No doubt about it, e-Commerce is and will continue to be significant. With WordPress, you can create and run a highly responsive e-commerce site. One thing, however, may stand in the way of all the business goals you hope to achieve with your e-commerce platform. That is the not-so-small matter of cybersecurity.
Data breaches are every entrepreneur’s nightmare. Whether you are just setting up shop as a start-up or have been around for a while, here are some tips to secure your WordPress e-commerce site.
1. Invest In A Quality Host
Skimping on quality when it comes to choosing a web hosting service is something that will cost you down the line. A quality web host is worth the investment and will offer you multiple layers of security.
Some of the security features you can enjoy with a good web host include frequent malware scans to identify any security breaches. Another feature is constant software updates, which helps to identify and eliminate potential threats. Other great features to look out for include access to a web application firewall and a host of targeted security features such as DDoS protection.
Does the web host provide back-up resources? With back-up, it is easy to restore your site, even after a breach, to a stable previous state or version.
Another crucial element to consider when choosing a web hosting service is the level of support offered. Go for one that guarantees reliable 24/7 support, which means they will be available any time of day or night to help you through any security-related issue.
That said, a cloud-based service company is always a good fit. In addition to the offered security features, you can rest assured that there’s always a team of dedicated engineers working behind the scenes, on the other hand, to prevent and resolve any security issues.
2. Choose Secure Plugins And Themes
As with the web host service, do your due diligence before installing a theme or plugin. There are so many available options, and you may be tempted to jump in head first, hoping to achieve the functionality promised.
Whether it’s a free-to-download or the premium kind that you pay for, check the reputation of the developers before installing any themes and plugins. Read reviews from other users. Sadly, some unscrupulous developers embed malware in the code of the plugins they offer.
3. Move to HTTPS
As an e-commerce platform, your site will no doubt be processing sensitive information such as credit card information. Encryption is one way to protect these details. Without an SSL certificate, which is what you’ll need to move to HTTPS, this information is delivered in readable plain text between your web server and a user’s browser. On the other hand, installing an SSL certificate encrypts this information making it hard for hackers to read it.
HTTPS is also a search engine ranking signal. Google and other search engines will reward your efforts towards keeping your site secure with a higher rank in SERPs, which will impact your traffic and lead generation. Your web hosting provider may provide you with an SSL certificate at no extra charge. You can also buy from a third-party company.
4. Secure Sensitive User Data
Use advanced data security methods, such as tokenization, to protect user data. This method replaces sensitive data such as credit card details with elements such as words, numbers, or phrases generated by an algorithm. Even in the event of a data breach, the security of this data remains uncompromised because the cyber attackers cannot decipher the meaning.
5. Make Regular Back-ups
Imagine having to start from scratch in the aftermath of a cyber-attack? Fortunately, that is not something you have to worry too much about if you regularly back up your site.
Whether it’s an integrated feature in your web host or you, have to install a plugin, ensure that you make backing up your data something regular and be consistent about it. Some offer daily back-ups, but if you consider that overkill, then you can always set your automatic back-up to every couple of days, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Backing up your site will help you bounce right back after an attack. With a back-up in place, restoring your site to a previous working state is just a click away.
6. Fortify Logins
It may seem incredulous but some site owners and managers, be it because of laziness, or for whatever reason, go with “Admin” as a username and don’t put nearly enough effort in creating a secure password.
Create a unique username and password. A password generator can help on this front. Also, prompt and remind the users on your e-commerce platform to do the same when setting up user accounts. Both you, as the admin, and your users, should change your passwords regularly.
Another way to fortify your login page is by limiting the number of login attempts for both admin and user accounts. There are plugins for this function.
Implementing two-step, also known as two-factor authentication, will also help secure login. Again, you have several plugins to choose from to achieve this authentication.
7. Follow PCI DSS
Are you familiar with the specifics of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS?) It is not enough to know these standards. Still, as a merchant who accepts credit card payments, regardless of your niche, you must ensure that you are fully compliant.
Some of the requirements for compliance include maintaining a secure network, maintaining a vulnerability management program, implementing access control, and regular system monitoring and testing.
8. Stay Updated Always
Update your plugins and themes regularly and ensure that your site is always up-to-date by running WordPress updates. Hackers often target bugs that developers may have fixed in the latest versions. Installing and running these updates will protect your platform from such vulnerabilities.
For the security of your e-commerce platform, do not ignore that update notification. A managed hosting plan may also include automatic updating of your themes, plugins, and all other WordPress elements.
9. Optimize Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Using a CDN does more than just speed up your e-commerce platform’s loading times. Added security is one such benefit a CDN provides. CDNs mitigate against DDoS attacks by default though the CDN provider, or manually from your dashboard. A CDN also provides the option to enable SSL, whose security benefits have already been highlighted. Setting up access protection through secure tokens is also quite easy with CDNs.
10. Regularly Run Vulnerability Tests
A comprehensive vulnerability assessment will help you to detect and identify any possible vulnerabilities and imminent threats. With this knowledge, you can implement an effective strategy to resolve these vulnerabilities before hackers and other cyber attackers have a chance to exploit them.
As a business owner, cyber-attacks are a reality you must grapple with today, more than ever. Although WordPress is inherently quite the secure platform, as highlighted, there is so much that you can do to secure your e-commerce platform actively. As a plus, some of these pointers come with great bonus benefits such as better loading speeds that guarantee your e-commerce platform will be running at its most efficient.