Hackers have become more inventive over the past years. Cybercriminals may go to great lengths to infiltrate victims’ websites in order to siphon off money or private information and potentially damage impacted companies’ reputations with their customers.
In 2015 alone, there were 160 data breaches that involved credit card and debit card numbers from almost a million customers. Identity theft and credit and debit card fraud is serious stuff, and a company which exposes customers to such risks will, in turn, risk losing them.
Customers appreciate a company who puts effort into keeping them safe. Customers will be more likely to frequent a business where they know they can securely transact. That is why it is vital for retailers to treat data security seriously. The following tips can help keep your business and customer base more secure:
Businesses should invest in the best
First of all, retailers should invest in quality payment processing systems. A payment processing system allows for payment methods in addition to cash.
However, businesses must take into consideration that not all payment processing systems are equal. Some fare better than others, and these are the ones in which you should invest. Look for services that have features you are looking for and that promise (and do as they promise) to keep the payment information you obtain from customers secured. Invest in a payment processing system that shows you and your customers that they are safe doing business with you.
Protect customers’ payment information
Using the payment processing systems, you are able to collect the payment needed in exchange for your merchandise or services. Payments are tied to customer information that allows you to track which payment or transaction is which. This payment information is stored and should be secured.
To help keep payment information secure, you can opt for data encryption or tokenization. Data encryption uses an algorithm and an encryption key to scramble information into unreadable, scrambled characters and symbols called ciphertext. The ciphertext is what will be stored so that even if hackers are able to infiltrate your payment processing system, they will get meaningless and useless information. Only with the encryption key can the information be unscrambled so it is vital that it be safeguarded at all costs.
On the other hand, tokenization refers to the use of payment tokens, or a substitute to the customer payment information so that it is kept secure. Furthermore, it is impossible to trace the reference information outside the tokenization system. In case of infiltration, hackers can only get the stored tokens, and not the actual customer payment information.
Both encryption and tokenization can provide the needed level of security to keep customer payment information safe, but for even better security, using them together is a good option.
Protect your website against data breaches
Payment processing systems can be both for physical stores and for e-commerce. To keep online transactions safe, you must also protect your website from hackers. Point-of-entry security and secure sockets layer (SSL) can help better protect your website from data breaches.
Point-of-entry security refers to securing information as soon as it’s been received. Payment information must be encrypted or tokenized before it is stored.
SSL is an internet security protocol which validates the identity of any site or server. With an SSL, there is a secured link between a web server and a web browser so that all information between them remains secured.
Improve customer experience as assurance
You have done your part in keeping your customers safer and more secure. But these measures are not visible to them. For customers to actually feel safe, you must reassure them through their experience (may it be for a physical or online store) that you are doing your duty in keeping them safe from identity theft and fraud.
Also, make certain your customers are aware that they have a responsibility to keep their payment information safe by doing things like not saving their information on a public computer or ensuring that they are using a secured site.
Knowledge is power – this is true for both you and your customers. It is important that you know how to keep your customers safe and that they understand how you’re doing so. Always remember, the ultimate customer experience is a safe one.
With these tips, you can make your business more secure. A business that protects its customers and their information will be truly be rewarded with a loyal client base.
About the author
Alex Trinidad is a risk and security advocate in one of the world’s leading cybersecurity solutions. She has committed to providing valuable information on the importance of cybersecurity through diverse topics on security solutions like endpoint security for enterprise, internet security suites, mobile device security and a lot more.