When you’re venturing into the world of online business for the first time, nothing is more important than security. If your site is compromised in its early days, then the damage to your resources and reputation might be more than your enterprise can weather. Fortunately, if you take the right steps before you go live, keeping cyber threats at bay is no great challenge, so here are the steps you need to take:
Use TLS or SSL
Transport Layer Security and its predecessor Secure Sockets Layer are standard and essential tools in the world of online security. So long as your site is using one of these, communications between it and clients will be secured and authenticated, and it will show on browsers as secure, with your site’s address beginning ‘https’ rather than ‘http’.
This means anyone will be able to see that your site is secure. You should also make sure that you have an up-to-date certificate identifying you as the owner of the public key used for this form of encryption; if it is out of date some browsers will alert users if it is out of date, thereby putting off potential customers.
Have Your Site Penetration Tested
Penetration testing, or pen testing, is another vital measure. Put simply, it entails hiring a specialist company (like Nettitude) to attempt to gain unauthorised access to your network, either remotely or from within your own premises, as a way of gauging how effective your current security measures are.
If any holes are found, the testing company can then suggest solutions that would prevent a real attacker from exploiting the weakness. Regular systems testing is point number eleven on the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, so it isn’t something you can afford to forgo even once your business is fully established.
Carefully Restrict Data Retention and Access
There should be no way for anyone with access to your site to view your customers’ data unless they need to. One way to prevent breaches is to ensure that your system doesn’t retain data for any longer than it is using it. Again, these precautions are required by the PCI DSS, so ensure your system architecture supports them.