3 simple tips for running a secure online shop

Do you have an online store, a webshop as we call it in the Netherlands? Then invest time in your online security, advises security expert Marc van Vliet. There were almost 78,000 online shops registered in the Netherlands in 2022. That is twice as many as in 2018. “This rapid growth is quite worrying, because not every webshop has its security in order.” Read on to discover Van Vliet’s 3 tips to protect your webshop against digital threats.

What are the consequences of being hacked?

Marc van Vliet is a security advisor at Perfect Day. He’s worked for years in e-commerce and knows the online dangers from experience. According to Van Vliet, the consequences of a hack can be significant. “Your webshop is suddenly offline, hackers change your product prices or bank details, or there are suddenly nasty messages on your site. And it can even get worse. The email traffic of one of our customers was hacked. Criminals emailed payment requests to customers. The customers then unknowingly paid the criminals and not the webshop. Try getting that money back to the customer.”

Is your website unsafe or at risk?

Your webshop can be unsafe in several ways without you knowing, Van Vliet warns. “Consider the WooCommerce platform from WordPress. This is safe to use, but I see that many entrepreneurs forget to run software updates.” Cybercriminals then hack your webshop via a vulnerability in the outdated software version. With other platforms, privacy is a point of attention: “Wix and Shopify store your data, for example, in countries such as the US or Canada.” This is complicated (in Dutch) according to the Dutch GDPR privacy law.

Consider the dangers of phishing

As a webshop owner, you are also vulnerable to phishing emails, according to Van Vliet. “You count on getting messages from customers, often with photos, for example, because a product is broken. Another company may not even open an email with attached photos. But a webshop expects them, so they click to open the photos. Such an attachment can contain malware or a virus, that a criminal can use to shut down your webshop.”

3 tips for better online security

What can you do to make your webshop more secure? Van Vliet has 3 tips: 

  1. Check what customer data you have. “Many entrepreneurs do not realise how much customer data they actually have, or where they store it. Once you consider that, you will know where to start with security. And do not ask for too much data from your customers. You do not need a date of birth to send a mouse pad.” You don’t have to protect customer data you do not have.
  2. “Give your employees individual user accounts with unique passwords.” With a shared account and password, a malicious or careless employee is more likely to cause damage.
  3. “Secure your contact form with a captcha (in Dutch). This is a test with which a customer proves that they are human.” You can expect more spam and phishing emails if you do not secure your contact form properly. If you get fewer of those phishing emails, you are probably less likely to click on an infected link.

Better safe than sorry

According to Van Vliet, it is worth investing more time in your security. “Think about your bike. It takes time to double-lock it. But you do this because otherwise your bike will be stolen. And how much time and money would you spend buying a new bike? The same applies to your webshop. What will it cost you if things go wrong?” 


What risks do you run as an entrepreneur and what should you pay attention to? Read all about secure business operations.