The web can be a dangerous place if you don’t know how to protect yourself.
Perhaps more than in any other online industry, ecommerce store owners are continuously forced to reckon with the fact their sites are hot targets for cyberattacks, and find new ways of combating them.
Ecommerce sites are treasure troves of sensitive personal and financial data. With thieves eager to root out any potential weaknesses they can, businesses across the sector need to understand that the threat lies not just in the loss of this information, but the significant reputational damage that comes with it.
Fortunately, many businesses have recognised this threat and begun to invest in new security systems to protect their stores, perhaps spurred on by the evolving nature of cybercrime throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the on-mass adoption of remote working. Nevertheless, these systems are no substitute for solid training that prepares your team.
Cybersecurity is a constant game of cat and mouse, with criminals honing their skills to penetrate new systems. The best way to stay one step ahead is to be aware of emerging challenges and dedicate time to training yourself and your employees. Let’s explore why.
2020 was a year of significant evolution for cybercrime.
Mass adoption of remote working across a number of different office-based sectors was one of the leading business stories of the pandemic. Naturally, this left the door open to a wave of criminals looking to target vulnerable businesses still reeling from this massive change to how they operate.
While the physical nature of ecommerce meant that many businesses continued to remain open in the traditional sense, some staff members (such as customer service, market, etc) moved to their spare bedroom setups and settled into this new workplace attitude with little preparation time.
The combination of an awkward transition period and the crash course training with now essential software such as Zoom meant many companies were more vulnerable to what would have previously been quite rudimentary phishing and ransomware attacks. Fake email invites and dark, trojan horse-like malware were common occurrences across many sectors throughout the pandemic, and ecommerce, with its high profile boom, was no different.
Remote working also presented the additional threats of teams being separated from one another. Rather than having cybersecurity experts of sites, less tech-savvy employees were forced to communicate issues through messaging systems or struggle for solutions by themselves. Without the safety blanket of in-office security systems, detailed company data was often at the mercy of a staff member’s ability to remember to turn on a VPN.
While businesses have been able to steady the ship, this should act as a warning that new online threats are emerging every day, and the simplistic, potentially outdated, sites that ecommerce stores use to run their business and internal security measures may not by up to the task of blocking this crime.
Ecommerce was one of the few success stories of the pandemic, with both established giants such as Amazon and newly launched ventures to offset lost income seeing massive success.
In a world where no one can go to the shops, ecommerce was suddenly the greatest thing since sliced bread.
But while we were all ordering new entertainment, household essentials and food online, cybercriminals were lurking in the shadows eying up their new target.
It becomes apparent pretty quickly how the new boom in ecommerce customers made ecommerce a vulnerable sector. The amount of money swirling around and the less savvy user base of first time shoppers adding perhaps too much information to online accounts lead to many stores having to fight off continued attacks.
While bricks and mortar stores can just add a new security alarm and refine closing processes to keep their store safe, ecommerce businesses were forced to find new ways to combat inventive attacks while adapting to a massive user base boom. If your average customer is new to the idea of online shopping, it can make it harder to keep them safe.
Whether it’s a scare of full-blown identity theft, the sheer volume of customers who have experienced some level of cybercrime during this period is a sign of how vulnerable the ecommerce sector is at large.
If you’ve been in the ecommerce game for any length of time, you know how important certain key periods are to your business.
Christmas is probably a big one. Mother’s Day could lead to a healthy profit spike. Black Friday may push the limits of your website.
Getting your website ready for these key periods is crucial for maximising them and ensuring you’re getting as many orders through the door as possible.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals know this all too well and will target stores that might have their eye off the ball while ramping up to these weeks and months. This might leave their security systems temporarily less robust, and give hackers the opportunity to infiltrate with disruptive ransomware.
The aim of this scheme is to restrict access of an owner to their website until they pay a ransom. During peak periods criminals know these websites become even more valuable and owners will have less time to work on solutions other than paying up, so they’re more likely to relent. This makes them a very attractive proposition that generally yields good results. This is why securing your store in the lead up to these key periods is more crucial than ever.
Now you understand the importance of cybersecurity training for your ecommerce business, let’s get you started and cover a few essential topics to cover.
Phishing and malware attacks: Two of the most common forms of cybercrime. Phishing and malware attacks both target the user’s machine through downloaded software, breaching the PC through an email download or another typical everyday function. If you know how to stop them, they can be pretty easy to swerve, but one mistake can be quite devastating for the security of your data and the health of your equipment.
Passwords and authentication: Even the most basic of cybersecurity measures should be covered in your training, as they’re often unsuspecting great ways to tighten up your business. The science of a strong password should be employed across your business, while password managers and two-step authentication processes can add another strong layer of security to your log-in process and immediately alert you to possible breaches.
Physical security: Cybersecurity isn’t just a matter of keeping your 1s and 0s in check, the physical side of keeping customer and company data is just as important. If your employees are lax about the physical whereabouts and accessibility of their tools, imagine how they’re going to act when it comes to digital material? Ensure you cover proper conduct with company property storing and containing access to private information, especially in a world where working from home has never been more prominent. You’d do the same for any other sensitive part of your business.
Mobile security: With the majority of the user now doing their shopping on mobile devices, it makes sense to build a significant portion of your online safety and security training around those little machines in our pocket. Much like building a great ecommerce store, optimising your training for mobile makes it easier to understand and highlights pain points you might not have otherwise noticed.
Consider trying… Mock cybersecurity attacks! Seeing how your employees react to real-world situations (either prompted or put upon them without warning) gives you a brilliant idea of how well your training programs are working and highlights potential weak spots.
Cybersecurity is no joke. Every company worth their salt has taken stock of the last year and learned their lesson, implementing significant cybercrime preventions and robust training exercises. Whether you’re a freshly launched ecommerce business learning the ropes or an established enterprise behind the times, you need to catch up and start training your staff.