Why it Pays to Keep Your Online Store Safe

Expanding your business to include the Internet is an excellent opportunity to reach new markets and grow your consumer base.That said, there are challenges involved in running an e-commerce website, including the responsibility of developing strong cybersecurity provisions. Keeping your customers – and your business – secure from cyber threats is no easy feat, but a proactive approach will go a long way towards ensuring a safe and profitable future for your online store.

Because it’s more difficult to verify someone’s identity online, credit card and payment fraud is an especially worrisome concern for e-commerce merchants. Identity theft and account takeovers are other forms of illegal activity that you also must guard against. As the owner of an Internet storefront, you could be held liable in the event that your customers suffer loss as a consequence of security breaches. So how can you stay up-to-date with the latest online security measures? Read on for several proven ways to keep your business and your customers on the right track:


Protecting User Accounts

Activating two-factor authentication is an easy way of reducing the possibility of account misuse. This security precaution demands that users log in with their normal account credentials as well as a special code that’s sent to their email addresses or mobile devices at the time they wish to access their accounts. In the unlikely event that a crook gets ahold of a shopper’s username and password, the criminal would also have to hack that person’s email or steal his or her phone before gaining unauthorized access. Demand that all customer-generated passwords contain at least eight characters, including one or more capital letters and typographic symbols.


Blocking Suspicious Transactions

Major credit card brands, like Visa and MasterCard, have teamed up to create a set of guidelines for online retailers to follow. If you’re compliant with these PCI standards, you’ll have a lower risk of being susceptible to all kinds of security breaches.

Ask shoppers to enter the CVV codes from the back of their cards to help ensure that the legitimate cardholder is the one making the purchase. Also, it’s a good idea to use an address verification system to confirm that the address entered into your system is a legitimate address associated with the person in whose name the card was issued. Even after following these suggestions, it may be wise to set an upper limit on the amount that anyone can buy from you on a single day with a credit card.


Upgrade Your Systems

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s critical that you keep your software up to date. As new vulnerabilities are discovered, software vendors release security patches to plug the holes. They won’t work if you don’t install them though. Deploy business-strength anti-virus and anti-malware solutions. The free trial versions aren’t good enough if you’re serious about keeping your customer’s sensitive information from being intercepted by malicious entities.


The Consequences of Cyber Fraud

The expenses you incur from an incident of credit card fraud could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not only will your bottom line suffer, but your company’s reputation will take a hit as well. This may upset your finely calibrated financial arrangements and negatively affect your business credit rating until you set everything right. When customers request chargebacks from banks because of credit card fraud, your relationship with your payment processors may be affected if you had accepted fraudulent transactions without doing your part to block them.

As an e-commerce retailer, you’re responsible for doing more than just running a successful website – it’s also up to you to ensure all sensitive information pertaining to your company and your customers remains secure. Implement a few common-sense precautions and do your best to maintain security protocols and policies that will serve as a critical buffer from the ongoing threat of cybercrime.

Maricel Tabalba is a freelance contributor for who is interested in writing about personal finance for millennials and college students. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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