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COVID-19, e-commerce and the importance of security awareness
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COVID-19, e-commerce and the importance of security awareness

Claire Greathead

Written by Claire Greathead

5th May 2020

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e-commerce

How has the coronavirus changed e-commerce businesses?

It would be fair to say that COVID-19 has turned many aspects of everyday life upside down. Even before the Prime Minister officially announced our current lockdown guidelines on 16th March, retailers were already reporting significant changes. Data gathered by RetailX on 11th March found that a quarter of UK shoppers had already reduced or completely stopped shopping in person at physical stores. In contrast, online shopping figures have increased significantly in this period.

Thinking outside the box

Despite the many challenges presented by the current pandemic, many businesses have looked to innovate their way out of trouble through COVID-19. This has meant traditional bricks and mortar businesses moving towards an online model in just a short space of time. Around the UK, we’ve seen restaurants turning into takeaway providers, farm shops scaling up their home delivery options and a whole range of other e-commerce stores kicking into gear.

New platforms have also been introduced during this period to help retail move into the digital space more efficiently. One example of this is Streetify: a unique e-commerce concept launched in the UK in recent weeks in order to tackle the damage done to the high street during this time.

Streetify provides virtual stores for every business’s website, replicating the shopping experience by street, based on location. So far, the app has helped transform over 5 million local stores and national websites into virtual stores, showing just how much influence e-commerce can have.

 

Growing security concerns

UK online orders are up an incredible 23% year-on-year, according to data collected from e-commerce ancillary services company, James and James Fulfilment. Orders of health supplements and ingredients saw triple-digit growth, while home entertainment and fitness products have also increased exponentially.

And while this may provide increased opportunity for brands operating online, it has also means a bigger playground for cybercriminals – particularly as online credit card transactions see a spike.

In recent weeks, there have been several reports of cyberattacks impacting key brands. In particular, large US brand and household name, Tupperware, suffered a credit card skimming attack across a number of its associated websites.

There is no doubt that the threat of coronavirus provides a rich environment for scammers, with more potential victims and a heightened emotional state to prey upon. In Tupperware’s case, it was identified that a message relating to COVID-19 was accompanied by an image containing malicious code that activated a fraudulent payment form at the checkout, providing card details to the cybercriminals.

 

Cybersecurity is more important than ever before

It’s clear that while e-commerce brands have never been more important, they’ve also never been more vulnerable. In order for brands to transform with the changing times and survive the current crisis, they will need to consider their security practices in their present and future plans.

Being smart with the way you handle the personal data of both clients and customers, as well as internal team members, is key, and that means ensuring this data is fully protected. Processes completed through your site – particularly card payments – must also be secure.

For those organisations looking to trade successfully online through this period, it is crucial to implement a rigorous information security framework. Meeting PCI DSS requirements is, of course, a top priority for those processing card payments. Similarly, the ISO 27001 standard for data security represents a valuable certification that not only helps companies improve their resilience to threats but can also provide peace of mind for both customers and key members of the supply chain.

Similarly, while the challenges facing businesses at the present time are undoubtedly great, they don’t lessen organisations’ responsibilities in relation to GDPR. For those companies looking to make a quick entrance to the e-commerce market, it is vital that this takes place with data protection and permissions front of mind.

SRM can help your business achieve both PCI DSS and ISO27001 accreditation, as well as a wide range of other cybersecurity services including GDPR and Business Continuity Planning.

Get in touch today by clicking here, or speak to a member of our team on 03450 21 21 51.

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