Ecommerce Security Explained

Last Updated
May 1, 2023

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Online shopping has soared in recent years, and as more and more retailers set up Ecommerce facilities, security has become a major priority.

Why security matters

For both customers and retailers, the consequences of being hit by an online security attack can be detrimental. If hackers get hold of sensitive data, including customers’ personal details, credit card information or business data, it can cause many negative repercussions. For starters, customers will lose trust in that business and avoid shopping there in the future, whilst businesses not only face loss of custom and disruption to their operations, but their reputation and brand could end up in tatters. When the media gets hold of news about a business suffering a cyber attack, it can take many years for that company to regain trust.


Although it’s not possible to eliminate every single risk associated with cyber attacks, there is a lot you can do to minimise the risks, making it harder for hackers and cyber criminals to compromise your data.

If you are a new business about to get off the ground, there’ll inevitably be lots of things you need to juggle in the initial stages of your venture. Make sure to put Ecommerce security at the top of your agenda from the word go, so you don’t leave yourself vulnerable to attack by focusing on other aspects of the business. Here are some ideas on how to ensure your Ecommerce operations are as secure as possible.

Choose your hosting carefully

When setting up your Ecommerce site, make sure the hosting provider you choose is meticulous about security. Find out what measures they take to ensure your site is safe and secure. Select a hosting provider that makes regular backups, monitors the network regularly, keeps comprehensive logs and uses effective encryption. Ask the provider what procedures they have in place if a cyber attack or emergency happens that compromises your data. Knowing that a disaster recovery plan is in place can give you added peace of mind, should you be in the unfortunate position of a security breach.

Secure your site

Cyber criminals are employing ever more sophisticated techniques to gain access to sensitive information online, so make sure your Ecommerce site has adequate security layers in place that block the path of hackers getting to your data. At the very least, get the latest firewalls installed on your site.

Update and back up

One of the most important things to recognise about Ecommerce security is that it is not a one-off event. You need to regularly monitor the security of your Ecommerce site, make regular back-ups and ensure that you are up to date with the latest software, plugins and extensions. As soon as new versions are released, patch your site up immediately, to avoid leaving yourself vulnerable to attackers. If your site is backed up regularly, it is easier to restore it from a back-up than try to pick up the pieces of what is left following a hack. Avoid installing any questionable software that could put the security of your site at risk.

Secure passwords


If your Ecommerce site uses passwords, logins or usernames, endeavour to only accept those that are deemed strong. This means stipulating that they should be made up of a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and even symbols. Complicated passwords are very secure, and make life harder for hackers. Ask your web provider to lock logins that fail to enter the correct password after several attempts.

Storing personal details

Only store customer information that is essential to your business. The less information you have, the less can be stolen by hackers. There is no need to keep reams of customer records on your system, particularly credit card numbers, so keep sensitive data storage to a minimum. Always make sure that the personal details you do store are kept in a very safe place.

Secure purchasing

When someone buys something from your online shop, they’ll feel confident if you have robust security measures in place during the transaction process. Additionally, secure systems can help you as a retailer to ensure that the customer is legitimate, and not a scammer. For starters, use authentication measures to help determine the identity of both buyer and seller. Make use of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates, which encrypt information from the customer to the server and reduce the likelihood of external interference. Add Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to safeguard your integrity and privacy. Tracking orders with a number is also a good idea to help discourage chargeback fraud, whilst address and credit card verification systems can provide peace of mind.

Monitor your site

Keep an eye on your site for anything that appears unusual, unexpected or suspicious. This can help you to track any fraudulent activity that could be taking place. There are real-time analytical tools available that can help you to monitor the activity on your site as it happens, where you can even receive alerts if any activity appears out of the ordinary. Suspicious activity could include multiple orders using different credit cards by the same person, phone numbers that are from different areas than the billing address, or orders where the card holder name and recipient name don’t match.

Staff training

If you employ other members of staff, make sure to emphasise the importance of Ecommerce security to them, including detailing any laws or policies that may affect customer data. Do not share passwords or logins, and advise staff to keep their access information safe from others. Be wary about who in your business has access to sensitive information on your website and servers, and only give access to those who can be trusted. It can sometimes be the case that fraudulent activity takes place by members of staff, or ex-members of staff, so if a worker leaves your business, make sure that their access details are wiped from the system, so that they can not manipulate your data externally in any way.