How Secure Is Your B2B Website?

Website security is paramount for any eCommerce, but for B2B organisations it can make the difference between success and failure. While other B2C eCommerce businesses can rebrand if they have a security breach, in the closely networked industries that compromise online B2B chains, simply showing a new face post-security violation is insufficient. 

If you fail to protect your clients and your business from an attack, the consequences can be dire, leading to:

  • Customer push back and reduced lead-generation.
  • A failure to close sales.
  • Diminished trust and loyalty from long-standing clients.
  • Loss of sales and performance in the long-term.
  • Complaints from partners who you have failed to protect.

The key is to focus on security before you have to think about the consequences. There are different ways that you can make your site secure. Combining more than one strategy is also possible. The most important thing for your business is making sure that you are offering your online clients the most professional and secure experience possible.

Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can secure your site, and protect your business online.

Open or closed source code?

Deciding whether to use an open-source or closed source code is often a financial decision rather than a practical one. Open source is easier to edit and find support for and often free. However, it’s a broad application also means that it is easier to hack as many people are familiar with the code used. The Equifax Data Breach in 2017 that exposed the personal information of 147 million people was settled in 2020 for up to US$425 million to help people affected by the data breach.

Closed source code is more costly, however, you are better able to protect your website from hacking. The other disadvantage is software updates, which again makes keeping your system more costly, but better protected.

No code is invulnerable to attack. Persistent hackers will always find a hole in code and breach it if that is their goal. The best answer to which code to use is best answered on a case-by-case basis by an eCommerce website security specialist.

Single sign-on solutions

Single sign-on solutions (SSO) make it easy for you to secure your site with changing passwords which improve security strength standards. You need to do all that you can to minimise the risk of human error, so be sure to look to implement a single sign-on process.

With SSO, the application or website that the user is trying to access relies on a trusted third party to verify that users are who they say they are.

There are various types of SSO Configurations, including:

Kerberos Authentication 

Kerberos is a client-server authentication protocol that allows mutual authentication. The user and the server verify each other’s identity over non-secure network connections.

  • Initial sign-on prompts the user for credentials, and gets a Kerberos ticket-granting ticket (TGT).
  • Additional software applications requiring authentication, such as email clients, wikis, and revision-control systems, use the ticket-granting ticket to acquire service tickets, proving the user’s identity to the mail server/wiki server/etc. without prompting the user to re-enter credentials.

Smart-card-based Authentication

A smart card is a secure microcontroller that is typically used for generating, storing and operating on cryptographic keys. Users of smart-card enabled devices elect to connect their smart card to a host computer. Software on the host computer interacts with the keys and other secrets stored on the smart card to authenticate the user.

A user-PIN is issued to the user to unlock their device. Smart cards are considered a very strong form of authentication because cryptographic keys and other secrets stored on the card are very well protected both physically and logically, and are, therefore, extremely hard to steal.

Integrated Windows Authentication

Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA) uses the security features of Windows clients and servers. Initially, it does not prompt users for credentials. The current Windows user information on the client computer is supplied by the web browser through a certificate exchange involving hashing with the Web server. If the authentication exchange initially fails to identify the user, the web browser will request the user for credentials.

Security Assertion Markup Language 

Security Assertion Markup Language Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is a standard for logging users into applications based on their sessions in another context. This single sign-on (SSO) login standard has significant advantages over logging in using a username/password:

  • No need to type in credentials
  • No need to remember and renew passwords
  • No weak passwords
  • Most organizations already know the identity of users because they are logged in to their Active Directory domain or intranet.

Virtual Private Network

Working with a virtual private network (VPN) is almost a requirement for B2B operators. The solution helps to ensure a strong security system making it harder for people to get into the back-end of your system.

Users and partners who are familiar with VPN security are more likely to partner with an online business that uses this solution as it encrypts all the data that you share, making your exchanges private and secure.