You have good reason to be. A recent national survey of 500 SMEs in Ireland by Big Red Cloud showed that 40% of them had experienced some form of cyber-attack leading to theft and loss of data, according to Irish Tech News. The toll these attacks take is more than the immediate loss. They erode trust in your brand and confidence in using your site.
The answer is to have regular security checks for your website. Upgrading your virus protection annually is not enough. You need to have checks done more frequently not only for your peace of mind and your site visitor’s confidence. You need to stay on top of cyber security with regular checks for three key reasons:
What are the dangers out there? More than 40% of those SMEs reporting that they had been the victim of a cyber-attack said their system had been infected by a virus, and about 30% reported phishing schemes. Ransomware attacks, where the hacker demands payment to unlock or fix, were reported by 18% of those surveyed.
Two types of thieves pose a threat: those who want to steal from you and those who want to steal from your customers. You need to secure your site against both, and your customers need to know that it is. You can take some solid steps to secure your site. Don’t store any unnecessary information. Obviously, you want to gather information about your customers to guide your marketing strategy. But you don’t want this information to be connected to any financial details. Really consider what you need for marketing purposes, and what you don’t need. (Hint – you need demographic information, not personal details.)
Do you reassure them or do you expect that they will trust that you’ve ensured their safety? Many people still harbour some concerns about shopping online. They might be willing to order their groceries from the big-name store or do some Christmas shopping for loved ones far away with a global brand, but smaller online retailers don’t always benefit from that same trust. It doesn’t always transfer, and in fact, the assumption that big names are a safer online shopping option can hurt smaller companies.
The most obvious thing to do is to straight up tell your visitors a bit about how you keep their data safe. You don’t have to get technical or give away any secrets. Just point out that you have an HTTPS url if you do. Tell them that you won’t sell or trade their data if you won’t. Point out the security features that you might think are obvious and self-explanatory on your site. Create a page listing your security features and include some warnings clarifying what you won’t do (such as asking for PIN codes or bank details).
You can do a few things other to demonstrate to your online browsers that you are a safe e-tailer. Give them a way to contact you offline such as a phone number or a street address. Post your returns policy. Refer to your presence on various social media platforms. If you have customers chatting with you on your Facebook posts or re-Tweeting you with comments about how happy they are with you, that gives visitors far more reassurance than a review on your site from someone identified only by their first name. Ask your customers questions on social media, and the interaction will show that you are for real.
Find out more about UX
The tools and tactics to secure your website are constantly evolving to stay ahead of cyber thieves. Reading this list, it’s tempting to view it as a checklist of once-off steps to take, but it is not. Your site needs ongoing security monitoring and upgrading because new ways to hack into your site and rob your and your customers’ data are emerging all the time.
We can protect your website!
By Matrix Internet
By Conor McCaffrey
By Simon Henderson