Perceived vs. Actual Security – Get The Best of Both With Trustmarks

Sometimes you just get that feeling—whether it has to do with betting ‘all in’ during a game of Blackjack or visiting a sketchy website when shopping online—there’s definitely something to be said about listening to your intuition.

With the number of data breaches and online scams on the rise, more and more shoppers are going to rely on that little voice when deciding whether or not to shop at certain web stores. Consumers need to be reassured that whenever an online entity asks for personal details like credit card or billing information, it will be kept safe and confidential.

This fact rings especially true for new eCommerce merchants, who don’t have the luxury of a long-standing brand history to help convince consumers that their site is safe. Businesses today must take some crucial steps to show that their site is trustworthy and secure, so that visitors will feel sufficiently comfortable purchasing goods.

Below, we discuss the nature of perceived security versus actual security and how trustmarks can provide the best of both.

Perceived Security

Most shoppers may not actually be certain of the actual security of a website, and so they instead rely on their intuition to guide them. If a particular online store looks poorly designed or otherwise suspicious, many people will simply avoid it all together regardless of whether or not that’s actually the case. Your site may be losing potential customers because it doesn’t have any indicators proving otherwise.

Perceived security is a huge factor in the success of online retail stores—especially for those who fall into the small to medium category. It is essential for merchants to take that additional step and provide assurance to new visitors, who may have doubts regarding the security of your business.

Appearance is worth its weight in gold in the online world and shoppers must be able to trust your site from the moment they hit the homepage. Making sure your site is professional and clean will go a long way toward gaining consumer confidence.

Actual Security

So, while we’ve discussed what it takes to get customers to THINK that your site is safe, it’s crucial to employ the right security measures and make it so.

In order to guarantee that your business is actually secure, merchants need to start with backend security basics like Firewalls and Web application protection. These protocols will ensure that your eCommerce environment is protected from application-level attacks like SQL injections (Structured Query Language) and cross-site scripting (XSS).

Additionally, merchants today need to take it a step further and actively scan for threats and/or vulnerabilities within their site. According to the most recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 75 percent of attacks in 2012 were considered opportunistic, with 78 percent rated as low difficulty. One way to nip meeting the same fate in the bud is to utilize vulnerability scanning and additional services to help discover weaknesses you may have otherwise missed.

While it’s one thing to make sure your site looks legitimate, it’s another thing to ensure that it actually is. Failing to provide website security leaves your online store vulnerable to hackers, and in the event you are breached, your perceived reputation will go right out the window.

Best of Both

Where backend security is the muscle that stands between your site and lurking cybercriminals, perceived security is what gives customers the assurance to shop there. Incorporating trustmarks is one of the best ways to not only give consumers the piece of mind that it’s safe to shop—but also make it a reality.

Trustmarks prove that you are a legitimate organization, who abides by certain security or privacy regulations. If you know your site is secure, then show it by displaying one or multiple varieties on key pages like the homepage and checkout. As we have discussed in previous posts, there are four basic types of trustmarks, each serving a unique purpose and/or securing different aspects of a website.

The McAfee SECURE™ trustmark helps address both perceived and actual security concerns by combining the McAfee SiteAdvisor® software with comprehensive daily security vulnerability scanning to protect retailers against data thieves, and the trustmark has been proven to increase site conversion by making risk-averse or risk-conscious shoppers comfortable on your website.

Building trust is one of the core foundations of any business, and when it comes to eCommerce, trust is vital to success. Don’t just let consumers go with their gut, demonstrate that you are taking the necessary steps toward keeping your site and their data secure.

Visit our website for more information on how the McAfee SECURE™ trustmark can improve trust and sales conversions through comprehensive daily security scans. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @McAfeeSECURE for the latest in eCommerce news and events.


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