How to secure your Magento Store for Better Conversion
Brent PetersonMay 21, 2020
Thanks to your SEO prowess, you get a ton of visitors on your online Magento store – but how many are you converting? Or are you just spinning wheels because your customers do not feel safe on your site, despite the awesome content and all the bells and whistles that are reminiscent of a modern eCommerce website?
In today’s online industry, Magento is respected as a formidable force due to its security features and regular updates. With Magento, you get the advantage of an online store that gives you the best in terms of protection right out of the box. Unlike most of the eCommerce platforms that sell “staying safe” features as add-ons, Magento builds security right in the core.
Security has been and continues to be the primary concern for online businesses – even the most minuscule of customer data collected by the smallest of Magento stores are worth a lot not only to cybercriminals but also to the success of your eCommerce aspirations.
Let us look at some ways to secure your Magento Store for Better Conversion.
1. Never run an outdated Magento version
If you are still running Magento 1.x, do yourself a favor and migrate to Magento 2 even if you are scared of the folklores telling you that they do not make it as good nowadays.
The latest Magento releases include security patches to fix the previously uncovered vulnerabilities – running an older version is exposing yourself to the hackers.
Remember, one security breach, and you’ll get enough bad press to throw you out of business and may even make you liable for legal action – forget retaining customers and converting the potential ones.
Sometimes keeping up with every new update can be stressful and difficult to keep track of. Because of this, Wagento now offers their No-Hassle Updates–a program that delivers an entire year’s worth of Magento upgrades to you for one fixed rate!
2. Use advanced security features, like 2FA
Magento 2 offers an excellent 2FA (Two-factor authentication) extension, which makes it easy to add a layer of security, so only the trusted devices can access your Magento 2 backend.
Make sure that your users are trained to prevent the sharing of the security code provided by the Magento platform as part of the 2FA authentication process.
You may also consider using Magento extensions from other trusted providers. They offer advanced 2FA capabilities, so you can conduct your business without having to worry about the Magento store security risks related to password compromises.
3. Change the path to your Admin Panel
The typical way to access the admin panel is by navigating to mydomain.com/admin, though this default path makes it a piece of cake for cybercriminals to know how to reach where they can cause the most damage from.
You can easily protect yourself by changing the Magento admin path of your installation by making changes to your env.php and local.xml files. This way, even if your admin panel credentials get compromised, it will not be easy for the malicious agents to cause any damage.
4. Install an SSL certificate
Getting an SSL certificate is the most affordable and effective way of protecting your customer’s data in transit to your web server. An SSL certificate will switch on the more secure HTTPS (Hyper Text Transmission Protocol secure) communication mechanism so all the data being exchanged between the visitor’s web browser and your server is encrypted.
This prevents any MITM (man in the middle) attacks in case hackers were somehow to insert themselves between your server and the user to listen on the wire. They will not be able to make sense of the information being place on the communication channel, and hence will not be able to use the data for harmful gains.
Not only this, having an SSL certificate will show up as a visual cue on the visitor’s browser, assuring them that their data is safe on your website. Thus, they will be more inclined to engage in financial transactions on your site, leading to better conversion rates. There are many SSL brands available in the market for instance a main domain and sub domain security can be achieved with a cheap Wildcard SSL certificate.
5. Never use insecure file transfers
You cannot work without FTP, as you and your development/IT teams will need to frequently need to add, update, and modify the files on the server. However, this opens you up to cyber-attacks if a mischievous hacker intercepts or guesses your password.
Add another layer of protection to your work mechanisms by using secure passwords and adopting SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), which makes use of a private key for user authentication and data decryption.
6. Have a reliable back up plan
Irrespective of how secure you try to be, you can never rule out the possibility of the need for a website restores – it could be triggered by a hack or a site crash or a cyber-attack.
Always be prepared with a functional website backup and restoration plan – this can be a combination of hourly backup stored offsite and readily available backups that can be downloaded on demand.
This will ensure you can spring back to life quickly with minimal data loss and not lose your customers that you can otherwise convert.
7. Block indexing of directories
Another way of improving your Magento store security is to disable directory indexing – this helps you hide the path of critical files on your domain.
If you do not do this, online crooks with even the most basic skills can figure out the directory structure of your installation. They can get their hands on all the security details and sensitive information by browsing your site’s files, which they can use for their malicious designs.
8. Adopt best practices for password management
Passwords are the key to the most secure systems – bad password policies are the most common cause of online security breaches. Make sure all your administrators, IT personal, employees, and customers who access any part of your Magento store use hard to guess strong passwords.
Be strict in enforcing the best practices for password management such as a minimal length, combination of numbers, characters (upper and lower case), and special characters to pick a “non-dictionary” password not close to the username, etc. Adopt a password maintenance policy that forces all users to change their passwords regularly without allowing them to reuse old passwords.
As a personal measure and general guidance to your users, discourage the use of the same password on multiple applications.
9. Pick a safe hosting provider
Do not go for shared hosting for your Magento store, even if your life depended on it. It is never worth compromising your security, and hence your reputation.
You will have to depend on your co-hosted websites to follow the same or better levels of security standards as yours. You will also have to suffer downtimes and slow performance during resource crunches caused by sudden spikes in traffic.
Also, look for other security features such as firewalls and geographic diversity of pooled resources so you can work through localized downtimes.
10. Run periodic security audits
It is better to find and plug your security holes before an online attack wakes you up and shatters you. Look for software holes like XSS/SQL injection attacks, malware in your network, misconfigured security gateways/firewalls, malfunctions in backups and software updates, etc.
Remember, it may be too late to react once you are under attack – so better be safe than sorry.
Finally, Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms out there. This not only means that you get access to a wide range of development resources but also attract the most hackers as it is easier for them to go after the most popular installations. Security breaches are not just a technical issue, but they instead have far-reaching business ramifications leading to lost opportunities for conversion. Use the tips outlined in this article as the starting point to convert more customers and maximize your ROI on your Magento website.
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