The 3 Risks of Not Making Your E-Commerce Site Secure

According to the FBI, preventing computer fraud, network intrusions and identify theft are the key priorities of their Cyber Crime branch. Cyber-crime is on the rise as more consumers rely on the Internet and mobile technology to do things like shopping, banking and investing. As illustrated below, insecure e-commerce sites will result in serious risks and financial losses.

Vulnerability to Hackers

Everyone is aware that websites, networks and email accounts are vulnerable to hacking attacks. However, more and more consumers are primarily accessing the Internet through their smart phones. As a result, hackers are taking advantage of the lack of mobile security technology standards to target smart phones. According to Computer Weekly, Blue Coat Systems’ research shows that mobile attacks are becoming more common and malicious. For example, one of the most infamously popular methods is cyber-blackmail, when mobile ransomware penetrates and takes over a user’s phone. In order to unlock their phone, the user is required to pay money or divulge personal information. In addition to this, spyware is the second most popular malware program. After it surreptitiously installs itself on the user’s phone, spyware programs will monitor online habits, behaviors and preferences. Therefore, online consumers are naturally apprehensive about e-commerce sites that appear suspicious. When they arrive at the check-out page, they may not end up purchasing because they aren’t sure if credit card information will be safe. The best way to overcome this problem is through having well-recognized security certifications that will dispel any consumer concerns over financial and identity theft. For example, a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) will encrypt consumer information the moment it’s entered on the website. In order to raise consumer awareness, be sure to provide visual clues and colored icons that alert online consumers when they are in a secure or insure part of the website.

Data Breaches

According to technology magazine Wired, mobile giant T-Mobile recently suffered one of the biggest data breaches in business history. T-Mobile had contracted with credit rating agency Experian to perform credit checks on potential customers. However, savvy hackers stole the personal information of approximately 15 million people. This included basic information, such as names and birthdays, and encrypted sensitive information, such as social security and drivers’ license numbers. While there was no financial or banking information, there is still plenty of information for cyber-criminal to commit identity fraud. Online identity theft is the biggest risk of unsecure e-commerce sites. Consider the fact that online consumers must submit both personal and financial information in order to make a purchase. Therefore, an unsecure site is a gold mine for unscrupulous hackers to target. After stealing the personal data, they can sell every victim’s personal information for anywhere from 50 to 100 dollars through underground, online black markets. Once dishonest individuals obtain this information, they can do anything from open a mortgage to apply for credit cards.

Business Interruptions 

As mentioned above, hackers that breach websites can steal information for personal gain. However, as a result of this, customers and the public will lose confidence in the company. For example, in just one night, T-Mobile lost the confidence of 15 million current and potential customers. Assuredly, there will be millions of potential customers who will avoid doing business with T-Mobile in the future. Consequently, insecure e-commerce sites may result in a serious PR debacle that will need the expert assistance of a costly reputation management to restore consumer and investor confidence. 

Keep in mind that a massive data breach or loss of consumer confidence over insecure websites will disrupt business, drive customers away and reduce revenue. There may be other unforeseen financial costs, such as legal fees or IPR lawsuits. There may also be other problems, such as strained partner relationships or government regulatory body investigations.

In summary, an insecure e-commerce site is a recipe for PR, operational and financial disaster. Companies can minimize these risks through following standard online security protocols, investing in cutting edge security programs and incorporating online risk management into executive strategic planning.

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The New Era of Digital Marketing: 4 Trends Small Businesses Can’t Ignore

The majority of your customers spend up to 3 hours online each day. Searching, posting, updating, watching and reading. They are bombarded with marketing messages, to the degree that they quickly become immune to tactics that just a short while ago were touted as the “next big thing” to revolutionize your digital marketing strategy.

As a small business you have to be smart about which trends you seize upon and which ideas you rule out as not being the best fit for your goals, audience and budget.

Here are four digital marketing trends that aren’t going away any time soon, and are absolutely essential for you to consider as you plan for the future.

Digital Marketing and Mobile Optimzation

You’d have to be an ostrich with your head stuck pretty deep in the sand to be oblivious to how much mobile phones and tablets have infiltrated our daily lives. Yet many businesses haven’t fully considered what that means for their marketing.

You don’t have to take the full leap to creating your own app, or even launch a wide scale mobile ad campaign, but you do have to think about how visitors experience your website on a mobile device.

As well as ensuring that visitors using a mobile device to access your site stay longer and can find what they are looking for, making your site mobile ready is critical for search engine optimization.

Many small businesses suffered catastrophic drops in search engine traffic after Google’s algorithm update in April, which added a website’s mobile readiness to their ranking factors. If you were lucky enough to escape “mobilegeddon”, consider it a lucky reprieve and don’t delay in making sure your website looks great on all types of mobile devices.

Content Marketing

You have probably heard the phrase: Content is King. But what exactly does that mean? And how can you make sure your content is helping your small business grow?

Today’s internet users consume content at a startling rate. Hundreds of articles, videos and blog posts flood our inbox and social media streams and the average person spends two hours a day consuming content online.

Content can be shared, bookmarked and interacted with in ways that few other marketing channels can be.

In general, try to create content which is:

  • Valuable. Ask yourself what your content offers the reader.
  • Visually appealing. Make your content more engaging with images, videos and infographics.
  • Crafted with SEO best practices in mind. Decide what keyword your content should target and optimize it carefully.
  • Easily shared. Place social sharing buttons in the content and use a catchy, descriptive title that will entice people to click through to read the content.


Headline security breaches can cost big businesses millions, but it’s not just major brands that are at risk. Over 30,000 SME websites are hacked every day. Small businesses are often more likely to suffer a data breach or website hack due to having weaker security systems in place. When we think of hacking incidents we tend to think of individuals looking to steal or expose information. However, your website can also be hijacked or injected with malicious code that serves unwanted ads, redirects visitors to other pages, locks you out of the admin area and generally wreaks havoc with your site’s stability.

Of course, theft of information is a strong motivator for hackers, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking you don’t have anything worth stealing!

If your website stores intellectual property, contracts, orders or customer information it is your responsibility to protect it.

Look into steps you can take to strengthen your defenses such as SSL certificates, two-factor log in authentication and third party monitoring/response services such as Sucuri.

An Ever-Shrinking Attention Span

It’s not just screen sizes that are shrinking- our attention span is dwindling too. While there is little you can do to combat human nature, it’s vital that your marketing efforts acknowledge and adapt to the fleeting window of opportunity you have to capture someone’s interest.

Make sure your title is catchy and interesting. Keep important information up front and centre, but include a great “hook” to encourage them to read more.

Include great visuals such as videos or infographics. Visually represented information is digested by the human brain at a much faster rate than the written word, so it is a great shortcut to getting your point across.

Make sure that your call to action, whether it is a link, a button or a form are prominent and clear.

While we are on the topic of forms, keep those short and sweet. The percentage of people who will complete it decreases with every field that you add.

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