Sad but true: If you’re operating an e-commerce store, you’re at risk for a data breach. We’ve recently seen hackers compromise the e-commerce platforms for several big-name companies: Neiman Marcus, Target and a number of hotel chains. And with the Heartbleed bug in our very recent memory, we all have extra incentive to be cautious.
Data breaches can affect any online store: large, small, in-between. And the results are often devastating: lawsuits, consumer complaints, significant loss of profits. Not something you want to deal with on a given Monday morning.
Nevertheless, it could happen to you. So what are you going to do about it?
Secure hosting: Why it’s vital
Your digital storefront is more than a website these days – it’s your customers’ main point of interaction with your brand. (The face of your company, so to speak.) Any perceived issues with your e-commerce site, including security problems, slow load times or poor customer service, can adversely affect your bottom line.
For any e-commerce store, your first line of defense is your hosting provider. A good hosting company will provide multiple safeguards against would-be hackers and potential data leaks – providing constant IT support, monitoring systems 24/7 and eliminating network weaknesses before they become a problem. (Better security and IT monitoring also equals faster page loads and more uptime – so your customers are safer and happier.)
A quality e-commerce hosting provider will be on-call 24/7, and will provide comprehensive security features, including firewalls and multiple daily data backups. (Backups are vital! Make sure you’ve chosen a hosting provider that includes this service as part of the standard package, and doesn’t force you to pay extra or do your own.)
Security spending: Getting the most for your dollar
You’re going to have to spend some money on security for your e-commerce site – unfortunately, that’s just the way things are these days. Consumer groups and Congress are currently pressuring online retailers to raise their budgets for security spending. If no one has bothered you about this yet, don’t hold your breath – they’ll start bothering you soon.
However, the key to effective security spending is quality, not quantity. If you have a large online security budget and you’re not using it effectively, that’s money you’ll never see again. (And data breaches waiting to happen.) A good e-commerce hosting provider will help you get the most out of your cyber-security dollar – offering services that actually work, at a budget without “surprise” expenses.
We’ve said it before: “do it yourself” or “free” options often end up costing you more. Unless you really know the ins and outs of the program, installing and maintaining your own security software may be more trouble and expense than it’s worth. However, a managed hosting company offers you state-of-the-art firewalls, continuous server monitoring and advanced IDS (intrusion detection systems), all for a clearly defined fee. It may cost a little more upfront, but in the long run, it’s definitely worth it.
Lock it down! Your e-commerce store deserves protection.
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