Ways to Prevent a Data Security Breach

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 03 Jun 2019

A data security breach can cost an e-commerce company more than just financial difficulties. Read on to find out how you can prevent a malicious hack.

It’s something that all e-commerce professionals dread, or at least should: the data breach. In recent times, there seems to be a certain desensitisation to the violation, but it remains one of the most important parts of online security for any retailer.

Last week, Princess Polly suffered a security breach, which may have exposed customer’s personal payment details to an ‘unidentified third party’. Although it’s not certain whether the hackers gained access to customer’s personal records, Princess Polly issued a statement warning customers to be wary of the breach. “We have recently discovered an unidentified third party gained unauthorised access to our website. During this process, the third party may have accessed customers’ personal information and payment details entered on our website,” the statement read.

The Dangers of a Data Breach

There are many different ways a hacker can breach data inside a retailer’s website. A few of the common information that gets stolen includes:

  • Member name and Identification Number
  • Passwords
  • Date of Birth
  • Address
  • Email Address
  • Bank Details
  • Clinical Information
  • Claims Information
  • Social Security Number

Hackers can use this information in a number of ways. Aside from selling this data to other third-party companies, they can also place the website in a chokehold or take it down completely. It’s also common for data breaches to snag business forecasts, shareholder information, plans and market analyses.

What’s the Cost of a Data Breach?

Aside from the immediate dangers of having hackers in the site, a violation of the user’s personal data is an immediate call for action. If the data includes personal information, but it also costs a company a boatload of money and backlash. According to Big Commerce, $20 is the average price for someone’s identity. Data breaches can spell disaster for e-commerce companies in major ways, such as the financial cost of hiring a cybersecurity professional to handle the breach, placing customer trust in jeopardy and damage to a brand’s public image. In a recent study by Juniper Research, it’s estimated that the cost of data breaches will increase to $2.1 trillion across the globe in 2019.

These breaches can cause panic amongst customers, as their personal information is immediately at risk. According to PointPark University, 34 per cent of violations happen through external means, and 16 per cent occur due to stolen, misplaced or lost devices and documents.

Best Practices for Data Security and Protection

The only way an e-commerce company can prevent these breaches from occurring is by setting up a solid technological system, paired with strong preventative policies.

Encrypt Sensitive Data

One of the most successful ways a company can protect customer information is to encrypt the data. So, what does this mean? When a credit card is encrypted, the data inside is translated into s secure code that only authorised people can access, using a security key. Unencrypted data is known as ‘plain text’, and encrypted data is called ‘ciphertext’. Encrypting sensitive data locks the information in place and makes it almost impossible to unlock. All e-commerce platforms should enable this security to its protection system, to prevent hackers from breaching personal data.

Finding the Right Security Vendor

All e-commerce platforms should rely some of its security on third-party platforms. These vendors offer strong and robust security platforms that help prevent the future attacks by malicious hackers. These high-tech companies help develop complex and secure roadblocks, and keep the company up-to-date to stop a hack in its tracks. When selecting the right vendor, be sure that they comply with the following standards:

  • Employ data redundancy
  • Maintain a comprehensive Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) alleviation plan.
  • Adhere to the Payment Card Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) 3.2 Protocol. This ensures that the third-party handles all credit card information safely and securely across the globe.

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