Guide

Common e-commerce pitfalls

E-commerce pitfalls - security weaknesses

You should put in place measures to protect your systems and data against theft and hackers. There are a variety of ways in which misuse of information and hacker attacks could jeopardise your business, so security must be at the forefront of your e-commerce plans.

Inadequate security could result in the loss of customer confidence or the non-availability of your e-commerce site.

If you already have a merchant account set up, secure socket layer (SSL) technology is used to encrypt transaction data and to send customer and card details to the acquiring bank for authorisation. You should ensure any web hosting solution you consider is capable of supporting the SSL protocol.

Hackers gaining access to privileged information

Be sure to protect confidential information: 

  • Inadequate security controls can enable hackers to gain access to your sensitive business data such as price lists, catalogues and valuable intellectual property. The motives may be malicious or to gain competitive knowledge.
  • Hackers may also gain access to the financial information of your business or your customers, with a view to committing fraud.

Loss of customer confidence

Your customers expect you to make security a priority:

  • Security breaches can damage the confidence that your customers have in your e-commerce service.
  • A lack of customer confidence is potentially fatal to the success of your online venture.

Denial-of-service attacks

Denial-of-service attacks prevent access to authorised users of a website, so that the site is forced to offer a reduced level of service or cease operation completely. Some businesses never recover from such attacks.

No contingency measures in place

Plan for potential threats:

  • There are many possible threats to your e-commerce system, both malicious and natural. Consider the most likely risks and take steps to minimise them, such as virus software, password protection and firewalls.
  • Contingency planning puts measures in place that enable your systems to continue operating in a crisis.
  • Consider how your own systems would continue to operate in the event of a denial-of-service attack or security breach and the likely effect that this would have on your business.