As the digital landscape continues to offer exciting and enriching opportunities for entrepreneurs, the risks involved grow as well. This begs the question: How to Protect Against Cyber Attacks? Choosing to expand your eCommerce business through Amazon empowers you to engage more meaningfully with a global marketplace. Not to mention that in a tough economic climate for small businesses, capturing a wider range of consumers can help to push your company toward success.
Nevertheless, this isn’t to say expanding with Amazon eCommerce is always smooth sailing. One of the most common hurdles you’ll find is the prevalence of cybercrime. Even a single serious breach of security could cause devastating financial and reputational damage to your business. Not only could this disrupt your expansion, but it can leave your company unable to recover entirely.
While you can’t eliminate risk entirely, you can put your company in a better position to minimize your exposure. So, let’s look at how to protect against cyber attacks while still expanding your Amazon eCommerce business.
How to Protect Against Cyber Attacks
Recognize the Risks
One of the most important steps in protecting against cyber attacks occurs before you implement your expansion protocols. Your company can’t just set a blanket set of basic cybersecurity tools in place. Each business has its unique set of risks. It’s important for you to perform thorough risk assessments at the beginning of and throughout your growth to identify and prepare for them.
The risks to information technology (IT) security for small businesses are varied and growing. Some of the most prevalent cybercrime methods include the use of malware, phishing, account takeovers, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Gaining an understanding of how these attacks are performed can empower you to better identify which are likely to be problematic for your eCommerce business moving forward.
You should then take both a short- and long-term approach to your risk assessments. Consider what cybercrime you’re vulnerable to both now and as you start to bring on new tools, staff, and processes in the future. It can be wise to gain insights from cybersecurity professionals with a background in eCommerce here. They should also know the ins and outs of Amazon’s platform. They’ll be able to implement effective ongoing assessment methods specifically matched to your business model. Indeed, it’s worth considering either a full-time expert or an occasional consultant to be among your first resource investments.
Adopt Targeted Tools
When you first start a small eCommerce business selling on Amazon, you may find that generalized security tools are sufficient. However, as you start to develop further, these tend to be less suitable. The bigger you get, the more sensitive and valuable data you’ll handle. You’re also likely to become a more attractive focus for a range of cyber criminals. As such, it’s important to adopt specialist protective tools that target particular issues.
This may include artificial intelligence (AI) driven threat management software. This automatically scans your business’ systems for signs of any suspicious behavior or potential breaches. It could involve adopting virtual private networks (VPNs) for staff to maintain security when operating in public places. As your staff numbers grow — particularly if you’re using remote operations — identity management software can be appropriate for keeping multiple accounts secure and visible.
Nevertheless, it’s also worth considering that not all targeted tools are pieces of software or hardware. In some cases, having access to knowledge is a powerful resource. As your small business grows, it can be vital to identify threat intelligence tools that can keep you up-to-date on security issues your company needs to look out for. This is vital given that many businesses are unable to withstand even a single attack. Open-source intelligence-sharing platforms tend to be free to utilize and are regularly updated by both security experts and other businesses.
Any successful eCommerce growth is dependent on effective digital marketing techniques. Your business faces a significant amount of competition in a truly global commercial space. This means that you have to understand how to use digital marketing tools like Google Analytics and responsive HTML emails to capture your demographic’s attention. Not to mention that gaining skills in web design and graphic design can give you better control over asserting your brand voice in the market.
In many ways, this represents a key benefit to moving to and growing your business on Amazon. You have opportunities to take advantage of some of the most accessible and impactful marketing tools around. With some knowledge and consistent effort, you can develop successful campaigns.
However, despite the prospect of enhanced engagement, it’s vital to understand how digital marketing can represent a cybersecurity risk. Some of your online materials — particularly websites and applications — may offer gateways to your networks when insufficiently secured. Indeed, popular online content you make may become a target for DDoS attacks or hackers seeking to piggyback on your web pages to infect consumers with malware.
It is, therefore, vital that you approach your digital marketing strategies mindfully. Consider the potential cybersecurity risks during the planning of every campaign. Build protective measures into the design of your materials, such as posting content only on Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) pages. This both helps to keep your company secure and boosts confidence among consumers.
Strengthen Your Workforce
When you’re expanding your Amazon eCommerce business, this usually means you’ll need to invest in more staff. This is a valuable opportunity not just to gain the technical skills of professionals but to work with diverse contributors to your success. The choices you make here can lead to a range of unique perspectives and talents that may result in innovation.
That said, adding staff can also widen the scope of cybersecurity risks. One recent study found that 88% of data breaches are caused by human error. As such, the behavior and security knowledge of your growing workforce has an impact on your company’s vulnerability. It’s vital to make certain that your staff has the skills to prevent potential breaches.
At the most basic level, this means you need to provide solid security training to all staff members. This should include helping them understand different types of cyber attacks and how to recognize them. Some of the focus should also be on communicating how their behavior is a key influencer of risks. Pass on cybersecurity best practices and provide clear protocols for data handling. Training should be reiterated and updated at least annually.
Maintain Encryption Protocols
A key part of growth as an Amazon seller tends to include investing in new equipment and software. Usually, this is geared toward making certain you can maintain efficient operations as your prospects expand. You might implement project management software to ensure effective collaborations between remote staff. Increasingly, eCommerce businesses that choose Amazon merchant-fulfillment are also investing in devices in the internet of things (IoT) to streamline warehousing processes.
That said, introducing this new equipment can also provide additional gateways to those who seek to breach your business. A key part of the solution here is to make certain you maintain stringent encryption protocols on new and existing tools. This is not necessarily difficult to do. Many devices come with built-in encryption tools, but these need to be manually activated. A mistake too many companies make — particularly with items in the IoT — is as simple as neglecting to switch these on.
On devices that don’t have built-in encryption capability, it’s worth investing in reliable encryption software. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that encryption tools are often only as strong as the passwords you utilize with them. It may seem basic, but be sure to change from the default passwords your device is loaded with. Utilize a complex password that you’re not utilizing on any other accounts. Change this regularly, too. Wherever possible, utilize multi-factor authentication on these devices and indeed any other password processes you use.
How to protect against cyber attacks?
Implementing cybersecurity protections can help to ensure your Amazon eCommerce expansion continues on solid footing. Commit to regularly assessing specific risks to your operations and utilizing tools most suited to your needs. Build security protocols into your marketing materials and ensure your growing workforce is well-educated on best practices. Alongside strong encryption methods, these steps can help reduce vulnerabilities and influence your trajectory toward success.