Written by Guest Writer: Lindsey Patterson
With eCommerce expanding and nearly every consumer checking a search engine for products and services first, your business needs a secure way to accept and protect customer online credit card payments. A breach in this information security can cost your customers thousands and possibly force you to close up shop forever. To set up the best protection for online payments possible, it is important to focus on cybersecurity, physical security and employee training in these areas.
5 Ways to Protect Customer’s Online Credit Card Payments
Secure Your IT Environment
Not every business can afford a full-time cybersecurity expert to ensure that the company’s Information Technology environment is protected, but you can find the right partner company to help beef up your security in key areas. Many IT security firms will have already vetted payment platforms, processing partners and even Infrastructure as Code platforms, such as Pulumi or Terraform, so you can be secure in the knowledge that your transactions and data are protected. Train employees on the proper use of passwords as well as both personal and business devices to prevent malicious actors from gaining easy access.
Verify Protected Payment Methods
Online payment methods range in protection for you and for your customers, so it is important to research which ones are most secure and have a verification protocol in place. Debit and credit card use is regulated by Payment Card Industry compliance standards and transactions using these cards are some of the most secure. Digital wallets, where to verify purchases, are another secure payment method. Verification of online payments is usually done through your online shopping platform or payment processing partner, but it is important that you know what methods are used to authenticate a purchase. Many sales platforms use the three-digit security code on the back of credit or debit cards to verify the physical presence of the card, digital wallets will use a fingerprint or PIN on the customer’s mobile device, and wire transfers can use customer banking.
Choose the Right Data Storage
Using a third-party digital data storage company can be one of the easiest ways to increase the protection of your customer’s information as well as the security of your IT environment. These data firms are built around cyber and physical security, encryption of data, and the protected transfer of information. They can also offer a buffer between your company and customer damages if a breach should occur.
Physical data storage, such as on-site filing cabinets, needs to be addressed if you keep payment information on hand such as credit card authorization or employee direct deposit forms. It is important to shred these documents when no longer needed and to immediately file them in a locked cabinet after use. Having policies and procedures in place for the physical and digital storage of information can help keep your company safe, especially when your employees are well-trained on these policies and have signed documents acknowledging the consequences of violating them.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
The use of two-factor authentication for your company’s accounts ensures that payments are better protected, and it is a good idea to encourage this layer of security for your customers as well. With two-factor authentication, you can use a fingerprint scan in conjunction with a PIN or password to authorize payments or even to unlock doors or computers. Mobile wallets with this feature often ask users to type in a PIN or the card’s security code and then touch the device’s fingerprint scanner, but other methods can include texting a code to a number on file, entering the password for an email account or answering a security question.
Remember Physical Location Security
Ultimately, your digital security is only as good as your physical security. If you have all the newest and best cybersecurity tools at your disposal, but leave your doors unlocked and your computer password stuck to the monitor, then malicious actors can access all of your data and that of your customers. Some sound advice is to keep your important files in a locked cabinet or fire-resistant safe and have a locking door for your file room. It is also important to limit and monitor physical keys for business doors as well as change relevant codes and retrieve keys when personnel leave your employment. Security systems with alarms and cameras can be linked to your cybersecurity systems and many firms will offer monitoring of all these systems.
Efforts to protect online customer credit card payments are evolving alongside eCommerce, making it easier for you to find the right cybersecurity tools for secure online transactions. Once you have your physical and IT environments secure, you can find the right payment platforms as well as verification and authentication protocols to keep data safe from malicious actors while keeping up with the speed of business.