One of the most attractive aspects of ecommerce from a buyer’s perspective is that of convenience; total armchair shopping with little or no stress involved and the majority of online payment transactions processed quickly, efficiently and generally trouble free. The phenomenal growth rate of online purchasing has seen website shopping carts become as familiar to buyers as their favourite pair of old slippers.
However, there is a universally recognised rule is that for every pro there is usually a con, and the world of ecommerce is not exempt from that rule. Any type of online process or system that is capable of taking payment via credit card is open to abuse by the more unscrupulous and devious elements that haunt the Internet. It is also important to remember that it’s not only credit card transactions that are under threat. Hacking into programmes that hold personal information such as bank account numbers, names and addresses etc, is another area that has a vast income potential for those who would use the information illegally.
Ecommerce security is more a case of prevention rather than cure, and to this end designers are constantly developing new and innovative anti-intrusion solutions into their ecommerce programmes. The use of highly sophisticated encryption software and secure servers are just a couple of the numerous methods employed to keep the uninvited out. And although it’s true to say that at present no system can be guaranteed to be one hundred percent secure or fool proof, today’s rapid advances in software and technology certainly seems to be heading in the right direction.
Despite the occasional horror story about Internet scams and deceptions, online transactions generally remain quite safe, and with many credit card suppliers and major banks now offering to underwrite any financial losses suffered by a buyer as a result of online fraud, an enormous boost of confidence has spread through the ecommerce sector because of what businesses and buyers now see as a win-win situation. However, it shouldn’t mean that the issue of online security has suddenly become a lower priority, and both groups should be very careful of becoming complacent.
Ecommerce is here to stay, and for many it’s already second nature when it comes to shopping. Others may need some more convincing that their money and personal details will remain safe should they ever decide to buy something online. It’s a reasonable and understandable fear, and because of the business world’s ever growing demand for shopping cart capabilities, it’s perhaps the designers themselves that more than most are aware that if their systems instil user-confidence, ecommerce will continue to grow successfully and safely.
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John Sheridan is a professional proofreader of hard copy items and website copy. He also writes web copy and occasionally accepts small copy-editing assignments. He can be contacted via: http://www.textcorrect.co.uk