIO.com says that an e-commerce platform should use a “sophisticated object-orientated programming language” Open-source platforms can be made inaccessible to hackers based on the strength of that language. CIO.com has two other key suggestions: 1. Use a secure connection at checkout, and 2. Avoid storing sensitive data. Online purchases should be protected by Secure Sockets Layer, more commonly known as SSL, which authenticates transactions and encrypts the data; this is most commonly where hackers breach the system, so storing credit card numbers and similar information could be catastrophic in the event of a breach.
Server Message Block technology, or SMB, is also a popular tool for e-commerce businesses that applies “more modern and nimble applications that allow them to move quickly” when securing data, according to Heather Clancy of Small Business Matters.
Even WordPress has similar solutions for small businesses. The Krux SMB plugin, for example, is designed to authenticate and secure data sent through your site via social media channels.
Promote Online Safety
Any of these security measures could easily be explained via your company’s website to increase consumer confidence; it’s actually pretty common for wary shoppers to verify your platform’s security before entering any personal information. By providing resources to your customers on staying safe and secure online, you’re also advocating that they take control of their personal data and prepare for the unexpected. For example, Aol has partnered with identity theft company Lifelock to offer a complimentary protection advantage plan benefit for Aol members. Lifelock also caters to businesses of all sizes to protect internal data.
Like the security features noted above, some companies are listing their protection measures for customers to learn how they can fully secure their online information. As an online merchant or e-commerce business, it’s important to engage conversation with customers about how your company is protecting their data. Be transparent about the security measures you’ve taken and encourage customers to seek additional assistance from outside companies. In the end, concerned customers will see your company as open, honest and allied in the fight against online thieves.