Online retail is booming all over the world. In Africa and the Middle East, ecommerce is expected to grow significantly over the next five years. Growing access to smartphones and more reliable WiFi connections are fuelling consumer demand, so much so that by 2022, sales across the region are estimated to reach US$28.942 billion.
With this anticipated surge, there are a couple of risks that online retailers may need to consider. One of them is ensuring their websites and apps are equipped to cope with extra traffic from more visitors.
The other issue is cyber security, which is important for both the business and their customers alike. An unsafe website that has been hacked could see customers and business owners lose money, whilst it would see any trust in the affected company evaporate. This is where penetration testing can prove useful.
Penetration testing is a process where IT experts simulate an attack on a website, app or network to see whether they are safe from being hacked. This allows the testers to find flaws and see what they mean and how they can be fixed.
The attack would replicate one performed by cybercriminals who would try to go through any part of an app/website. For ecommerce sites and apps, the shopping cart or login page for customers would be the place to start testing. They would try to enter into the site and then record any vulnerabilities that need to be stopped.
Online retailers are more vulnerable than most to cybercrime. As they require customers to enter personal details such as their email addresses and bank card or credit card numbers, they provide more value to hackers who may want to use ransomware to get money. In the UK, nearly half of all businesses have had a cyber attack, so it pays to use penetration testing.
Once the testing has been done and the flaws have been listed, website owners can act on them. This would involve closing any paths into accessing the website or app, installing new security features such as an SSL certificate and regularly checking the site for any new flaws that appear.
Testing can also spot any issues with website or app performance which may put customers off. By looking at different aspects of their online retail offering, businesses will be able to learn from past mistakes and give customers reassurance that their experience will be free from long waits and unexpected crashes.