If you asked us at Lokte why you should prioritize the security of your online business, we’d be biased, but we’d also be bursting at the seams with reasons why it’s absolutely vital. In our piece today, we’re taking a look at why it’s essential for the health of your business and the safety of your customers to establish a strong security presence in your eCommerce solution.
The monumental growth in worldwide eCommerce sales triggered by the pandemic is only gaining momentum, as the latest Adobe Digital Economy Index predicts that global eCommerce sales will exceed $4.2 trillion by the close of 2021, with U.S. buyers making up close to a fourth of those sales. International eCommerce sales soared to $876 billion in the first quarter of 2021, with an increase of 38% year-over-year. This boom in online sales is excellent news for digital merchants; but it's not the only type of growth around eCommerce. Recent major online attacks that have utilized ransomware as their attack vector include targets such as JBS, Colonial Pipeline, the Steamship Authority of Massachusetts, Brenntag, and the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department.
This handful of major ransomware attacks directly caused the shutdown of critical infrastructure, which in turn can result in mass panic, shortages, an increase in cost of goods and services, financial loss, and more. In 2020 alone, an annual report on international cyber security exposed a total of 304 million ransomware attacks globally, and that’s just one kind of online attack. Keep in mind that these millions of attacks include hits against smaller companies that are absolutely devastating, but most attacks do not make the news. Other major names on the pool of ransomware victims include Acer, Quanta, the NBA, AXA, CNA, CDProjekt Red, and Kia Motors.
Which brings us to our first reason:
1. Online attacks are here for the long haul
As we’ve outlined in the introduction, malicious online groups are growing more creative and aggressive by the day, with an assortment of automated malware tools at their fingertips. Just because digital security measures are evolving and governments are cracking down on cyber crime, does not mean digital criminals will be deterred. A recent IBM and Ponemon Institute report that studied 525 organizations across the world that suffered a data breach in 2020, discovered that the average cost of a data breach stands at a cool $3.86 million, with the U.S. experiencing the highest average cost for a data breach, at $8.64 million. As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, the size of the business doesn’t matter - even the type of business doesn’t matter, as we’ve seen an increase in attacks on hospitals. That’s because bad actors use automated tools that search for vulnerabilities to exploit, and they don’t mind if you have a small business. In fact, it’s easier to attack smaller and mid-sized businesses, as that most likely will not even make the news!
2. Online security preps your business for scalability
As your eCommerce business grows, you will no doubt aggregate more sensitive data that pertains to your business and to your customers. Instilling cyber security within your business at all levels - in the workplace culture, technological tools, and processes - means that you will have installed appropriate safeguards for data protection and storage before your business burgeons to a larger size, and stands more to lose. This is true for any business, as growth is a goal for any company!
3. Online security saves you money
A data breach costs big bucks - in more ways than one. Online security provides long-term savings associated with online attacks, because it helps mitigate the consequential costs associated with data breaches. While there’s no one tool or security measure that will offer complete protection for your business, taking steps to protect the safety of your business and your customers will make it that much harder for criminals to steal your data.
Here are the various ways that a business loses money after a data breach:
Loss of profit due to a halt in business operations
Loss of revenue
Damage to reputation leading to a loss in customers
Fines and lawsuits
Intellectual property theft
Cost of a forensic investigation via a licensed cybersecurity specialist
Your business may never recover from a data breach, because the losses associated with a successful cyber attack far exceed monetary damages. Unfortunately, many small businesses find it harder to recover, because they lack the capital to carry them through such a devastating loss. Lokte’s Data Breach Monitoring is a data loss prevention product that detects potential data breaches caused by common threats, such as Magecart attacks, supply-chain attacks, skimming, and form-jacking. You will receive an immediate alert upon the discovery of any abnormal behavior on your website, which allows you to take appropriate measures before a data breach adversely affects your business.
4. Online security helps you comply with regulations
Online businesses must comply with several regulatory standards that apply to online security, such as GDPR, HIPAA, SOX, and PCI DSS. Depending on your location, your company must comply with regulations established to protect the digital assets in your possession. The regulations aim to safeguard digital assets against misuse, theft, and penalties. Failing to comply with regulations pertaining to your business could mean colossal penalties and fines. In July this year, Amazon was fined a staggering $886.6 million for processing personal data in violation of GDPR; while an extreme example, it illustrates that privacy regulators are not turning a blind eye to companies that break their rules. Remember, lacking knowledge about online security in general or pertaining to your business does NOT excuse you from liability once a data breach occurs. Authorities will look for steps you took beforehand to align your business with compliance regulations, and other signs that you prioritized the safety of your sensitive data.
5. Online security establishes credibility with your clients and investors
Showing potential investors that you are taking steps to protect their money will offer extra incentive for them to contribute to the growth of your business. Similarly, potential customers nowadays are also looking at whether the companies they shop at are guaranteeing that the data they provide is safeguarded. Many shoppers look for tell-tale signs such as whether your website has an SSL encryption installed. Convey the integrity of your company to your investors and customers by proving that their data is safe with you.
To sum it up
To be frank, it’s unthinkable that a current online company completely dismisses online security, as it’s akin to leaving your cash register open, a book containing your company secrets and customer information lying open on the counter, and your front door unlocked at night. It’s irresponsible toward your customers, your employees, and your investors to ignore online security, and it’s setting your business up for disaster when an inevitable attack occurs - because nowadays, it's not “if,” it’s “when.” To get a clear picture of your current security standing and how you can bolster your protection, organize a Penetration Test with Lokte. Our Penetration Test features a safe, simulated attack on your system to show you exactly how your online business would fare in the face of a real cyber attack, and allows you to take action before a real attack occurs on your business.