Simple Things You Can Do to Protect Your Shopify Ecommerce Site

A person working on a laptop at a desk with boxes, highlighting Shopify Ecommerce Site protection.

More are getting on the Shopify bandwagon; this is apparent in their rapid increase in total revenue by over $4 billion since 2015, reaching more than $4.6 billion in 2021.

Also, studies show that businesses riding on Shopify confirmed a 50% increase in online sales in 2019, an impressive figure. Hence, this initiated many new Shopify eCommerce stores.  

Online security is crucial to an online store because it stores and handles personal details, including financial information. Also, volumes of money transactions occur 24/7. As such, hackers love to prey on these eCommerce stores. 

Once your eCommerce site is breached, you can say goodbye to your business, and it will be an uphill battle to regain your customers' confidence and trust

No matter the size and shape of your Shopify online store, it is always vulnerable to attacks from cybercriminals. They scour the internet for easy prey; you do not want to be one. We have put together a list of simple things you can do to protect your Shopify eCommerce site:

1. Tighten Your Passwords

Kaspersky Password Checker helps you determine the strength of your passwords. (Source: Kaspersky)

Passwords are the first line of defense to protect your eCommerce store. Did you know that password hacks are rampant and pose a more serious threat than many? Hackers exert brute force, phishing, guessing, dictionary word lists, and other ways to steal your passwords, and they are relentless. 

Identity theft is no joke. Getting hold of your passwords is akin to unlocking a safe vault and gaining access to all the riches you can think of.

What You Can Do

Your admin password locks your customers' sensitive information behind bars and safeguards your Shopify store. Once unlocked, you can imagine the irreparable damages to you, your business, and your customers. Hence, use only virtually-uncrackable passwords:

  • At least 16 characters.
  • Combination of uppercase/lowercase letters, symbols, numbers, and special characters.
  • Do not use consecutive and repeated letters/numbers.
  • Do not include publicly available personal information.

Also, do not recycle your passwords and use a unique one for your Shopify account to mitigate risks in the event of an attack on your other accounts. Never write down your Shopify admin password and paste it anywhere convenient. Also, change your admin password regularly. Consider using a password manager tool to help generate and manage your passwords.

Enable password protection to your Shopify store; this is for others you want to access your online store, which is separate from your admin password:

  • Log in as a Shopify admin
  • Online Store > Preferences
  • Look for the Password protection area
  • Check Enable password
  • Enter the password
  • Click Save.

2. Configure Access Level  

You delegate tasks to your staff to get things done (as expected as a business owner). However, being the bottleneck to your business operations is the last thing you want (since you alone hold the admin key). That said, giving your staff access to the Shopify store increases risks as the exposure is higher.

Studies confirmed that most security breaches contain the human factor. 

Kok Weng, the co-founder of Enko Products says, “Not controlling the access levels is akin to not packaging your items properly and in-tact, your items will be bare-opened to all.”

What You Can Do

You can set access limits by managing your staff via roles. You create and assign roles to allow your employees to access only parts of your Shopify store that they should. Reduced exposure helps to reduce risks to threats. These roles control organization access and store permissions. You will need to add users to your organization admin and assign roles to them. 

Create roles:

  • Log in as a Shopify admin
  • Click Users > Roles
  • Click Create role
  • Add organization access
  • Add access to stores (optional)
  • Click Save

Assign roles:

  • Log in as a Shopify admin
  • Click Users
  • Check the users In the Users list
  • Click Actions > Assign role
  • Select the role and assign

3. SSL-Enable Your Store

All eCommerce stores must be SSL-enabled by installing a (Secure Sockets Layer) SSL certificate; this encrypts data in transit. Hence, your customer's details are safe from prying eyes. Your connection displays an HTTPS with a padlock icon, confirming a secure connection. 

All Shopify eCommerce store owners customers data will remain private and secure by default. Your customers feel assured when they see the padlock icon beside your online store's URL.

What You Can Do

Use a TLS (Transport Layer Security) certificate, a superior version of the SSL certificate. You can rest assured that your store's and external parties' communications are encrypted. Shopify provides free TLS certificates for all domains that are added to Shopify. You are not allowed to use third-party SSL certificates with your Shopify store.

Once installed, you can verify its status by checking if the domain status registers as ‘Connected' on the Domains page.

4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) enhances security and helps to add another security layer to help thwart attackers. If your password leaks, the hacker cannot access your store because the 2FA insists on other information you must provide, which the hacker does not know. 2FA combines something you know and something you have. 

Commonly used along with passwords is the One-Time-Password (OTP), which is sent to the mobile phone and remains valid for a short time. Even though the hacker has your password, the hacker does not know the OTP. Hence, your Shopify eCommerce store remains untouched. 

What You Can Do

Shopify allows you to activate 2FA in several ways (authenticator app, SMS, security key, and built-in authenticator). 2FA is eligible for all staff accounts. However, only your staff can set up the 2FA in their accounts, not you as the store owner. 

Also, if you are on the Shopify Plus plan, you can get all users to use 2FA; you must have user management access in the Shopify organization admin to activate this.

5. Use Protect Against Fraud Feature

Nothing kills your business as fraud does. The crumbling of your business is devastating, as fraud incidents kill trust, destroy your reputation, and, not the least, your revenues. You'll also be compensating your burned customers endlessly. 

As an eCommerce store owner, you are responsible for safeguarding everything about your buyers by staying on top of cybersecurity. 

What You Can Do

Use fraud prevention tools to protect you and your buyers. Shopify offers a built-in fraud system – Shop Pay's free, built-in chargeback protection. All your orders with ‘protection active' are guarded against fraud. Also, Shopify Protect covers the total order cost and chargeback fee. 

Orders processed via Shop Pay are eligible for this protection against fraudulent and unrecognized chargebacks by Shopify Protect. Shopify Protect also handles the dispute process on protected fraud-based chargebacks. Note that Shopify Protect is activated by default for stores in the early access program.

Some identity theft protection services can also help you detect and prevent fraudulent orders by analyzing order patterns and flagging any suspicious activity. When choosing a service, don’t just go for what’s popular. For instance, Lifelock might be a familiar brand, but you might find better choices than Lifelock, depending on your requirements.

These are the overall steps to protect your order with Shopify Protect :

  • Activate Shop Pay in your store
  • Fulfill the order within seven days
  • Add tracking information
  • Deliver order to a carrier within ten days

6. Backup Your Shopify Store

Data retrieval methods after a ransomware attack for companies 2021 (Source: Statista)

Anything can happen, and this includes disasters. What will you do if you wake up one day to find your eCommerce store down? You would scramble to get it up as soon as possible. After all, each downtime second translates to revenue loss. 

Be it due to external attacks, unintentional/intentional data deletion, or natural disasters, the first thing to do is to recover your business by getting your online store up.

What You Can Do

Having the latest backup is the simplest way to restore your store soonest. Running automatic and scheduled backups are essential for your business to operate seamlessly. It is simple but crucial to handle any security-related threat and information loss in the hour of need.

In Shopify, you export CSV files to back up your store information (you must be the admin). Then, combine these CSV files with other relevant data to create a complete backup of your online store. There are also some automated option available for backup protection through the Rewind App.

7. Pay Attention to 3rd Party Apps

Every business is unique and will require different features and functionalities. As such, third-party apps make sense as they help expand your store's functions. Although the Shopify Partner Program apps are claimed to be written by trusted developers, you cannot help but take extra precautions as these apps may pose a security risk.

Shopify did not build these apps. Hence, they advise contacting the developer directly should you need support. Do not discount the possibility of the app wreaking havoc on your store; it is more common than you think.

What You Can Do

Before installing and using any app in your Shopify store, you should vet them thoroughly. Read up on customer reviews, the company/individual who developed the app, the number of installations, and more. 

Naturally, you steer clear of apps with bad reviews and few installations. Do your due diligence before you take up any 3rd party apps in your store.

8. Use a Trusted and Reliable Hosting Provider

Some have claimed that they live and die by their web hosting solution. Well, your mouth may curve up in amusement, but there is some truth to this, as your web hosting determines the success of your eCommerce store. Not only is the speed and performance impacted, but also the security of your online store. 

The workload and endless nightmares you endure when tackling security depend on your web hosting type and the web host itself. Dr. Haitham Dheyaa from Ultahost says, “Choosing a low quality or wrong hosting provider exposes you to frequent exploitation by nefarious parties.” 

What You Can Do

Research the different web hosting solutions available and choose the one that suits your current and future business needs. Remember, each has its pros and cons, so be careful when deciding the right one for you. 

Also, pay attention to the web host's reputation and security practices. Go for one that is trusted and provides an adequate level of protection. Shopify is a fully-hosted eCommerce platform that is Level 1 PCI compliant. 

Wrapping Up

Shopify has earned its place among the reputable and popular one-stop eCommerce platforms. Aside from being Level 1 PCI compliant, Shopify checks the essential boxes security-wise, making it a well-guarded platform. However, as a business owner, you must include additional best practices (as above) to keep the lid tight over your eCommerce store. 

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