Holiday Shopping and Cybersecurity: How Secure Is Your Website?

The holiday shopping season has begun and if you are running a commercial website, then you should have one thing at the forefront of your mind—security. Millions of dollars in transactions are happening during this time period and thousands of customers trust websites with their personal data including credit card information.

One of the worst things a business can do during this time is to jeopardize the data of those trusting customers. In order to avoid a data breach (which will ultimately destroy your business reputation), it is necessary to make sure that your website is secure. Here’s how:

Protect your usernames and passwords.

One of the first things you need to do is sit down with your staff and talk about the need to protect your usernames and passwords. No username or password should be assigned that is based on information from your website. For instance, if a school were to use the mascot as their password name, that information is readily available to hackers who are reading the website.

You should also make sure your staff knows not to click on links in emails that may come from hackers trying to gain access. Finally, you need to make sure that you routinely change your passwords to something random to help thwart potential hackers.

Realize that users are web savvy

Another thing that you need to know is that many customers are knowledgeable about what to look for to determine if a website is secure before they enter their information. Many will not use a website if it does not have an SSL Certificate (the “s” in “https”). If you don’t have this validation, then you may lose potential customers.

Update constantly

If there is a new update or patch for your software, make sure that you upgrade as soon as possible. These patches will protect you by filling in gaps in security that have been discovered since the software was first launched. Recent Microsoft updates have worked to repair security problems that were revealed by the slate of “ransomware” hacks. In addition, update your web-script constantly to help with bug fixes as well.

The holidays are a time for cheer, but they can also bring out some of the worst in people, especially when it comes to criminals trying to take advantage of everyone around them. Before the holidays really get rolling, spend some time researching what you need to do to keep your systems more secure to protect yourself, your business, and your customers.

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