Cybersecurity in the Age of E-Commerce: What We Can Learn From Data Breaches

Data breaches are the new boogeyman for companies everywhere. As our lives shift more and more towards the online (working, shopping, and more) we also get to see the dark side of the Internet.

And it’s not pretty!

In a world where data and information are the new currency, cybercriminals are the unstoppable bank robbers who laugh in the face of danger and don’t give two cents about our outdated rules and regulations.

However, e-commerce stores and companies are obliged to comply with the law and follow instructions in order to avoid two other threats:

  1. public humiliation and loss of reputation in front of customers & partners
  2. Steep fines and legal consequences from losing customers’ personal data

And no, small and medium-sized businesses are not the only ones to go through tough times. Just this year, big companies like Twitter and Zoom also suffered important data breaches that ended up affecting millions of people.

Still, each new breach brings forth hew details on how to build better protection systems and how to improve the legal system.

Using a Layered Protection System

While it’s true that some small and medium-sized businesses are still unprepared, big tech companies don’t have this issue. However, data breaches still happen.

The most common cause is a vulnerability they didn’t know was in the system until an ill-intended actor found it and used it. This is why cybersecurity specialists recommend a layered system.

For individuals, this means using different security products at the same time. For instance, one can use strong passwords, 2FA (two-factor authentication), and an identity theft protection tool like Identity Guard to make sure their finances and personal data are safe.

For companies, this means using secure onsite and cloud servers with advanced encryption systems, backups saved on separate servers, secure online payment methods, and secure communication channels for both customers and partners (among others).

Prepare for the Worst [Have a Contingency Plan]

As the holiday season grows near and with a pandemic on the run, online stores expect an increasing number of customers browsing their pages. Of course, this also means cyber attackers will be on the watch, looking for ways to get in and steal some juicy data.

If this happens, make sure you have a solid plan to notify the public and put things back on track as soon as possible.

First, past data breaches taught us that it’s important to be honest with your customers – otherwise, they may lose confidence in the brand.

Let’s take the 2016 Yahoo! data breach when 3 billion user accounts were compromised. The fact that they released the information slowly, over the timespan of a year+ affected their reputation and people lost their trust in the brand.

In today’s fake news environment, even a data breach rumor could administer a fatal blow to a brand’s reputation. However, if you come clean and provide customers with a contingency plan that helps them stay secure, there’s a chance you’ll recover.

Second, any respectable online business must have a solid backup system that will allow fast recovery in the case of a successful cyber attack.

In conclusion, the best protection is a combination of preventive measures and well-designed contingency plans. This way, a business can move on from an unfortunate event without losing customers or partners. 

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