How to Prevent Data Breach: A Guide For eCommerce Retailers


an illustration representing data breach shows a burglar and an open lock

SMBs generally have fewer resources at their disposal to protect themselves from malicious breaches. Since eCommerce is one of the biggest targets of scammers, protecting your website and knowing precisely how to prevent data breach should be a top priority. 

Data breaches often make headlines for the huge amounts of personal information that they reveal. Big corporations like banks and healthcare companies have made massive payouts to victims of these breaches. As you would imagine, many of them spend considerable time and money developing IT departments that can combat such threats. 

Predictably, hackers and scammers have taken notice. Over the years they have shifted their focus to increasing attacks on more vulnerable small businesses. In fact, more than 40% of cyber attacks are against small and medium-sized businesses.

However, there are many steps you can take to make sure that you are keeping your business safe. Below is a guide to the best practices to ensure that you are running a secure eCommerce website.

How do Hackers Attack Small Businesses?

There is a multitude of types of attacks that data pirates can use to break into your private information. These attacks can come from the “inside” and the “outside” of your website or business network.


If someone who works in your company opens and downloads the wrong email, they can potentially download malware (malicious software) that can lead to serious consequences. 


If one of your employees runs the wrong application they could potentially expose your system to a virus. These infections, such as Trojan horses and worms, can destroy your network from the inside, deleting and corrupting files and rendering your system unusable. 


This refers to essentially holding your private information ransom. Hackers will use malware to lock you out of your company’s software and data. Then, they will likely follow up with an email message telling you that you must make a large Bitcoin transfer in order to open up your computer network back to you. 

Bad Bots

Some data security firms estimate that bots make up more than half of the activity on the internet. Bad bots can perform many functions for different attackers. Competitors can run “scraping” bots to scour your website’s pricing in order to undercut your sales. Other bots will attempt log-ins and credit card transactions across multiple websites in order to find a way into your server. 

SQL injection

Altered structured query language injections entered into your domain allow the hacker to control certain operations, such as revealing and stealing data and bypassing authentication steps.  

XSS Site Scripting

Cross-site scripting attacks are another type of injection attack. In this case, the hacker finds a weak point in the web application and inserts malicious code. This type of attack targets the end-user by exposing and hijacking their log-in data, impersonating them, and/or misdirecting them to other malicious websites.  

Customer Journey Hacking

Attackers can run plug-ins on legitimate websites to essentially hijack your user experience. This can be presented as an advertised shopping item or pop-up window that takes you away from the original website once you click through. It can even present as a fake chatbot to lure unsuspecting guests away from your site. 

Read also: How to Grow eCommerce Customer Loyalty: 7 Tips for Online Stores

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

DDoS attacks are when your network gets inundated with coordinated untraceable requests that render your system inoperable. This disruption overwhelms your system, causing it to crash. The duration it takes to remedy the attack  can cause a loss of sales, trust, and revenue for your business.

a graphic representing preventing data breach shows a lock with html code in the background

Data Breach: How To Prevent Attacks On Your eCommerce Business

Like any other aspect of a successful business, eCommerce should be an ongoing process of optimization and improvement. Keeping your network safe from hackers is not a one-and-done situation. Your staff, IT, and HR departments should be constantly updating and monitoring your website’s security to and keep up to date and protect against the latest threats and fraud schemes. 

Educate your staff about the risks and dangers associated with cyber attacks. Collaboration between human resources and IT departments (no matter how small your staff size is) can be crucial in keeping your business safe. 

Small steps, such as instruction on strong and frequently changed passwords or information sessions about how to spot suspicious emails, will help avoid getting hit with an internally inflicted attack.

In addition, offboarding should be done professionally and securely.  Ensure that potentially disgruntled individuals will not have access to sensitive information that can be used once they’ve left your organization.

Allow Secure Remote Employee Access

Many companies have moved to what’s known as a “zero trust model.” Since the pandemic initiated a move to remote work, businesses have employees spread out in many locations using different types of computers, tablets, and smartphones. As the world reopens, the remote work trend seems unlikely to change. 

In this cloud-based work environment, the IT firewall is not bound by physical space. Thus, a zero trust architecture treats every log in as a potential threat. It requires login credentials to verify every attempt, and limits access based on a least-privilege access model meaning employees can only access the absolute minimum level of clearance needed to perform their work duties. IBM argues that this is the most secure and proactive approach for the future of businesses with remote staff. 

Run Antivirus Software

Use antivirus software to constantly scan your system for outside threats. Make sure the software is updated regularly and able to perform the necessary level of monitoring that your SMB demands. There are plenty of options out there to shop around, such as Norton, Kaspersky, and Webroot to name a few.

Use Firewall Protection

Implement a web application firewall that acts like a bouncer at a nightclub, filtering traffic to your website to block access to malicious hackers. The most effective firewall for an eCommerce site is a proxy firewall. This type of firewall generates its own IP address when connecting the internal and outside servers, thereby hiding the original IP address from potential bad actors.

Ensure Safer Guest Sign-Ins

Verify your customer sign-ins to ensure that they are not being manipulated by password-cracking bots. One of the most popular steps is CAPTCHA verification. By asking the user to identify a series of images, it ensures that there is an actual human trying to sign in.

Another safety measure is multifactor authentication. When your customer enters their login information they will receive a text message and/or email to ensure that it is in fact them trying to sign in. This message will contain a passcode that can be used by the customer to authenticate themselves. This extra process adds a strong extra layer of protection.

How To Prevent A Data Breach In eCommerce Transactions

Shop around for reputable payment processors and platforms to make sure that they provide secure transactions.

Be on the lookout for the following:

PCI Compliance

Stay committed to PCI compliance on your eCommerce gateway. This is a must for any business that operates using credit card transactions. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)  requires certain software security steps to be followed in order to maintain compliance. 

Read about the new v4.0 of PCI DSS.

Be sure your SMB is keeping everything safe, secure, and up to date so as to not interfere with smooth eCommerce transaction conversion. If you take care of the smaller steps to follow the guidelines, PCI compliance will help reduce the chances of fraudulent charges by a large percentage. 

Check with your credit card processing provider to make sure that they are providing thorough PCI compliance to protect against fraud.


Encrypted protocols for data transmission will protect your valuable information from being hijacked. Instead of operating on an HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to transfer data over the network, your eCommerce site should use HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). 

HTTPS is a much safer version because it uses SSL/TLS certificates to encrypt data being transferred and to validate the users on each end. Using a reliable hosting platform will typically guarantee that your eCommerce site is operating using the HTTPS protocol.

See also: How to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch

Use a Secure Cloud Based POS 

State of the art cloud-based POS systems like KORONA POS come all of the built-in measures you need to run a safe and secure eCommerce site. 

KORONA POS integrates with Woocommerce to seamlessly merge your brick and mortar and eCommerce inventory and reporting.. Plus, the integration uses safety compliance, encryption, and tokenization techniques to ensure that each and every eCommerce transaction is guarded. Finally, storing your customer data on our cloud server reduces the risk of data breaches from in-house hardware systems. 

To get a demo of how this custom eCommerce solution works, click below.

About the Author

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Shane Ortale

As a history enthusiast, Shane loves reading and writing. He blogs about small businessmarketing and cloud based POS. He is also an avid bird watcher, and Liverpool FC fan.