Hacking is the online equivalent of burglary when you’re running an E-commerce business, and the damage inflicted can be enough to close otherwise profitable businesses. With the level of complexity of attacks increasing exponentially, it’s imperative that every business takes the steps needed to safeguard itself against attack.
Let’s take a look at a simple 5-step approach that you can follow to ensure you’re protected against even the most determined attackers.
Never ignore the false alarms
Overly sensitive firewalls can often be your own worst enemy. If your security system repeatedly flags up false alarms, it can be easy to adopt a blasé attitude to alarms and fail to look into future alerts with the same urgency.
The problem with this is that it will make it easier for genuine attacks to go undetected. If you want to be able to ensure that you identify genuine attacks as fast as possible, then you need to treat every false alarm with the same urgency. This will allow you to develop an approach that has you responding in a manner that will let nothing slip through the net.
Understand the extent of the attack
If you want to understand the true the cost of hacking, you need to quickly and efficiently determine the scope of the data breach. The news is awash with infamous cases of companies like Yahoo, who have had to continually revise the scale of the attacks they have been subjected to. Not only is this bad PR, but it also indicates they never had a handle on the scale of the attack in the first place.
Act quickly and precisely, and immediately shut down parts of your site that appear to have been breached. It’s far better to go offline and get things under control than it is to pretend nothing has happened and have your customer’s data used by rogue attackers.
Find the right team of specialists to fix things
When your pipes burst you get a plumber, when the roof leaks you get a roofer, and when you’re subject to a cyber-attack you need a security expert. There’s no point in trying to do it yourself if you don’t have the highly specialized skills needed because you won’t be able to take control of the situation. It’s not a matter of running a quick Norton AntiVirus scan, you need to be able to explore every aspect of your site’s backend so that you can understand what’s happened.
“The cost of data hacking to E-commerce businesses is substantial, with 10% of those targeted losing in excess of £50,000. These kinds of hits will often prove fatal, so it’s vital every business puts the processes in place which will keep them safe” — says, Tom Duckworth, Strategist at TrustMyPaper.
Taking your time to find the right person is also not an option. You need to be able to call someone you trust immediately if you’re going to get on top of things, which means you need to be prepared in advance. Find someone when your business is safe, and they’ll be instantly on the case when your site comes under attack.
Work in accordance with GDPR
If you want to make your business safe, it’s not enough to simply repel the attack. You need to then deal with the fallout, and to go to great lengths to ensure your customers will not feel the brunt of the attack.
GDPR requires you to notify the relevant data protection body of an attack within 72 hours. To ensure that you don’t allow this deadline to slip, compile a list of people you need to speak to as part of your fightback strategy. This will allow you to respond quickly and efficiently so that you can focus on getting your store and its data safe as soon as possible.
Plan for future attacks by learning where you fell short
The worst thing you can do in response to a cyber-attack is to not learn lessons from it. There’s no reason to assume that you’re safe once the initial attack has been repelled. You could become the victim of a sustained campaign if you’re seen as a soft target, or you could be targeted in the near future by an unrelated group of attackers.
What you need to do is learn the lessons from your recent attack, and work with a cyber-security expert to close the loopholes which were recently exploited. Data protection requires taking appropriate preventative measures to stop a data breach from happening again. Focus all your efforts on double checking all your securing mistakes to know what to do differently the next time. It would be wrong to think that this will guarantee you never have to worry about hacking again. But what it will do is make it harder for attackers to breach your fire wall as they develop evermore complex means of attack.
Marie Fincher is a digital content director at Trust My Paper company with a background in marketing, technology, and business intelligence. She frequently writes about data science, BI, new marketing trends and branding strategies. Marie gradually changed her focus from working in marketing to writing about it.