While there are huge benefits of selling online
for both businesses and consumers, it is also a fact that, with the increase in digital transactions, there has come a marked rise in the number of hackers
who are trying to break into business computers and accounts in order to crash systems, hold information for ransom, and get access to sensitive customer data.
As a business owner or manager, it is your responsibility to do everything within your power to ensure this doesn’t happen. Read on for some key ways you and your team can go about protecting client details from hackers.
Choose a Secure Merchant Services Firm
First up, it’s important to choose a secure merchant services firm to handle all your online transactions. By outsourcing this process, you not only ensure customer details aren’t handled or stored in-house, where they can get lost or stolen; but you also get to take advantage of the numerous checks and balances which payment providers have in place for digital transactions.
There are numerous things to think about and look for when selecting a credit card and other payment processor. For example, start by asking the firms on your shortlist about what types of security measures they have in place to protect customer data. It is best to choose a company that uses complex encryption algorithms which are difficult for cybercriminals to hack; and that ensures all transmitted data between businesses, banks, customers, and the merchant is encrypted.
It also pays to look for a provider that has security protocols such as CVV2 verifications and limits on how data can be sent and stored online, and that is set up to handle even the highest-level SSL certificates. It’s also helpful to choose a firm that provides secure virtual merchant
credit card and other types of payment processing. This way, you can accept all sorts of payment types, including those which customers choose to make over the phone on an automated payment system or via a point-of-sale machine, in a secure manner.
Install Security Software and Firewalls
Next, don’t forget to think about the security practices you can look after internally. For example, all the computers and systems you use in your business should be protected with security software and firewalls. These steps will help to stop viruses and malware from getting onto your computers and into your systems, and leading hackers to being able to access any type of customer data.
When choosing a security software product, look for something which is as comprehensive as possible. You want it to protect your devices from ransomware, malware, spyware, spam, and viruses, and to block any potentially dangerous emails that come in.
As for firewalls, these are also important because they act as a primary barrier against hackers who try to get into your systems via the internet. While most computers these days come with firewalls already pre-installed on them, be mindful of the fact that these protective systems aren’t always automatically activated.
As such, you need to make sure you check the settings on your computers to see what their status is. If you don’t have a built-in firewall, or want something that’s more comprehensive, you will find many third-party products available to choose from online or in stores.
Keep Systems and Passwords Updated
Something else that’s key in terms of business security is keeping your devices and passwords updated so that hackers find it very difficult to get into any of your systems or data. Remember to regularly update the security software and firewalls you install on your computers, as well as all of the plugins, browsers and apps that you and your team use.
Developers of products are always on the lookout for security holes and will find ways to plug them as soon as they can. In order for you to take advantage of this service though, you must only ever use the most up-to-date versions of products. Even if you have only just purchased a new computer or tablet, you should still check to see if there are any updates available, as these could have been released since your product was manufactured.
To enjoy optimum data security, you must also ensure that you and your employees use comprehensive passwords on all devices and on all websites where you have to login with sensitive information. The codes should be updated around every eight to 12 weeks if you want to truly keep hackers at bay, and they should be a minimum of eight characters and be made up of a mixture of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and symbols. It helps to put specific security guidelines in place for your workers too, so that they know what they need to do personally to keep the business and customers protected.