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ecommerce security basics

The top 3 ecommerce security basics for small businesses owners

Small businesses that aren't leveraging online retail as a part of their operation are simply leaving money on the table. If done correctly, the return on investment will outweigh the initial investment businesses have to make to implement an ecommerce website. The online retail market is growing at an unprecedented rate, and recent ComScore™ data reported 2014 holiday season spending reached $53.3 billion in online sales (1). While the fourth quarter is usually a time for consumer spending, the large amount of sales points to the potential online selling power ecommerce brings businesses. 

The growth potential for ecommerce is massive. It's up to small businesses to leverage this aspect of operations to their advantage. While online retail is wildly popular among the general public, security concerns still exist. Consumers want to be certain their private and sensitive information will remain protected if they complete an online transaction. Keeping that in mind, here are the top three security basics local merchants must abide by with their ecommerce website:

  1. PCI compliance: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard™ (PCI DDS) was created in the industry to establish guidelines and standards for merchants that process card payments. To qualify for compliance, merchants have to ensure cardholders' data is protected and there are levels of security in place to do so. Payment gateways require the same type of safeguarding. The most basic, and arguably most important, aspect of ecommerce security is PCI compliance.
  2. Encryption is a must: In terms of protecting sensitive customer information, small businesses can do just that by encrypting all of the data that is stored on their servers. Third-party payment providers can tokenize stored information for their partners by assigning unique identifiers to sensitive data. This includes things like payment data, passwords and contact information. Tokenization makes it extremely difficult for hackers to use data if it's illegally obtained since they don't hold the key for the encryption codes.
  3. Vulnerability monitoring: Small businesses can build a robust network security system, but if they don't optimize and update on a regular basis, their chances of a breach increase. As software matures, it requires continual patchwork and upgrades to both remain compliant with industry security standards, but also to keep hackers from breaching a network. Running constant diagnostics tests is a strong way to prevent patches from growing too big, according to security software firm McAfee™.

1. comScore, https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2015/1/Final-2014-Desktop-Online-Holiday-Sales-Reach-53.3-Billion-Up-15-Percent-vs.-Year-Ago (Jan, 7, 2015)

comScore™ and McAfee™ are registered or unregistered marks belonging to their respective owners who are unaffiliated with and do not endorse or sponsor Vantiv Integrated Payments, LLC.

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