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The importance of data security and the state of eCommerce

Software Development Services

In 2017, a data breach at Equifax exposed personal information — including Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, addresses, birth dates, and more — of approximately 147 million people. Now, the credit reporting agency has reached a $700 million settlement with the United States government, including $425 million to be dispersed among those affected by the hack.

eCommerce is booming, but as this case underscores, software development services can’t just focus on creating the platforms for organizations to conduct transactions online — they also need to develop ways to protect the mountains of personal data that is being generated and accrued.

These threats are everpresent. A 2019 Capital One data breach exposed the personal information of more than 100 million people in the United States and six million in Canada. However, as eCommerce technology becomes more widely used, it makes customers and their personal information more vulnerable to attacks. So, what can businesses do to protect their consumers?

The State of eCommerce

eCommerce has transformed the way people make purchases and how vendors conduct their business. Companies have access to a much wider pool of customers, an easier way to facilitate transactions, and lower operation costs — all of which translate to increased sales.

According to a Big Commerce report, identity theft accounted for 69% of all data breach incidents in 2017. The average cost of a data breach will exceed $150 million by 2020. Customer trust is at risk following a data breach, and companies that handle these situations poorly and without transparency are unlikely to win back customers.

Cyberattacks do happen, and they can be catastrophic. Not only can they result in multi-million-dollar lawsuits and make clients vulnerable, but they also put the reputation of your entire organization at risk.

Steps to ensure security on your eCommerce platform

You alone can’t protect your consumers’ data. In the case of outsourcing of software development needs, make your software development services aware that cybersecurity is one of your biggest priorities. Chances are if they’ve built an eCommerce platform before, they have the know-how and expertise to address your concerns and will do so proactively. They can also advise you on strategy and maintenance going forward.

Some other steps you and your software development providers should take to increase data security are:

  • Run tests on your website and apps routinely to identify potential weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
  • Review your business’s procedures for processing data, being mindful of unsecured entry points that could make your website vulnerable to attacks.
  • Install antivirus software and firewalls and maintain them, updating them as necessary.
  • Have data backup software in place in case of any system failures.
  • Educate your employees about cybersecurity and threats, including phishing scams. Install software updates routinely on employee computers as well.
  • Never save or store sensitive personal data from customers unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Host your site on a private, rather than shared, server — it’s more secure.
  • Install an SSL (security sockets layer) certificate on your website. This alerts customers to the fact that their transactions are encrypted, indicating that the connection between their computer and your server is secure.
  • Install endpoint protection software to prevent employees from viewing unsecured websites and pages at work.
  • Carefully vet any software development providers and other third parties who have access to your website. These people and organizations will also have access to your consumers’ data.

When you’re searching for software development providers to build your eCommerce platform, discuss their strategy for protecting against hackers and other cyber threats. Make sure they can provide concrete examples of measures they have taken to protect their clients in the past.

Moreover, you also need to be able to trust the software development services you employ. Read reviews and ask for client referrals to determine whether the company has a solid track record, particularly in terms of their attention to cybersecurity. This is true of software development outsourcing but also of any employee you hire — you must vet him or her carefully, especially if they’re going to have access to sensitive data.

If your eCommerce site is well-secured, it’s unlikely to be susceptible to cyberattacks. Just make sure you’re routinely keeping your systems and protective measures updated routinely since cybercriminals and technology become more sophisticated every day.

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