E-commerce is Hong Kong’s number one side hustle pursuit, according to GoDaddy’s Gig Economy Survey in 2017, highlighting the city’s enduring entrepreneurial spirit. The growing numbers of Hongkongers involved in sideline businesses or side hustles can thank the proliferation of cloud technology, which is empowering people to put their ideas quickly, efficiently, and affordably online, as they look to acquire new customers and grow their ventures.
With the growth of e-commerce websites also comes the potential to be targeted by ever-evolving hackers and identity thieves, according to the Hong Kong Security Watch Report (Q1 2018). The report noted over 7,855 unique security events related to Hong Kong during the period, an increase of 1.5% or 120 incidents compared to the previous quarter.
For Hongkongers who want to create an online business platform and help build customer confidence in the protection of their online presence, here are some practical measures that can help strengthen online protection on your website.
At least two million Hongkongers were impacted by cybercrime in a 12-month period resulting in an average loss of HK$220 (US$28) and spending 19 hours dealing with the consequences, according to a local cybersecurity company. To help lower your risk of being impacted by hackers and identity thieves, do not collect or save additional customer details that you do not need such as IDs and full date of birth. A standard method to help reduce the risk of being targeted is to have an encrypted checkout tunnel such as Paypal that can help to eliminate the need for your servers to be in contact with the customer’s credit card details. E-commerce websites often offer Paypal as a payment method option.
Maintain current versions of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificates to help protect data transmission between the website and browsers. Google released Chrome 68 in July, which marks all sites that haven’t adopted SSL Certificates as not secure, addressing safety measures even more rigorously on a global scale. A variety of different providers offer SSL Certifications; you may want to consider using website solutions which provide a range of SSL Certificates to help meet your websites needs.
Consider using an active security monitoring service that continually monitors your website and works to fix significant issues as they are identified. Many top hosting providers offer a comprehensive list of tools to help make creating and running an e-commerce site easy and more secure. Test and monitor your e-commerce site regularly; this includes testing all links to help ensure malware has not been introduced into advertisements, graphics, or other content provided by third parties and shown on your website. Top hosting providers also usually offer services that perform regular backups, keeping comprehensive logs, performing regular network monitoring, providing written policies and procedures in case of a breach, whilst providing a single point of contact for security emergencies.
To help minimise the risk of intrusion to your website, help ensure you are further protecting access to your company and customer information, by regularly updating and training your employees and vendors on your security protection measures and ensure they follow your guidelines. With an estimated 5.751 million internet users in Hong Kong, along with an overall internet penetration rate of 73%, Hong Kong leads as compared to other Asian countries. In addition, Hong Kongers lead in mobile usage with 96% of smartphone users accessing the internet on a daily basis, for activities like online shopping, playing games, responding to email, and browsing the web. That is a lot of visibility for your website by people around the world and at home, so its important to have protections in place.
Website security is an ongoing process, not a one-time fix. If your website accepts credit cards, you will be required by your card provider to test your network annually. Continual testing of your e-commerce site, immediate attention to identified issues, active daily monitoring and conducting an annual in-depth website review, can all help to address security issues that may impact your website and online presence.
With the growth of the digital environment and e-commerce comes the threat of being targeted by ever-evolving hackers and identity thieves. Your customers must feel confident in your attention and dedication to online security. They count on you to help take the protection of the information they share with you seriously.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Hongkong Business. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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As Senior Vice President of Asia Pacific Region at GoDaddy, Roger is on point to build a market-leading position for GoDaddy in the Region by delivering compelling end-to-end experiences supported by world-class go to market activities offering SMB online solutions and platforms.
Prior to GoDaddy, he spent 6 years at Yahoo where he last served as Vice President of Product Management, led PM and Design teams for Asia across Media, Search, e-Commerce, Mobile, Partnerships, and Custom Solutions.
He has over 20 years of professional experience in Asia & US, focused on internet product development, marketing, consumer hardware, and telecom. His previous leadership experiences included Technical Director at AT&T/SBC Communications, and led product development of consumer laptop group at Dell with annual billion dollar product revenue.
Roger graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, double-majored BA degree in Computer Science and Economics.