a blog from CenturyLink

6 steps to security for your ecommerce website

by | Nov 10, 2020


More than ever, consumers are shopping online for appliances, furniture, clothing, food, and other retail goods. In fact, online sales make up 21% of all retail purchases now, with consumers spending billions of dollars online according to Digital Commerce 360. And that number goes up year after year. With more consumers purchasing online, a secure ecommerce site is more important than ever.

It’s time to make online shopping safe for your customers. Ecommerce may be a convenient way to sell to your customers, but data breaches and hacking are on the rise for retailers. Now, more than ever, it’s time to look at securing your website and making it safer for online shoppers. Take these six steps and learn how to create a secure ecommerce website.

Offer a secure ecommerce shopping experience by securing access to your website.

1. Basic ecommerce security: SSL

One of the most important things you can do is add another layer of security to your website. As you browse the web, you may notice that different websites have either HTTP or HTTPS. TTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTP is a set of rules electronic devices follow to communicate with each other over the internet. When websites add in a security protocol to authenticate browsers and ensure browsers communicate securely with the web server, it becomes HTTPS.

This is thanks to an SSL certificate (also known as a TLS), or a data file that makes it possible to encrypt a website with SSL/TSL. When your customers shop online, the SSL certificate encrypts their financial data to protect it from leaking. There are a variety of different SSL certificates, so start by determining which certificate your business needs. Then, your next step is to get an SSL certificate. While costs vary, there are also free options out there. Make sure to consult with your IT team about what kind of SSL certificate is best for your team and how to get it installed.

You can offer a secure ecommerce experience for your customers by using SSL.

2. Be PCI compliant

Since you will likely be handling debit and credit cards, you also need to have PCI compliance for secure ecommerce. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard implemented PCI compliance to protect consumers and protect businesses from data breaches. Achieving compliance includes using firewalls, isolating cardholder data, and using antivirus software.

3. Manage access to your website

It’s a good idea to regularly review who has access to your ecommerce website. For one, you have no idea what kinds of passwords the editors or people working on the backend of your site have set up. Weak passwords could open your website up to hacks. Encourage your employees and consultants to set up strong and unique passwords and remove access from anyone who is no longer with your organization or working for you.

Additionally, many content management systems offer different levels of access to your website. Establish some standard operating procedures around access to your website for new employees, consultants, or freelancers. For additional ecommerce security, require dual-factor authentication for all accounts that have access to your website.

4. Keep your website updated

Just like any system, your website is susceptible to malware, and even big players in the ecommerce space can get hacked. By taking precautions and regularly applying updates to your content management system and any plugins you use, you can take major steps to secure your ecommerce store. Not only will this provide a better user experience, but it can also help prevent holes in your software that a hacker could take advantage of. Make sure to regularly run tests on your website for any vulnerabilities. It’s also a good idea to use security software to protect your website. This type of software will scan and audit your website and protect against malware.

You should practice good cybersecurity at your place of business.

5. Practice good cybersecurity in your organization

Risks to your organization and website can come from inside if your employees are unaware of best practices for cybersecurity. Educate them about what phishing and social engineering attacks look like. Make sure any employees that come into contact with customer data know how to protect it.

6. Keep only what you need

You’re more likely to get hacked if you have a lot of data.  You should only hold on to exactly what you need in order to run your business: complete orders, issue refunds for returns, etc. And with more and more legislation getting passed to protect consumer data, it’s in your best interest to think about how and why you store customer data.

Customer browses a sale at an ecommerce store.

A secure ecommerce site is  paramount for conducting safe business online. By taking these six steps to secure your ecommerce site and by practicing cybersecurity, you can work to keep both your business and your customers safe online as you tap into the growing digital marketplace.

Secure ecommerce and beyond

Need more security? CenturyLink Small Business is pleased to offer security solutions like SiteLock. Get total website protection against hackers, malware, SQL injections, cross site scripting and viruses. Learn more about SiteLock and other small business services offered by CenturyLink today.

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<a href="https://discover.centurylink.com/author/kirstenqueen" target="_self">Kirsten Queen</a>

Kirsten Queen


Kirsten Queen is the Senior Content Marketing Manager for CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber. Since she started writing professionally, Kirsten has dabbled in nonprofit grant writing and communications, social media marketing, and now writes content about life with technology. In her free time, Kirsten likes to cook, garden, and hike in the mountains of Colorado. Her name rhymes with first, not cheer.