The vast majority of Internet users have shared personal information such as credit card numbers and routing numbers at some point in their online lives. These sales account for a large portion of profits in nearly every industry imaginable, with eMarketer estimating total online sales of $259 billion in 2013.
Despite the prominence of e-commerce in today’s society, online shoppers continue to worry about web security breaches. This worry is understandable. After all, identity theft is a real problem that can have a devastating impact on consumers’ finances. Thanks to prominent breaches through such corporate leaders as Target, shoppers are beginning to think twice before sharing personal information. As a business maintaining an online presence, it’s in your best interest to ensure that all customer information is kept secure at all times.
The Implications of Web Security Breaches
A security breach can be devastating for your company, particularly if customers or clients have entrusted you with private information, such as their phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, or social security numbers. Not only could you be liable for financial damages resulting from this security breach, you may lose the goodwill and trust you’ve worked so hard to build over the years. The poor reputation resulting from a hacked website may result in the loss of your loyal customer base, plus a greater degree of difficulty in attracting new business.
Data Breaches Hit In Spite of Internet Upgrades
Hackers excel at their craft. In other words, no organization is truly safe from their reign of terror. Even seemingly tech-forward firms can prove susceptible. In early 2014, a prominent French aerospace firm suffered attacks through Internet Explorer 10, according to Reuters. Although Microsoft executives used this incident as a reminder for users to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11, this alone may not be enough to keep information safe. Computer World reports that researchers easily hacked Internet Explorer 11 at the 2014 “PwntoOwn” contest, as well as updates for Firefox and Chrome. Thus, while regular upgrades remain advisable, they alone do not prove sufficient for warding off Internet attacks. Rather, multifaceted approaches regarding identity theft protection prove most successful in terms of keeping hackers at bay.
Preventing Web Security Breaches
Unfortunately, for every web security provision you put in place, there exists a hacker capable of breaking through; given a sufficient level of time and effort. However, by engaging in a multifaceted approach to website protection, you can minimize the chances of a severe security breach. If you utilize a shared web host, you’ll want to look into the details of its security provisions. Depending on the nature of your website, a transition to a virtual private server (VPS) may be worth your consideration. CIO.com also recommends using Secure Sockets Layer authentication (SSL) if online checkout is provided through your website. This will encrypt all data shared on your site, not to mention, reassure customers that your online platform is secure.