We are in unprecedented times. COVID-19 has arrested the world, and the volume of today’s digital migration is rapidly accelerating.

The “new normal” is challenging for everyone, but e-commerce is facing the challenge of hyper digitization. Their teams are remote, customers are remote, and they’re leaning heavily into whatever digital presence they’ve created for their small businesses. Unfortunately, more online activity means more opportunity for cyber attacks, human error, and everything else that can take down a website in minutes.

COVID-19 has surfaced two of the major difficulties of e-commerce: veteran merchants that can’t afford any downtime, and new players moving online without much experience. Customers and potential customers are more online than ever, which makes protecting your web presence more important than ever.

In this guide, we’re going to review the potential risks to an e-commerce store, and how you can improve your digital security to meet the challenges COVID-19 has created.

The Challenges

Increased Activity

According to the World Economic Forum, COVID-19 has pushed internet use up by 50 percent. More activity in your e-commerce store should be a good thing, but a lack of preparation can mean disaster. Servers can crash, pages can overload, and your site can shut down completely.

Assumed Protection

Many business owners believe they can rely on their platform of choice to protect their data in a disaster scenario. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. These platforms protect themselves, but are under no obligation to protect individual user data.

That logic is based on the “Shared Responsibility Model” whereby platforms are obligated to protect the structure of your e-commerce store or data, but do not secure account-level data such as your website theme, product information, customer lists, or even blog content.

Cyber Security

When countries implement a state of emergency or “stay at home order,” a spike in cyber crime has closely followed. In the UK alone, digital fraud cases increased by 400% just in the month of March according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). Before this crisis, 43% of all cyber attacks were already aimed at small businesses.

Unfortunately, many business owners don’t have the necessary backups and business continuity plans to deal with a disaster scenario or cyber attack. Some business owners assume that their e-commerce providers (Shopify, BigCommerce, etc.) provide security measures for them, some don’t have the time or resources to implement a backup strategy, and some are simply unaware of the risk.

Having an air-tight backup strategy is crucial to planning for a disaster scenario and for recovering your e-commerce store.

What you can do

Broadly, protecting your online data requires “Business Continuity Planning.” This planning involves creating systems of prevention and recovery to protect your business from harm, and recuperate when data breaches happen.

There are three major ways that business owners can take proactive measures to protect their data.

1.    Manual Backups

Manually backing up your data involves downloading CSV files of everything you want to protect in a disaster scenario. That could be your product information, customer lists, order histories, and everything in between. Make sure you organize and encrypt all files. This style of backup can get messy without proper management.

You’ll also want to do this after every change to your site. This is what’s known as creating a “version history” of your e-commerce store. By saving every change, business owners don’t have to worry about making mistakes or going “all-in” on a new theme. If you don’t like it, you can revert back to the new one. However, this is a time consuming process.

2.    Create a backup solution

Those with some technical experience or a development team can build their own backups. This requires an adept knowledge of APIs (application programming interfaces), how they speak to one another, and how the code from these software companies can be used.

If you have the resources and knowledge to pull this off, creating your own backup solution is a great strategy for business continuity. Keep in mind that your team will need to be vigilant. The SaaS platforms change their APIs and platforms constantly. Teams need to test and update their solutions regularly. If you’re the team, this could be a bit too much to handle given everything else you need to do.

3.    Automate with a third-party

The most efficient backup strategy is to work with a third party. There are platforms that do this full-time, and have the knowledge and expertise to ensure your e-commerce site is secure and prepared for everything.

Not only that, but these providers automate what can be a very manual and tedious process for business owners to do themselves. There’s no manual work, and no need to pay an entire team of developers to do in months what a third party solution is committed to do full time.

While that all sounds great, make sure you do your research. These solutions vary widely on price, service offerings, features, scalability, and more. So, try to find the one that best suits your current business and your goals.

An automated backup solution compatible with Shopify, BigCommerce, Quickbooks Online,WooCommerce, etc. can help your small business take a proactive cloud backup strategy. Click here to discover why Rewind is trusted by some of the world’s fastest growing brands to automate their backups and offer a painless recovery.

Mike Potter is the cofounder and CEO of Rewind.

Covid-19 backup stock photo by