News stories in the past have shown a history of large companies and public organizations that have been victims of data breaches. This kind of scandal damages consumer confidence, so even smaller businesses are now focused on taking measures to protect themselves.
For your company, failure to protect your customer information could lead to lost business and even lawsuits or regulatory fines. This is why you need to have the latest security standards in place to provide the highest level of protection. These safeguards will ensure that both you and your customers are protected against loss.
Below, you’ll find some basic security measures you need to have in place so that your customers’ data can stay safe and that your business can maintain its reputation and minimize financial loss.
1.Employ Basic Security Measures
The most important security measure you need to take is to make sure that every device you use to access customer data is protected from viruses and malware. This includes installing antivirus and antimalware software. The software should be updated regularly to reflect new security measures. This includes not just antivirus and related software protection, but also the operating system.
Your server and website should be protected with a firewall to prevent unauthorized user from accessing your customer’s data. Also, you should have your site periodically tested to identify any vulnerabilities that your current network security doesn’t cover.
Make sure you create a cyber-security policy which will outline best practices for online security including emergency protocols. If it’s not necessary for every employee to have access to customer data, make sure the policy identifies those who do.
The only safe data is encrypted data. Most PCI (payment card industry) companies like MasterCard and Visa require you to have certain security measures in place before they are willing to process your customer transactions. All card information must be encrypted so that even if it’s intercepted, it’s still useless to data thieves.
The best way to secure your website is by opting for a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate. A secure website’s URL will show up as an HTTPS rather than HTTP. This means that all communication between your customer’s browser and your website is encrypted. This will inspire more trust in your visitors.
3.Educate Your Employees
One of the best ways to support a secure environment is training your staff on security policies when it comes to handling sensitive customer information. Human error is a factor in 52 percent of data breaches. Your workers need to be reminded of possible consequences like identify theft and fraudulent charges if customer financial data is exposed.
Employees should be educated on the best practices for implementing strong passwords, minimal access permissions, transmitting sensitive information, and file sharing. Other crucial subjects include securing both digital and hardcopies, including proper methods of disposal. Employees should also be advised on reporting concerns such as unauthorized persons or suspicious emails.
Establish policies governing BYOD (bring your own device) issues for smartphone users. Employees that work from home or the field should never access sensitive data via never use public Wi-Fi networks. It’s risky to use these networks because they are not encrypted and a third party could easily gain access to your customers’ sensitive data.
4.Don’t Collect Data You Don’t Need
Any sensitive data that you keep on file represents a potential risk. Sensible steps should also be taken to protect historical or archived data. One of these measures is to avoid saving information that you don’t need.
You should set some time limits on how long sensitive information such as credit card numbers or verification values (CVV2 codes), PINs, and other payment data is kept. If data is no longer relevant, it should be purged from the system, archived to storage that isn’t attached to the network or deleted altogether.
Many companies find it beneficial to contract with a third-party payment processing company to handle transactions. The information is more secure since copies aren’t kept on your own servers, and a reputable card processor will have strict security measures in place. This is necessary to protecting their own reputations and clients. Be sure they have procedures in place for purging their own systems of outdated or redundant customer information.
In conclusion, it falls upon every company taking digital payments to safeguard customer information. You should have stringent security policies in place on your network, particularly when it comes to educating employees. Another alternative is to partner with an established payment processing company that can ensure sensitive transaction data is handled securely.