E-commerce is a rapidly growing channel for selling a range of products and services in the United States. Many innovative companies such as Trueform are successfully reaching their customer base via e-commerce either instead of or in addition to a brick-and-mortar store. However, there are many inherent risks to e-commerce for customers, suppliers, and sellers in the supply chain. Cyber-crime is a growing problem for many companies as they work to secure their e-commerce store. Customers don’t want to risk identity theft or viruses when shopping online.
Inherent Dangers of E-Commerce
The U.S. Government is well aware of the inherent dangers of doing business on the internet, and they are taking several actions to support and protect e-commerce in the country. The General Services Administration in conjunction with the Office of Management and Budget reported in May on progress for the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. As part of this report, the GSA reiterated the goal of raising the Micro-Purchase Threshold (MPT) from $10,000 to $25,000. But while the increase is desirable, it may cause conflict with many counterfeit, cybersecurity, and supply chain risk concerns of both the government and government contractors. As part of reaching these goals, the GSA along with agency heads will analyze and report on issues regarding:
- Supply chain risks for certain product categories
- An assessment of product categories that are suitable for purchase on the commercial e-commerce portals
- An assessment of the precautions necessary to safeguard federal information especially precautions necessary to protect against national security or cybersecurity threats.
These security risks are problems for both commercial and government entities requiring that protections are in place all along the supply chain to guard against cyber threats and counterfeit goods. However, it’s not GSA’s role to solve all the security issues that may occur with purchasing agencies.
Reducing Risks for Online Transactions
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reports that seizures of counterfeit goods has increased 120% since 2008. 90% of seizures have involved international mail, primarily from the increase of e-commerce. Congress has introduced legislation to address the counterfeit merchandise, source code reporting, and supply chain risks. The president has also issued an executive order barring certain transactions involving communication and information technology with adversaries or that pose a risk to national security. The government takes its role in protecting the marketplace very seriously to promote a level playing field.