Retail Cybersecurity in the age of E-Commerce

This is a guest post from our friends at Cigniti.

Many retailers swiftly created their initial e-commerce stores in the early days of the pandemic. Others enhanced their services by adding online ordering with curbside pickup, for example.  

The epidemic hastened the shift to e-commerce stores by five years in just a few months. This emphasizes the importance of bolstering retail cybersecurity.  

As a result, there is now more data in the cloud than ever before, both public and private. Now that the dust has settled, store owners should examine their retail cybersecurity and security breach measures to ensure that the processes and technologies they implemented are effective. 

With more customers buying from their homes, protecting your business from retail security risks is more important than ever. Examine the threats to retail cybersecurity and how to avoid them. 

Examining the threats to retail cybersecurity whilst safeguarding Customer Data 

Knowing your consumers’ demands today and anticipating their wants tomorrow, both in terms of products and customer experience, is critical for long-term retail success. However, doing so with an e-commerce store is more difficult than with a physical store.  

The key to acquiring these vital insights is to make efficient use of the data you already have. Using consumer data to develop personalized experiences can improve revenue and enhance return on investment (ROI). 

Consumer customer data is often grouped together by retailers, although this is incorrect. Businesses must consider each form of customer data separately since it has a different commercial value and risk component.  

Furthermore, many sorts of client data are stored on various platforms and servers. To adequately safeguard each type, you must know where it dwells. 

In the age of e-commerce, one major impediment to strong retail cybersecurity is the increased complexity of client data security. Data access is required for merchants to digitalize.  

They need customer demographics to fine-tune their marketing strategies, as well as inventory statistics to keep their shelves supplied.  

Customers’ personal and financial information is also required in order for shoppers to shop effortlessly and start up where they left off, whether on a mobile phone, a laptop, or in a store. 

The next step is for online retailers to store all of this information and put it to good use. As a result, they invest in cloud-based storage plans, feature-rich web stores, upgraded retail store point-of-sale (POS) terminals, and/or revamped mobile apps, among other things.  

These assets boost the volume of data that travels across their network. They also open up new access points for threat actors to attempt to mount an offensive. 

Threat actors, for example, are increasingly focusing on credit card skimmers rather than POS malware. Injecting malicious code into e-commerce checkout pages that use self-removal and other tactics to avoid detection is a common practice.  

They also use steganography to hide viruses within photos or to create a veil over the data theft process. 

Cybersecurity in retail can potentially be jeopardized by fraud. It all starts with a digital attacker getting into a legitimate shopper’s account or employing upfront staging to create their own account.  

They do this to make the account appear honest for a while. The attackers then employ those resources to carry out schemes like reshipping scams and use stolen credit cards to buy high-end items like jewelry or laptops and have them shipped. 

Your clients entrust you with their personal information. And, as a store, you must preserve their trust by safeguarding their information and keeping them coming back.  

You can use the data you acquire to improve the customer experience and develop loyal customers for your business if you take the correct steps with your retail cybersecurity protection initiatives. 

Best practices to secure your retail digital transformation business 

Over the last year and a half, the retail landscape has shifted tremendously. While online commerce existed prior to the pandemic, stay-at-home orders ushered in a new era of online retail for both sellers and customers. 

If you are looking for ways to improve the security of your retail digital transformation, here are a few things that you should take into consideration. 

Protect your servers and control panels. The bulk of E-commerce sites come with default passwords that are easy to guess out of the box. Businesses should take precautions to replace default passwords with strong, complex passwords. In some situations, organizations may be able to set up the hosting site so that it alerts an administrator if an unknown IP tries to log in. 

Make certain you defeat the bots. Bot-blocking software is useful, and even the largest online retailers can have bot traffic issues. Furthermore, bots can purchase large quantities of your merchandise, which their human operators can later resell on the internet or elsewhere for a profit. Captcha and other cyber security software technologies might help you avoid bots. 

Prevent malicious web content and email files from entering your network and endpoints by blocking unknown malicious web content and email files. Endpoints can still let attackers through despite security protections in some circumstances. Make sure your company has a solid security solution in place that is capable of proactively detecting advanced threats. 

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which helps enterprises better manage credit card security, should be followed by e-commerce businesses. This security measure is mandated by law in numerous European countries and many US states. 

Customer information should not be stored on your website. The backend setup of a website is often the first visit for hackers looking for easy information. Hackers won’t be able to steal data if it exists in the first place. But you’ll need a place to keep your data, right? Consider storing client data with a third-party company. 

Stop cloud-based assaults with a cloud native application security solution that is fully automated. 

A valid SSL certificate should be maintained by online retail locations to prevent cyber criminals from extracting credit card numbers and other sensitive information. On the customer side, an SSL certificate signifies that your online store is a secure location to shop. 

Patching systems on a regular basis is essential. Software developers want to assist you in safeguarding your business. They plan the patches they publish to accomplish this. On rare occasions, a cyber threat actor will identify a vulnerability prior to the deployment of a fix. Zero-day assaults are what they’re called, and they’re something you should be aware of. 

Use firewall software if possible. In most cases, network firewalls can prevent unsecured traffic from accessing your site. Inbound and outbound internet traffic that passes via specialized web servers can be protected by web application firewalls (WAFs). E-commerce companies can benefit from WAFs. They can filter out dangerous web traffic automatically and allow administrators to manually control who can and cannot visit a certain website. 

Incorporate numerous layers of protection into your system. A multi-layered approach can improve security and reduce overall retail risk. Every layer of security, from two-factor authentication to Content Delivery Network (CDN) protection, can help thwart attackers. 

Although operating an online retail space may not necessitate a large number of staff, be sure that any employees who handle online information are trained in cyber security best practices. Although it may not be possible to completely eliminate human error, you may be able to reduce the number of malware installations or other security-related blunders caused by employees. 

Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and even automated, which is unfortunate. That is why, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, there is no better moment to begin implementing security measures that will ensure retailer business continuity. 

Closing thoughts 

When it comes to providing merchants with the best possible consumer experience, it is imperative to focus on strategy, analytics, and a high-quality user experience at every touchpoint.  

Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing digital retail market, merchants are finding themselves vulnerable to growing and increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks. 

Cigniti’s innovative retail software solutions help companies better fit with their customers’ needs. We’ve worked with major companies in the industry on Digital Quality Engineering for the Retail Industry on anything from food to fashion to ecommerce. 

Payment systems, supply chain, ERP, warehouse management, retail store POS software testing, and other applications in the Enterprise ecosystem must all work together flawlessly on today’s Ecommerce platforms.  

Cigniti provides “World-Class” ecommerce website testing solutions through UI & User Experience Testing (across OEMs, Browsers, and Operating Systems), Holiday Readiness Testing, and checklists that enable Ecommerce portals and retail software testing companies to be prepared for PCI DSS certification. 

Need help?

Talk to our Ecommerce and Retail experts about testing E-commerce websites. They will help you provide a solution for your business and will demonstrate how to scale the quality needs further to create a robust Ecommerce security platform that will cater to all your retail cybersecurity and shopping needs.