Cyber Security Advice for Online Retailers

Some very high-profile cyber-attacks on ecommerce and retail have hit the news in 2015. British shoe company Office reported at the beginning of 2015 that their systems had been breached, potentially affecting millions. Premera Blue Cross, a healthcare insurance provider, revealed the extent of their hack in March. It had affected over 11 million customers’ information, including bank account details. Ashley Madison is perhaps the most well-known hacker story of this year. Although the hack was not intended to steal bank account information, it seems that the hackers were trying to embarrass the owners and management. However, bank and credit card information was still compromised.

These are just some of the high-profile examples of online payment processing businesses that have been hacked in the past year. Cyber security breaches often make headlines for large-scale retailers and ecommerce companies. But what about smaller retailers who operate ecommerce online? What steps can small and medium-sized enterprises (or SMEs) take to protect their data and that of their customers?

Online retailers should be aware of these key points

The following steps are important for businesses that accept online payments.

1) Training for the userEnd users can access your network by clicking on links or downloading malware-laden documents. It is crucial that your employees are trained to spot malicious emails and other communications.

2) PasswordsHackers can also compromise your systems by using weak passwords. You should ensure that your passwords to software, applications and systems are complex enough.

Configuration of the systemSecurity of customer data is dependent on the configuration of your computer network, the coding of your software and websites, and the coding of payment gateways. All must be configured with web security in view.

4) Software and Application TestingHackers can also gain access to your network through legacy and unpatched applications and software. It is important to monitor, update and test all software and applications.

5) Network security– Are you using adequate threat detection technology? Are you confident that you can detect potential threats fast enough to prevent them from causing damage? These are two important questions any online retailer should ask as part of their network security assessment.

6) Compliance with PCI-DSSAre you able to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, (PCI-DSS). Are you looking for assistance to ensure that you comply with the regulations?


Make sure you are secure right from the beginning

It doesn’t matter what your current position on these six issues is, it’s easy to see why smaller retailers can find themselves in serious trouble. Many brick-and-mortar retailers are under increasing pressure to incorporate an eCommerce component to their business. Smaller businesses can be hit hard by the pressure to launch an online solution to customers without taking the time necessary to consider all security concerns before launch. Some sites were launched quickly, with little testing and vulnerabilities that hackers are quick to exploit. There are many potential consequences to not securing your systems. These include lawsuits, notification expenses and customer losses due reputation damage.

Businesses of all sizes, from small businesses to large retailers, need to understand how to manage their information security risks. Anyone handling sensitive customer data should be aware of all aspects of cyber security, from PCI DSS compliance to 24/7 monitoring.

How to combine organic and paid strategies on Twitter

Are you a social media manager for your company? Are you a small business owner looking to find new ways to reach different audiences? Do you represent an organization? If so, how do you get your message across in a large way? If the answer is “yes”, then you may need to create a Twitter strategy that includes both organic and paid advertising. Twitter is a popular social media platform that allows you to reach a wide audience. Recently, Twitter added paid advertising to its mix of promotional tools. Twitter’s paid advertising options are great because you can target your audience according to your business needs as well as the location and demographics your clients live in. Are you ready for a new Twitter strategy to begin? You can follow our four top tips to combine organic and paid Twitter strategies and then experiment with which strategies work best for you. You can always tweak your experiment with social media advertising.

1. 1.
As a social media strategist and manager, you must remember that organic tweeting can only get you so far. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms now hide audiences. To get the maximum reach, you must pay for it. However, organic tweeting will not guarantee you reach. This simply means there’s a lot of mystery around how much reach organic tweeting can bring you. It is important to experiment and diversify. Paying for the most important tweets to your campaign or business goals will save you money. You should not experiment with paid advertising on Twitter until you’ve had enough experience.

2. Try Promoted Tweets
Twitter users can pay for targeted, promoted Tweets. Your curated tweets will be displayed in the timelines for the audience you targeted at the time you bid on. Promoted tweets can reach many audiences by spending a little money. This is something you can experiment with when you naturally tweet. To see the number of people who have seen your tweets, which you can see through Twitter metrics, and to determine how many people liked and retweeted your promoted tweet, you can run a test. To best determine when your target audience is most attentive, you can do this over a time period and at different times. This will vary depending on your audience’s demographic.

3. Follow these Steps to Create a Promoted Tweet, Ad, or Campaign on Twitter
Twitter makes it simple to create a promoted tweet or ad campaign. Simply go to the Twitter ads platform. You can set the parameters for your budget, the date/times that you wish to promote the tweet, and the purpose of your promoted tweet (video views or new followers, etc.). A “Twitter Ad” is a Twitter term that allows you to set up a promoted Twitter account to attract new followers. You can also create a tweeted with a message or promote a link to your tweet. Twitter allows you to bid on tweets and ads. It works in a competitive market. Twitter clarifies that clients will only pay one cent more for promoted tweets or ads than the highest bidder. Once your tweet or advertisement is accepted, it will start running. Your targeted audience will then see the items until you reach your budget.










4. 4. Analyze your Metrics
Analyzing your metrics will give you a better understanding of the performance of your organic and paid tweets on the platform. You will need to create a database that includes several columns showing the dates of both your organic and paid Tweets. The time and content of the tweets will also be needed. You can test their performance by sending both an organic and promoted tweet at the same time, but several days apart. To get an idea of the performance of promoted and organic tweets against each other, send them out a dozen times at different times. You’ll soon be able to identify when your audience is online and who they are. Also, you will learn how they engage with your content. Although these aren’t easy conclusions to draw, you can get a sense of your audience’s response between the two types of tweets. Payed ads are not the best investment. If you notice the ads and promoted tweets making a difference in your overall goals, start slowly.