E-commerce cyber security: An introduction for online merchants

June 15, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, merchants, restaurants and service providers have had to make changes or been forced to close their brick-and-mortar stores. Many businesses are now relying on their online stores or websites to keep afloat, making them now more important than they’ve ever been.

That means it is essential for businesses – particularly those delving into e-commerce for the first time – to take steps to protect their cyber security.

a person with a calculator and paperwork, dialogue boxes and chat notifications Why cyber security matters for e-commerce

Cyber security is essential for e-commerce because cyber attacks can result in loss of revenue, of data and of overall viability for businesses.

Cyber criminals use advanced tactics to steal information from businesses.

With e-commerce, it’s not just your data that you’re protecting; it’s your customers’ data that you need to be careful with. A breach in your cyber security systems could mean the loss of your customer’s information. And that could cost your business the trust and reputation that you’ve worked to build up.

Take the following steps to make your online store more cyber secure.

How to protect yourself as an e-commerce provider

There is no foolproof way of protecting your e-commerce store against cyber criminals. But by taking these steps you can do everything possible to keep your business secure.

Have a cyber security policy in place

The first line of defence against cyber criminals is to have a cyber security policy.

With a cyber security policy, you can ensure that everyone you work with is on the same page about staying cyber secure.

You – as a small-or medium-sized business owner or manager - may be clear on what needs to be done to protect your cyber systems. But if your employees aren’t as clear on what they should be doing, your system is at risk from a cyber threat.

A cyber security policy sets rules for everyone in your organization to follow, clearly stating that key activities can’t fall through the cracks.

This is especially important in the midst of COVID-19, when most employees are working remotely and it may be more difficult for managers and owners to enforce cyber security best practices.

Create strong passphrases

A password is one of your most important defences against cyber criminals.

Creating a passphrase or a strong password protects your website and your information from being hacked.

Use a secure e-commerce platform

E-commerce platforms have an obvious interest in offering their clients the best possible protection against cyber threats.

Why? Because a customer with cyber security problems isn’t a happy customer.

That’s why e-commerce platforms offer cyber security solutions for merchants.

If you’re looking for a new e-commerce platform, research the various security features and options that are offered. This could include things like multi-factor authentication, customer data encryption, real-time threat alerts and compliance features.

If you already have an e-commerce platform, you might want to re-evaluate the features it offers.

And, as always, be sure to update any software you’re using. Out-of-date software can have security vulnerabilities that may give cyber criminals a backdoor into your online store.

Don’t fall for phishing scams

Cyber criminals are taking advantage of COVID-19 and increasingly  carrying out  phishing scams. Unfortunately, online merchants aren’t immune from these attempts from cyber criminals to trick victims into giving up information that can compromise customers’ information and lead to loss of revenue and trust.

That’s why it’s important for online merchants to stay vigilant in steering clear of phishing attempts.


Cyber security for online merchants has never been more important than it is during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be sure to stay vigilant and protect your company against cyber criminals.

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