As a merchant or business owner, secure transactions are key to the trusting relationships you build with your customers. Your customers want to trust that you will keep their cardholder information secure and free from any theft or fraud.
You will want to ensure that nothing is compromised in regards to your customers, because your brand and business could be at stake should anything happen.
This sounds challenging and complicated; however, the process of ensuring every transaction is secure is as simple as implementing these five steps:
- Be PCI Compliant. You want to start with making sure everything about your processing environment aligns with the requirements developed and overseen by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), which formed in 2006 to help keep cardholders and businesses safe from data breaches and other criminal activity related to payment and personal data. The requirements are straightforward actions to take when dealing with your customers’ data. You can work with a payment processing company that will work with you to ensure you are PCI compliant. To educate yourself and help make your team aware of what is involved, you can visit the PCI website to get a wealth of information.
- Add Layers of Security Technology. Although this can require some investment on your part, you can research payment processing companies that offer the most advanced technology available and leverage these features by partnering with them. Some of the most important security layers to add or look for include data encryption technology, which serves as protection from hackers who might be able to crack passwords and steal the data. Other types of security you can consider include two-step authentication, biometrics, and geo-location security filters.
- Secure the Login Screen Process. The login screen and system is one of the most vulnerable aspects of a payments system. Hackers have found this an ideal place to get sensitive information quickly. If a customer forgets their password, make sure you have a system that asks them to enter a username or email address in order to retrieve it. With the link to their email, which a hacker most likely will not be able to access, they can temporarily sign in and create a new password while maintaining a secure process.
- Continually update the operating system and all software used. Hackers have been able to practice on outdated versions of software and computer operating systems and have figured out their vulnerabilities. However, with anything that has just been updated, they need time to study, so think of these regular updates as one way to stay a few steps ahead of the criminals. The best approach is to just sign up for automatic updates to your operating system and software in case you are too busy and forget to update it otherwise.
- Undertake a regular security assessment. Payment security consulting firms can conduct assessments of your payment system each year, testing it with various tools, including the use of ethical hacking, to look for vulnerabilities like unencrypted data, wireless security, network security and more. It is well worth the investment to have an expert review your system and provide recommendations on improvement. If you are partnering with a payment processing company, they should let you know if they are having these assessments done each year in order to provide their customers with the most secure payment system possible.
These five ways are efficient, easy to do, and require very little outlay of money to do them. In return, you have a fortified payments system that makes you and your customers feel more confident that each transaction is secure. While there are many other strategies to help you secure all transactions, these five steps provide a comprehensive framework to be vigilant and proactive in protecting all data involved in payments.