Since the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, new restrictions have led businesses to introduce new digital sales channels and online self-service portals. As a result, we’ve seen a lot of security questions for the business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce model being raised by prospective clients: this blog attempts to address some of them.
Organizations new to B2B ecommerce successfully launched their new websites in record time over the past year, and many will continue their ecommerce journey from here out. The extreme urgency for deployment however meant that background security measures were not always thoroughly tested and vulnerabilities weren’t immediately obvious.
In the meantime, management teams were focusing on maintaining the supply chain, monitoring demand, and establishing new ways of working.
B2B ecommerce security challenges
Even the most experienced ecommerce companies can find their own data and their customers’ information exposed to risks.
For large B2B companies, attacks on their corporate data as well as intellectual property theft can put the whole enterprise at risk. Manufacturers, for example, are increasingly reliant on connected technologies such as control systems, the internet of things (IoT), and automation. Internally-created designs, processes and plans often underpin their competitive advantage, so they are tempting targets for criminals.
High-profile customer data attacks involving the theft of personal information, including credit details, can ruin corporate reputations. Stolen personal details and log-in credentials give criminals access to digital systems and even property.
Recognizing security risks
Just like home security it’s important to lock your digital doors, but there are other potential risks that will need rapid and effective responses.
There are significant differences between the types of breaches experienced in B2B and retail ecommerce. Almost all cybercrime attacks on retailers target customer data, while a quarter of B2B breaches involve corporate information attacks.
With so many people working remotely during the coronavirus restrictions, corporate security infrastructure was immediately under pressure with vulnerabilities in virtual private networks (VPNs) exposed.
Sadly, not all threats are external and rogue employees or contractors can also be a risk. Often these people have privileged business access because of their role. They often use their position to steal confidential data, release malware, or provide access to sensitive information.
System users are a significant vulnerability because criminals will take advantage of their behavior and habits to undermine security measures. In March 2020, business email compromise (BEC) attacks increased by 600% as innocent users unintentionally provided login details and other security information in response to seemingly legitimate organizations.
The most popular office and business systems also attract cybercriminals because they are so widely used. It’s important that they are consistently upgraded with all current security patches.
Protecting your ecommerce business
In many B2B organizations the complex structures, processes and technologies in use add to the complexity of the security challenge. However, there are tried and tested methods that will help to protect your digital assets.
Controlling data A software as a service (SaaS) provider like Cloudfy is acutely aware of the need to protect clients’ data. While some companies might consider moving to a private cloud or on-premises solution to maintain control, this could be at the expense of keeping ahead of the latest threats, something SaaS companies can address quickly and effectively.
Permissions With a distributed workforce and increased remote working, controlling permissions and access is even more important. Company policies should formalize the separation of responsibilities to make sure users only have access to sensitive data if it is essential for their role. Multi-factor authentication, complex passwords and strict rules forcing users to change their passwords regularly will significantly reduce risks.
Training Human factors represent one of the biggest risks, so effective cybersecurity training is essential and should be part of your business culture. Employees should be aware that exposures or possible breaches must be reported immediately. Your training should include how to recognize suspicious emails and other risky online activity and what to do in response.
Technical protection Continuous monitoring and updating is essential to make sure your other security measures are effective and to protect the business from emerging security threats. This includes all the appropriate defenses, filters and tracking of user behavior, and making sure that all certifications are current and the compliance is regularly reviewed.
Peace of mind
While the possibility of a data breach can never be eliminated completely, the latest figures show that almost nine out of ten organizations that prioritize cybersecurity will identify breaches in less than one day. This allows them to respond quickly and effectively and to minimize the damage to reputation and performance that could otherwise have major implications.
Working with trusted ecommerce partners that understand the risks and how to mitigate them is an important part of your cybersecurity approach.
Please contact us if you would like to know more about security for B2B ecommerce in 2021.