Top Tips for Securing Your B2B eCommerce Platform
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a considerable shift in how we conduct business. Personal and business transactions are now invariably done online, and many people are working remotely. As a result, security issues that previously affected mainly B2C eCommerce now pose threats to B2B eCommerce platforms too.
Unfortunately, many newcomers to B2B eCommerce fail to recognise that data security requires ongoing efforts to prevent breaches from occurring. Cybercriminals are aware of this and see start-ups and fledgeling businesses as easy prey.
In this article, we discuss the elements of your B2B eCommerce business that are most at risk and offer practical guidance on minimising those risks.
Key Risks to Your B2B eCommerce Business
To properly defend a business against cyberattacks, it is crucial to understand where they could emanate from and why. Here are some of the key risks your business could face:
1. Realise that customers are not the only targets
Most of us are aware that customer data theft and other security breaches occur. We may have been victims of it ourselves, or we may know others that have been targeted, and it often appears in the press. Unfortunately, the continuing rapid shift to electronic transactions means that such crimes are on the increase.
In contrast, cyberattacks on businesses seldom hit the headlines despite corporate data theft being a rapidly increasing problem. Such attacks harm many B2Bs in particular. This is due to increased reliance on connected technologies, and anything connected to the outside world risks getting hacked. Intellectual property theft is big business – unscrupulous organisations use dirty tricks to steal a competitor’s secrets or disrupt their operations, the goal being to wipe them out as competition.
The saddest thing of all is, cybercrime is here to stay, so B2B businesses need to stay ahead of the perpetrators. Thankfully, since the start of the pandemic, cybercrime awareness has increased, and companies are taking positive steps to deal with it. Businesses now recognise that they are targets, leading them to identify weakness in their defences and implement measures to reinforce them.
2. Get into the minds of the cybercriminals
If you try to understand what motivates cybercrime, you’ll be in a better position to defend your business against it.
Ironically, many banks, companies and even governments employ ex-convicts to advise on security measures. The ethos there is simple – the best people to advise on crime prevention are those who commit them in the first place. We’re not advocating you contact your local prison to recruit any hackers due for parole, but you should think like the criminals if you are to stand a chance of beating them.
3. Be aware of what your business is vulnerable to
Studies have shown that, currently, customer data is the main target in B2C data breaches. In contrast, B2B businesses are more likely to be victims of corporate espionage. As mentioned earlier, your less scrupulous competitors could well be looking to get insider information on your business operations to gain a competitive edge.
COVID-19 has greatly facilitated attacks on businesses. Vast numbers of people now work remotely, so networks have extended outside of the office confines. Both people and companies have seen the advantages of remote working, so it will now be more common than before. Therefore, businesses must keep this in mind when considering their security.
4. Attacks from within
While you may have taken every effort to secure your business from external attacks, have you thought about internal espionage? A report commissioned by US communications giant Verizon explains that this is a significant problem also.
The Insider Threat Reports published by Cybersecurity Insiders identify people in privileged positions with easy access to sensitive data as the most common offenders. These could be administrators, executives, temporary workers or even third parties who may offer considerable bribes for leaked data on competitors. Disgruntled employees may even do it for free.
5. Phishing attacks
Most of us have been victims of attempted phishing scams at some point in our lives. Thankfully, ones targeting the general public are usually crude, and mail servers remove most of them. However, those targeting businesses are much more sophisticated as scammers dedicate considerable time, effort and expertise to creating these potentially lucrative schemes.
COVID-19 has increased the incidence of phishing scams. Cybercriminals know people are working remotely. They also know that people are seeking information on virus related issues such as vaccines, stimulus cheques, etc., so that is their current focus. But don’t think that once the pandemic dies down, the scammers will go away – they will just refocus their phishing operations onto the trends that are current at the time.
6. Software and system interactions
E-commerce business platforms use multiple software applications, often from different sources, all interacting together. This introduces additional vulnerabilities requiring special attention when the platform is in development to eradicate them.
How You Can Protect Your B2B eCommerce Business
It’s a sad fact of the twenty-first century that crime has infiltrated even our digital systems, and nothing seems sacred anymore. As such, you must take suitable measures to protect your business from these attacks.
Here are some key points you should seriously consider to ensure all your digital assets remain as protected as possible:
1. Assume control of your data
Many businesses store data in a variety of remote shared spaces such as clouds or offsite servers. Whilst these offer great flexibility and lower operating costs, they are considerably more prone to data cyberattacks. Where possible, reduce this risk by shifting to private clouds and servers, preferably located on-site.
2. Keep everything up to date
Investing in the best security software and monitoring tools is fine, but it will be pointless if they are outdated. So never let security software licences lapse, keep certifications current, respect data privacy laws and ensure everything is regularly updated.
Likewise, internal policies, processes and procedures should be reviewed and updated periodically, taking account of any lessons learned. Ensure your staff know the importance of these and that they are implementing them.
While it is not advisable, if your staff must use their own personal IT equipment for work, ensure appropriate security measures are in place before allowing it access to your company servers.
3. Raise employee awareness about security threats
You don’t think twice about training your employees on health and safety, so why should cybersecurity be different? See it as the health and safety of your data.
Educate your employees on what cyberattacks are, how to recognise them, and what they must do in the event of an attack. Having proper procedures in place and keeping staff updated on the latest developments in cybercrime will help keep you abreast of the hackers.
4. Access should be on a “need to know” basis
Employees shouldn’t have access to data other than what they need to perform their duties. If they don’t need access to specific data, don’t give it to them.
Consider how they should access information. For example, use two-factor authorisation methods and have a clear password policy that requires login credentials to be regularly changed.
Furthermore, consider investing in enterprise password solutions. Password management is crucial for improving security and protecting sensitive digital assets. To meet cybersecurity best practices, companies need visibility and control over all accounts, including protecting privileged accounts.
5. See security as an investment rather than an overhead
Having robust mechanisms in place to help prevent cyberattacks could save your B2B eCommerce business massively in the long term and help protect its reputation.
One Final Word
Above all, remember that the most determined criminal will get what they want at the end of the day. As a B2B business, you must make it so difficult for them that they decide to move on to easier targets elsewhere. Stay safe!