Your Responsibilities Regarding Data Security

Running a business is a big responsibility. Running an ecommerce business is no exception. Not only do you have to keep financial records, serve customers, and market your products, you also have to conduct business safely online.

Managing a business online makes you vulnerable to certain risks. Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, and you have the responsibility to make sure your customers’ data is secure. Small Business Trends reports that a data breach for an ecommerce retailer costs $172 per record on average. Make sure you understand your data security responsibilities to protect your customers and your business.

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PCI Compliance

As an ecommerce store owner, you are required to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI DSS. These security standards apply to any merchants or organizations that process, store, or transmit credit card information. That means you!

These standards help ensure that all sensitive information—including credit card data—is protected and secured. PCI standards require you to build and maintain a secure network, protect credit card data, and maintain a vulnerability management program. You are also required to implement strong access control measures, regularly monitor and test networks, as well as maintain an information security policy.

SSL Certificate

One of the most basic security measures you can take for your ecommerce store is to obtain an SSL certificate. It also happens to be required per PCI standards. An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate works by encrypting all sensitive information and making it unreadable for anyone except the destination server.

SSL certificates are especially important for ecommerce website as a signal of trust to customers. Potential buyers will be more likely to make a purchase if they trust their payment information will be safe.

More Data More Problems

There is no reason to store large amounts of data about your customers, especially sensitive information like credit card numbers. Any data you collect becomes an instant liability if you lose it.

The best way to prevent data from being stolen is to never have the data to steal in the first place. Before you ask for information from your customers, consider what information you really need. It’s often less than you think. Don’t collect data just because you can.

Third Party Providers for Credit Card Information

Your customers will need to enter their credit card information in order to make a purchase, but that doesn’t mean you should store it. In fact, you should never store customer credit card information yourself. It’s forbidden by PCI standards and puts you and your customers at incredible risk.

Instead, always use a third party provider to handle credit card information. Stripe and PayPal are both established companies that have the tech, experience, and security to protect customer data. The right ecommerce platform will have these processors built-in or easy to integrate with your store. There’s no excuse not to use them to keep data safe.

The Best Thing You Can Do for Data Security

If you could only take one single action to ensure data security for your online store, the best thing you can do is to use a secure ecommerce platform. Many free ecommerce websites, such as Shopify, have data security features built-in from the ground up. All the top recommended features like SSL certificates, HTTPS, and secure payment processors are already included. Shopify websites are even PCI compliant without you lifting a finger. Plus, ecommerce platforms take a load off your back by constantly updating and working to keep your website secure.

As an ecommerce entrepreneur, you should be taking data security seriously. If you don’t, you put yourself, your business, and your customers at risk. Educate yourself about your data security responsibilities and stay up to date. For best results, use an established ecommerce platform to keep your website protected. It will certainly help you sleep better at night.

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