As a business owner, you understand the importance of protecting proprietary data. That includes the information collected during a transaction with a vendor or one of your customers. Choosing to incorporate the right type of measures into your overall data security strategy minimizes the odds of someone hacking into your company network and stealing credit card numbers, addresses, and other vital information. Here are some ideas that will help kick your security up a notch.
Many of your customers prefer to remit payments using credit or debit cards instead of cash. Choosing to invest in terminals that collect key information offers more than one benefit. For you, it’s easier to store vital information like purchase order numbers and other data that will apply from one order to the next. You’ll find that having more data results in a lower processing fee by the credit card companies.
Your customer benefits from the increased security protocols utilized for these custom terminals. Simply put, hackers will have a harder time accessing the information and being able to make sense of any of it. Many merchant providers who offer these more details processing options are happy to explain how the data is encrypted and protected from the second that it’s entered into the system.
Along with the brick and mortar locations your company operates, there’s your online store to consider. It’s not enough to have a site that’s easy to navigate and a shopping cart that is simple and quick to fill. The way that payments are processed must also be secure and come with several levels of protections.
That’s where the idea of investing in a hosted pay page comes into the picture. A provider hosts a page of this type, complete with the latest in online security protections. In order to make the experience for your customers seamless, the page is customized to have a look that’s similar to your online store. When they prepare to check out and leave your site for the hosted pay page, it will be just like they are going to another page on your site.
Like other methods, it’s possible for repeat customers to save data instead of having to enter it every time they make a purchase. What is different is that the data is saved on the provider’s server instead of being tucked away somewhere in your network.
Using this approach, you never have to worry about a security breach that affects your website or the servers at your brick and mortar locations also causing problems for your customers. Their information is safely residing on a server that a hacker cannot breach without initiating a whole new attack. In the interim, the system failsafe options will shut down access and keep it under wraps until the security breach is resolved.
As the owner, your login credentials allow you to access every type of data found on your server or hosted by a partner. Employees also have login credentials that allow them to access specific kinds of data, typically whatever is directly related to their job tasks. This approach does increase security in terms of protecting the data from internal as well as external threats.
While that’s great, take a moment and review your current policies and procedures related to passwords and user names. When was the last time those passwords were updated? Is it necessary for every authorized user to create a password that includes numbers as well as letters, or requires the inclusion of at least one capital letter? Are all users automatically prompted to update their passwords after they’ve used the same information for a certain number of weeks or months?
If you are having trouble answering any of those questions or are not happy with the answers, it’s time to make some changes. Hackers have access to programming that is capable of generating all sorts of letter and number combinations in a short amount of time. The hope is to find a combination of user name and password that’s active.
Choosing to require updates to passwords on a recurring basis complicates things for those data thieves. As you and your employees get more creative with those passwords, the task of finding a functional combination becomes harder for hackers. While there may be some inconvenience involved in having to think of a new password now and then, that will be nothing compared recovering after your company data has been compromised.
Attacks to your business network, including programs that contain financial and other important data, can come from any number of sources. Your best bet is to invest in and maintain software designed to detect viruses and other forms of malicious software. That includes tracking software that may or may not provide hackers with access to what your customers buy and how often they visit the site.
Remember that purchasing and installing the software is not enough. You also want to check for updates regularly and make sure they are installed. If your network remains up around the clock, it’s possible to set the protection software so that updates are automatically downloaded and installed at a convenient time. For example, your brick and mortar site is closed at 10:00 p.m. and you see little to no traffic on your website between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Setting the software to automatically update during that time frame ensures you are always ready for whatever new threats have emerged. During the day, you can deal with other business matters without having to pause and update your protection.
All it takes is one data breach to create a world of headaches for you and anyone who does business with your company. Along with the need to stop the unauthorized use of the harvested data as quickly as possible, there’s the damage that the breach does to your reputation. Talk with an expert in data security and learn more about how specific strategies would work as part of your particular business structure. In the long run, the investment in the best measures will more than justify the initial cost.