Procurement · 28 March 2017

Lack of customer security puts millions of online shoppers at risk

cyber security
Half of all online business owners didn’t know how to respond to a customer security breach

One in ten online business owners have no customer security measures to protect the credit card details of shoppers, according to new research.

A poll of over 13,000 ecommerce website owners, by domain provider 123 Reg, found that a fifth didn’t know who handled their site’s security, while half were not prepared for any kind of online attack.

Further, while eight per cent of online business owners admitted to having been hacked, almost one in ten couldn’t say whether customer security had been breached or not. The stark statistics could be putting many online consumers at risk.

Commenting on the findings, 123 Reg director Nick Leech said a “team effort” was required to bolster customer security.

“Business owners can easily implement simple, yet crucial, security measures, which can help keep them safe against online attacks.

“By continuously updating online programmes, regularly changing passwords and installing the latest security products, Britain’s small business owners can stay secure and continue to thrive,” he said in a statement.

Online sales continue to take an ever growing share of UK sales and transactions. Recent research from eBay suggested that business owners yet to invest in a website could be forfeiting an annual sales boost of £20,000.

Being responsible for a customer security breach could deal a potentially lethal blow to brand reputation and a crucial source of revenue. In 2016, over eight in ten online consumers said a breach of their data would prevent them from shopping with the guilty website ever again.

Research conducted in 2016 by Get Safe Online revealed that over £1bn had been lost in just a year as a result of customer security breaches. The subsequent campaign urged business owners to ensure staff had better training to spot signs of fraud.

In response to the survey, Tom Serani, executive vice president at cloud security firm Sitelock, explained that “increased digitisation” of UK businesses had been met with the “exponential growth” of cyber security threats.

“Worryingly, hacker attacks are getting more sophisticated, especially those targeting small businesses, which are generally perceived to be less secure. It is therefore vital that online business owners take the necessary steps to protect themselves from any attack,” he added.

123 Reg has provided small online business owners with a guide to getting customer security right.

Thinking of going online? Find out the ecommerce mistakes that even Amazon is guilty of making

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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