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Securing Your Ecommerce Site: Safety Tips for Selling Digital Goods

Introduction

Selling digital products like ebooks, courses, templates, photos, etc. online offers exciting business potential. But connecting your commerce directly to the open internet also introduces security risks if not handled carefully.

This guide covers essential cybersecurity, fraud prevention, and anti-piracy protections for digitally distributed goods. Follow these tips to help safeguard your business as you sell downloadable files and restrict-access services online.

With the right technical and policy precautions in place, you can confidently unlock the upsides of ecommerce in the digital age while minimizing exposure. Defend against misuse proactively.

Understand the Main eCommerce Security Risks

Recognizing key vulnerabilities provides direction on where to focus protective efforts. Be aware of:

Data Breaches

Hackers or leaks exposing customer details like names, emails, addresses, and purchase histories.

Payment Info Theft

Intercepted customer credit card numbers leading to fraud from your insecure checkout forms.

Fake Accounts

Scammers creating accounts to improperly obtain free review materials, discounts, or multiple unpermitted purchases.

Discount Abuse

Customers exploiting promotional codes or coupon errors to inappropriately stack discounts.

Unauthorized Access Sharing

Buyers distributing restricted access beyond permitted individuals through shared logins.

Digital Piracy

Illegal duplicated and distribution of your digital files via piracy sites, torrents, etc.

Ongoing vigilance in each area reduces attack surfaces exploitatable by bad actors online.

Follow Best Practices for Securing Customer Payment Info

Guarding buyer payment data ensures trust in your sales platform and avoids PR crises from leaks.

Use Trusted Payment Gateways

Rely on reputable payment processors like Stripe, PayPal, or Square adhering to rigorous compliance standards rather than custom integrations.

Encrypt Transmissions

Mandate TLS encryption for all checkout pages and account dashboards to scramble data in transit.

Tokenize Data

Use tokenization APIs to abstract payment details into secure tokens only gateways can unlock.

Minimize Storage

Only retain essential billing details for active subscribers. Archive old records securely offline.

Limit Employee Access

Restrict payment data visibility to essential finance staff. No peeking privileges.

Get Audited

Conduct regular independent security audits to catch any flaws before criminals do.

Following industry standards for handling payments leaves no finance stone unturned.

Protect User Accounts With vigilant Authentication Practices

Prevent unauthorized account access with layered authentication evaluating multiple identifying factors before granting login.

Require Strong Passwords

Enforce requirements like minimum length, special characters, no dictionaries etc. to thwart guessing.

Apply Password Rate Limiting

Temporarily block login after X failed attempts to slow brute force attacks.

Offer Two-Factor Authentication

Require users enter codes from a separate trusted device along with passwords for extra verification.

Monitor Usage Patterns

Detect sudden anomalies in login locations, times, usage levels that signal suspicious activity.

Confirm Key Changes

Require email confirmation before allowing changes to login credentials or payment methods to prevent unauthorized switches.

With diligent monitoring and authentication, you can thwart most malicious account infiltration threats before they do damage.

Sanitize and Validate All User-Entered Data

Scrub and validate any data entered by users on forms to prevent injection of malicious code or content.

Leverage Input Masks

Limit form fields to only accept data in formats needed like phone, zip code, email etc. to constrain bad data.

Sanitize On Submission

Strip out any HTML tags, scripts, unwanted formatting etc. submitted through cleaning filters.

Validate With Server Checks

Double check data format, length, expected values on the backend after submission before processing.

Encode For Output

Encode special characters when redisplaying user-submitted data to prevent it from being rendered as executable code.

With rigorous checks, you can safely handle user inputs and prevent their abuse as attack vectors.

Manage Users Carefully With Principle of Least Privilege

Be judicious granting users only the minimum system access privileges essential for their roles. Never default to overly open permissions.

Restrict Default Access

Start with most restrictive permissions by default then open selectively as needed.

Segment User Groups

Organize users into separate tiers like administrator, staff, customer etc. with different access.

Grant Temporary Elevation

Allow temporary elevations to higher permission levels only for active use sessions requiring them.

Automate Permission Changes

Revoke access automatically upon role changes ensuring no permissions persist when no longer relevant.

Audit Regularly

Review current access roles frequently and remove stale permissions to minimize risk surface.

Following least privilege principles minimizes damage bad actors could do if penetrating defenses.

Create Secure Remote Access Options for Staff

Provide staff and vendors with secured remote access alternatives to insecure options like public WiFi and shared computers.

Issue Corporate Devices

Give staff corporate phones, laptops and tokens maintaining company security standards.

Configure VPN Access

Route all work traffic through encrypted virtual private network tunnels shielding data in transit from public connections.

Enable Remote Desktop Access

Allow remote control of corporate workstations over encrypted channels through tools like TeamViewer.

Restrict Apps and Data

Limit any business data access on personal employee devices to necessary walled-off apps with app-level encryption.

Enforce Separate Logins

Require staff use distinct secure logins for internal systems, never shared social media or personal accounts prone to compromise.

With prudent policies and tools, staff can securely access internal systems and data from anywhere without undue risk.

Backup Frequently With Defence in Depth

Implement regular backups across multiple destination types in case of data corruption, deletion, infrastructure failure or cyber attacks.

Automate Ongoing Backups

Schedule daily or weekly automated backup jobs through platforms like Duplicati, CloudBerry, etc.

Store Redundantly

Maintain backups locally, in cloud storage, and remote physical locations to avoid single point of failure.

Encrypt Backups

Protect backup archives with strong encryption plus multi-factor access authentication for an added layer of security.

Test Restoration

Periodically pick sample backups and test successfully restoring data to ensure reliability.

Isolate Copies

Keep at least some backup copies air gapped from internet connectivity as added resilience against malware.

With redundant, distributed backups and tested plans, you can rapidly bounce back from outages and accidents affecting business data.

Scale Security Layers With Growth

As your business and data volumes grow, reevaluate security systems to ensure they scale effectively.

  • Switch to more robust infrastructure like cloud servers with built-in redundancy and encryption
  • Hire dedicated in-house or outsourced data security experts to harden defenses and aid readiness
  • Implement privileged access management controls around data and configs
  • Upgrade to enterprise-grade security tools and platforms with advanced automation and analytics
  • Conduct regular intrusion testing and mitigation planning for evolved risks
  • Obtain rigorous 3rd party security certifications like SOC2 demonstrating rigorous controls and compliance

Don’t let early systems and habits create vulnerabilities as you accumulate more customer data and stakeholders relying on you.

Conclusion

Selling digital goods online need not mean sacrificing all security assurances. With vigilance around threats, architecting defense-in-depth protections tailored to your business, and continuous adaptation as you grow, you can operate confidently in the digital age.

Make cyber readiness central from day one, not an afterthought. Your customers will reward your transparent commitment to their data protection and financial safeguards with expanded loyalty and sales as you scale your digital business responsibly.

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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