NordLayer - Network Security

eCommerce security issues tackled through secure access control

By NordLayer
10 Aug 2021
8 min read
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What is eCommerce security, and why is it so important?

Ecommerce security encapsulates all measures taken to protect vital business assets and keep data away from unauthorized or malicious hands. With a robust infrastructure to safely secure digital transactions that happen every day, eCommerce security has become critical to continuing everyday operations within the retail and eCommerce industry.

Without proper security measures, online retailers and their customers are at risk of falling victim to fraud, data breaches, and other such threats. Additionally, eCommerce security breaches impact the finances of a business and cause damage to company reputation and consumer brand trust.

Online operations have highlighted retail industry weaknesses

There has been a significant consumer shift to buying products and services online in the last decade or so. The rapid growth of the eCommerce industry came as a response to increased consumer demand for convenience and efficiency along every step of the purchase journey. Not to mention the overall consumer experience being enhanced through the integration of technology, facilitating your average shopper’s desire for instant gratification in the form of next-day delivery, one-click purchasing, and loyalty rewards for returning customers.

The shift has had a profound impact on the identity of the retail sector. Companies no longer rely so heavily on footfall within traditional brick and mortar sites, adapting their operations to a rapidly changing climate and embracing the world of eCommerce. Many businesses that dragged their feet initially began to struggle, highlighting just how vital online marketplaces (and the masses of customers flocking to them) are to the industry’s survival as a whole today.

A fact that is no more poignant than it has been during 2020.

While non-essential shops shut their doors indefinitely during the global lockdown, online marketplaces saw a meteoric surge in traffic. According to Spiralytics, Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, the number of US eCommerce transactions went up by 49% in 2020, compared to the period in early March before lockdown restrictions went into effect.

Online-first retailers were the true beneficiaries of this. Having already implemented the proper infrastructure to support the rising numbers of visitors to their marketplaces, they also introduced security measures to protect their now fully remote workforces. Comparatively, other companies scrambled to get their operations online and keep their employees safe while working remotely. Sudden, unavoidable changes like this inevitably create problems, and problems of this scale require immediate and robust solutions.

Common eCommerce Security Threats & Issues

Until recently, it’s fair to say that cybersecurity in eCommerce has been a secondary priority. A smooth buying experience and a user-centric approach are crucial for the success of online retailers. But too often these are at the expense of proper security measures that slow everything down — and place high demand on limited resources.

Cybercriminals have seized the opportunity to pursue vulnerable businesses — some 55% of all cyberattacks in the retail industry are initiated through these common attack vectors:

DDoS attacks

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are used against the retail sector because it’s easy for hackers to implement, and costly to target companies held to ransom — alternatively, they risk the release of sensitive customer data to the public.

Card fraud

Weaknesses in eCommerce sites are detected, and hackers retrieve card details once they’ve been breached — a successful vector as card fraud makes up 19% of all cyberattacks on online retailers.

Inventory denial

Restricting inventory to paying customers is a direct disruption to the eCommerce business model, damaging brand image, company reliability, and profits.


Cybercriminals target checkout pages and introduce malicious code to bounce customer card details directly back to them in a practice known as eSkimming — considered a modern day threat to eCommerce retailers in 2020, according to Security Intelligence.

At NordLayer, we believe a good step towards protecting the cloud and addressing such risks is implementing security solutions such as IP allowlisting (whitelisting). IP allowlisting acts like a gatekeeper to your network and cloud environment. It manages who has permission to access different areas of the cloud, solely based on an IP address.

Our IP allowlisting functionality and complimenting features such as two-factor authentication (2FA), and Single-Sign On (SSO) bolster highly recommended industry best practices, and work to make common eCommerce security issues far less daunting prospects to overcome.

Get a bespoke IP whitelisting solution today
Find out more

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What security measures can the industry take? 

There are many constant threats to resources that retailers are aware of — from new and advanced malware to malicious users targeting network vulnerabilities. Over 32% of all successful cyber attacks annually target the digital retail and eCommerce experience sectors. Companies with lacklustre security infrastructure and unregulated access to vital company assets and data provide fertile ground for cybercriminals to explore — increasing the risk of potentially costly data breaches.

Protection of company assets and customer data is a considerable challenge retail companies face. But for companies of all sizes, onboarding employees to a third-party solution such as NordLayer addresses many complex problems: 

  • Getting secure access to the cloud

  • Connecting to the company network securely (through unprotected public Wi-Fi connections)

  • Easily scaling teams with license transferability

  • Control over employee access permissions

  • Manageable through a centralized control panel

But why should retailers be bothered about IP allowlisting or secure access management for protection against online threats — and how serious can the dangers be? We’ve broken down some of the critical use cases in which our own NordLayer IP whitelisting solution has helped to strengthen business networks and regulate employee access to company assets — let’s take a look.

NordLayer can help bolster eCommerce security 

Protecting company resources

Today, consumers moving to online shopping in swathes and employees working remotely are now very much the norm. Access to assets and company resources are at a premium. Still, placing them in the wrong hands could compromise data security and expose sensitive information — intentionally or accidentally. Any potential leaks present quite a problem for retailers and eCommerce businesses.

NordLayer IP allowlisting solution is a form of identity access management (IAM), meaning secure access permissions are assigned and granted based solely on the user’s identity — taken straight from their IP address. IT admins can granulate access easily while viewing the whole network from a centralized Control Panel, making any suspicious activity very easy to detect. Adhering to the Zero-Trust model and going by the principle of ‘deny all and permit some’, we keep your company’s resources under digital lock and key — with only a trusted few holding copies of that key.

Scaling teams safely

Businesses will always face challenges when evolving — a large retail corporation transitioning to online operations, a smaller eCommerce company that's expanding in size, or even one that’s downsizing. Take eCommerce retailers, for example. Scaling your operations means hiring more employees and making sure they’re set up with the correct access permissions. You also have to keep them secure while they work in the company network, eCommerce cloud applications, and from remote locations.

Managing growth and maintaining complete security is too often a juggling act for retail business owners. That’s why with NordLayer, IT administrators can quickly assign or remove team member’s permission rights, and create private gateways through IP allowlisting. Meaning, all new employees that join any specific team can be enrolled within minutes using existing licenses, or new ones created through a centralized Control Panel.

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Protecting endpoints on the network

eCommerce retailers are online-first, by default. Entire teams of employees often switch between being on-site and working from remote locations as part and parcel of operations within the retail industry. Not to mention any contractors or freelancers also hired to work on a short-term basis. While some benefits come with having such a fluid workforce, vulnerabilities can arise with so many endpoint devices on the network. If they aren’t all properly protected, then the surface area for cyber attack is considerably widened.

To combat this, retail companies can acquire a shared IP address through a dedicated server, so that any unauthorized IP addresses automatically appear on the ‘disallow-list’, and all unknown entities are denied access to the network. In turn, employees and short-term contractors stay safe while working remotely, and can utilize their own devices if working in accordance with both remote and on-site BYOD policies. Our IAM solution, IP allowlisting, mitigates any risk of compromising the safety of the network.

Want to know more about our IP allowlisting solution?
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Securing customer data

Handling large volumes of customer data is a necessary practice for the retail and eCommerce sector. Vast amounts of online financial transactions occur every single day, and how that sensitive information is protected should be of the utmost importance to each company that is in operation. Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws came into effect in 2018, and forced many companies to evaluate their handling of personal information. Yet many retail organizations still haven’t implemented robust enough security measures, or find it increasingly challenging to ensure consistent protection for their customer’s data.

A recent Signifyd study showed that 62% of consumers are not confident about data security with eCommerce retailers — a pretty damning statistic. Through NordLayer’ IP allowlisting functionality, secure access management enables only a privileged few to access private data, thus preventing those without permission to see it or find it. By isolating the areas of the network with critical data, sensitive customer information is only accessible to high-level, trusted employees. Combined with our state-of-the-art AES-256 encryption that masks any transferred data between customer and business networks, you can be safe in the knowledge that your company is best placed to be GDPR compliant.

Integrating major cloud applications

Your employee, customer, and network security shouldn’t be a concern, whatever the requirements of your business. A simple and effective security solution should be easy and stress-free for you to set up and manage.

NordLayer requires no existing infrastructure and is deployable within minutes. It’s also fully compatible with the most commonly used cloud applications for business. eCommerce retailers can seamlessly integrate our zero-trust solution with the likes of Woocommerce and WordPress, giving you visibility and control over all employee activity on the cloud.

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