More business is done online than ever before, but that just means cybercriminals have many more chances to steal customer payment information and other sensitive data. Many online businesses live or die by their reputations, and nothing can damage a brand’s reputation faster than a data breach or compromised online payment from a customer (or many customers).
For your business to succeed and stay secure, you need to know how to protect online payments for your customers in more ways than one. Fortunately, we have seven – let’s take a closer look.
Start with a Secure Payment System
The best way to protect online payments for your customers in perpetuity is to always use a PCI-compliant, secure online payment system. The payment system you use determines:
- How secure an online payment is from the get-go, as well as whether you comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard
- Whether customers will trust your website or brand enough to make online purchases
Therefore, make sure you use a PCI-compliant system right from the start. It’s also a good idea to purchase SSL encryption for your website. SSL encryption encrypts all sensitive data shared between your site and shoppers or customers, minimizing the likelihood of data leaks or theft.
Merchants should use Gravity Payments, which offers in-store and online secure, PCI-compliant payment systems. It’s also a great solution if you need mobile payment hardware and software so you can accept transactions on the go.
Store Customer Data Securely
As many companies learned throughout 2022, cybersecurity principles and strategies must always evolve. One of the biggest cybersecurity lessons learned over the last few years is the importance of secure data storage. Your customers’ personal and financial information must be kept safe behind firewalls and away from public access points. Otherwise, it’s at a high risk of being stolen and used to commit identity fraud, either immediately or much later.
Don’t hesitate to back up customer data regularly, either. By backing up customer data, you can restore it to your systems in the event of a power outage or some other infrastructural failure.
The more secure your customer data is, the less likely you’ll be susceptible to a data breach or some other cyber attack. A strong reputation often leads to more customers, more purchases, and a higher overall engagement rate with your brand. Therefore, storing your customers’ data securely has lots of benefits, not just one.
Keep Software Up to Date
Naturally, you should keep all of your online security software up-to-date at all times. Your firewall is only effective if it has the modern, up-to-date antivirus definitions supplied by its manufacturer. Whenever a key piece of software needs an update, update it immediately. Don’t put it off until later; by the time later arrives, you could already be the victim of a data breach or some other cyber attack.
Require Strong Passwords and 2FA
Strong passwords are a cornerstone of digital security and for good reason. Many data breaches occur because passwords are easily guessable.
Your staff members should use strong passwords and 2FA or two-factor authentication. Strong passwords include those with multiple uppercase and lowercase letters, plus numbers and symbols so they are harder to guess.
In addition, enforce strong password and 2FA requirements among your customers. That way, they’ll be less likely to have their accounts breached from their browsers or computers, too.
Set Payment Limits
Payment limits could be wise means to protect online transactions for your brand overall. For example, you can set limits for the total number of purchases or the total dollar value that you’ll accept from an account in a single 24-hour timeframe.
By setting payment limits, you prevent cybercriminals with customers’ online information from stealing too much money at once. In this way, even if there is a cyber breach, you’ll be more likely to be alerted to it and you can minimize the damage before it gets out of hand.
Monitor All Transactions
Constant vigilance is a good policy in any security plan. To that end, try to monitor all the transactions that your business overseas and look for red flags, like larger than normal transactions, inconsistent billing or shipping information, and lots of small transactions made repeatedly over a few hours.
Furthermore, you should reconcile bank accounts every single day. Do this so you can keep a close eye on your business coffers and the balances of your clients. Again, by keeping an eye on all this information, you’ll be more likely to catch the signs of cybercrime if it ever affects your business.
Be Clear About Your Security Policies
There’s one more way in which you can protect online payments for your customers: be transparent. More specifically, you should be very clear about all your security policies and procedures upfront with every customer or client for your brand.
Include a “security policies” page on your website, or require customers to click through and accept your security procedures before making a transaction/putting an online payment through. This way, your customers understand how you store their data and why you have policies like payment limits. Customers oftentimes have questions about why businesses handle information the way they do.
If you are transparent about your policies and strategies, you’ll not only be more likely to get better customer compliance. You’ll also have higher customer trust, which translates to a better reputation and a more loyal customer base in many cases.
Ultimately, the best cybersecurity approaches are multifaceted and always evolving. After all, cybercriminals won’t use the same methods and techniques to acquire online payment information again and again. Keep abreast of modern cybersecurity concerns and do your best to keep customer information safe at all times. That’s the only way to ensure your business stays trusted for years to come.