Ecommerce businesses, no matter the niche, will invariably have to handle customer data. With this, there’ll come security threats. If it’s a start up, it will be at even more risk from cyber threats than larger firms. New companies are seen as soft targets by a lot of hackers, due to the typically low security measures they use. Here are a few fatal mistakes you need to avoid in the way of security.
The first big mistake is failing to categorise customer information by its level of risk. This is extremely important if you handle a lot of customer data in different forms. I’m sure you already understand the importance of privacy policies and PCI DSS compliance. However, it may be that some of the information you handle calls for more protection than other types. It’s a huge mistake to treat all your customer info equally, and allow all your employees access to it. Unfortunately, a lot of new ecommerce businesses use this model, if only to keep things simple. The more employees who have access to sensitive information, the more threats you will have. Ensure you categorise data according to its importance.
Another, slightly less common mistake by business owners is assuming that their company is invisible. Yes, in your first month of trade, not a lot of people are going to have heard about your company. This may make it easier to duck rules and regulations, and save money on licenses. Although easier, this is by no means the smart thing to do! You might be cruising under the radar for now, but eventually the law will catch up with you. From the moment your first customer hands over their PII, you need to be aware of all the laws you should be following. These will vary depending on the country you’re in, the data you’re handling and so forth. Regardless of the specifics, don’t skip a single regulation!
The final mistake is brushing over policies and representations tied to your company. This is where the lawyers should really come in. I know that legal documents are long, complex and insufferably dry. However, if you skim through yours, it can really come back to bite you later on. For example, you might issue a privacy statement which says “we will never sell your private data”. When writing this, you may have been referring to mailing lists and other marketing entities. You weren’t taking into account that you may want to sell your company’s assets further down the line. When a deal like this comes up, and the main asset of your company happens to be your customer database, your trade will grind to a halt. This is just one of the technicalities you need to be considering when you write out any official policy or statement. Similarly, you don’t want to make these terms too loose.
When you’re setting out your company’s security measures, be sure to avoid these three mistakes. Certainly the biggest mistake you can make is neglecting your data and privacy altogether!