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The Transition to E-Commerce: How Retail Cybersecurity is Changing

Over the last year, when consumers were stuck at home, e-commerce businesses grabbed a sizable part of the retail industry. Online sales accounted for 21.3 percent of total retail sales in 2020, up from 15.8 percent in 2019. As businesses transition to eCommerce, cybersecurity is becoming a major issue. Here’s how you can safeguard your company.

Increases Website Traffic

When brick-and-mortar stores first start selling online, businesses may not understand they need to account for the increase in internet visitors. If too many users visit the site, the servers may get overloaded, causing everything to go down. If you’re transitioning to e-commerce, now is a good time to consider raising your server resources.

However, legal traffic isn’t the sole danger. When criminal actors flood a website using bot traffic in an effort to overwhelm the servers, this is referred to as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) assault. These assaults are frequently utilized as a form of blackmail or extortion. Attackers will demand monetary compensation in return for halting the DDoS attack.

Increases the amount of customer data stored on company servers

Businesses that sell online must keep additional consumer information on their servers, such as credit card information and customers’ names, addresses, and phone numbers. All of this information is a high-value target for hackers, so businesses must take the appropriate steps to secure their consumers. Secureworks provides a database of known attackers and threat actors to assist organizations in identifying the types of issues they should be on the lookout for.

According to Rafe Pilling, Senior Information Security Researcher at Secureworks, “Payment card data theft and fraud (PCI) and theft of customer personally identifiable information (PII) are two of the big-ticket items that Retailers of all kinds worry about. A successful ransomware attack can not only paralyze the business but result in the theft of regulated and commercially sensitive data.”

He continues by explaining how organizations may protect their consumers from theft. “Minimizing the data retained is the most effective strategy. Criminals can’t steal what you don’t have.” You must adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and store only required data on your systems. “Visibility across the corporate network is also critical,” Pilling added. An XDR (extended detection and response) platform may provide your IT staff with the visibility they need to identify and prevent inbound threats.

Mandates Additional Website Plugins

Businesses must either custom-code their website or use third-party plugins to improve the functionality of their e-commerce site. Plugins are typically a less expensive and easier to deploy alternative, but they come with their own set of hazards. Because not all web platforms closely monitor the extensions they feature in their app store, you must be cautious about the ones you add to your site. Before installing anything, read the reviews and thoroughly analyze the documentation.

Courtney Radke, Fortinet’s CISO for National Retail, discusses several frequent concerns with third-party plugins and how to avoid them. “As retailers add more cloud-based applications, both for their employees and their customers, they need to enhance their security capabilities beyond what they get from cloud service providers. Such applications are vulnerable to various threats and the organizations operating these applications are often required to meet compliance requirements.” To guard against both known and undiscovered dangers, Radke suggests that organizations employ a Web-Application Firewall (WAF), secure web services, and APIs.

Employees will need further training

Detecting theft in person requires drastically different skill sets and training processes than detecting theft online. When you transition to e-commerce, you’ll need to teach your staff to recognize and avoid phishing efforts, as well as hire cybersecurity specialists to monitor the website and restrict and remediate attacks. Smaller businesses may want to engage a managed services provider instead of an in-house staff for this.

In discussing the paradigm change that firms must undergo when switching to e-commerce, Joe Byrne, Regional CTO at AppDynamics, a Cisco company, discovered that organizations who execute a strategy based on full-stack observability achieve the greatest outcomes. “Full-stack observability enables the ability to monitor and can also provide the business context of the entire IT stack, from the consumer-facing level down to the network and infrastructure of an application.” 

This method “allows IT teams to catch anomalies, issues and security threats in real-time and have the ability to put it all within the context of the business, turning what previously took hours and days to remedy into a few minute fix” Bryne explained. Accelerating response times can restrict the amount of information that a hacker can obtain if they infiltrate your network.

Keeping your e-commerce shop safe from evolving cyber threats

Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, but so are the specialists attempting to stop them. To keep your online company safe from attacks, you must take the necessary steps to safeguard your website. Choose trustworthy hosting providers, thoroughly analyze any third-party plugins, and include cybersecurity technologies intended to detect fraudulent traffic as well as spear phishing efforts. You can keep your online clients secure and pleased if you take these steps.



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