With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday just a week away are you sure your site is ready to handle the holiday rush? With all the added traffic there will be more hackers on the prowl to gain your customers valuable information. Every holiday season we hear on the news about protecting yourself from identity theft, but are you protecting your customers?
Identity theft can be a crippling experience, for shoppers and businesses alike. Target reported a nearly 50% loss of profits during the 2013 holiday season, compared to the 2012 holiday season, after a breach in security that affected 40 million customers’ credit card information. Once the breach started making national headlines, many customers turned to competitors for their holiday shopping. Here are a few questions you can ask to keep your business and your customers safe:
Is my web host secure?
You can start by calling your web host and asking what security measures they have in place and if they keep their servers up to date. Having your site hosted on out of date systems leaves it open to attacks and malware designed to collect and send your customers information off to unknown corners of the web.
Are payments being processed securely?
Not all payment processing companies are equal, and you get what you pay for. Can you be sure your payment processing company is doing everything it can to make sure their payment information is making it from A to B without being stolen? Do some homework on their security and make sure they have needed measures in place.
Is my web site secure?
This is potentially the biggest question. Having a customer’s credit card information stolen directly from your website can be detrimental to your reputation. Ask your web professionals how they are working to keep your website secure.
Is everything up to date?
>When talking to your service providers be sure to ask if the software they use is up to date. One of the easiest methods for hackers to get into web sites and gain personal information is through known exploits of older software versions, and sometimes they don’t even realize they are using old software until it’s too late.
Can my site handle the increased customer volume?
Making sure your web site can handle the holiday rush is important for two reasons- making sure you don’t lose any important sales, and making sure your site doesn’t crash potentially leaving it vulnerable. Large increases of site traffic can often lead to sites crashing, so make sure your site hosts are prepared for the holidays.
With so many terms and acronyms around (SSL, PCI, etc.) don’t be afraid to ask your service providers what they all mean. Also, try not to let all of the technical jargon confuse you. It’s their job to make sure you know that your site is secure and that you understand how it’s protected.
Here are a couple tools you can use on your own see if you’re ready for the holidays:
Detailed SSL Server Test – https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/
Heartbleed Vulnerability Test – https://lastpass.com/heartbleed/