This holiday season, you may experience the best sales of the year. People are shopping for unique gifts to bestow upon their loved ones and you might have exactly what they are looking for. You may be feeling a bit giddy at the thought of all the business you are about to bring in, but don’t let your excitement dull your sense of security.  

As more customers prepare to flock to your online storefront, you should be taking time to ensure that shoppers will be safe. Handing over their credit card number can be a bit nerve-wracking for some, and if your storefront isn’t secure, they are more likely to spend their money with your competition. We’ve put together a list of things you can do before the onslaught of shoppers to ensure their online payment security.  

 

  1. PCI-DSS Compliance

This is a collection of regulations that have been mandated by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. Any business that handles credit cards, either via acceptance or processing, must put tools in place to ensure that the data is secure. The same is said if you allow passengers to store their credit card data on your site for future use. 

 

  1. Skip the Storage

While you can certainly allow your customers to store their credit card information on your site, it may be better if you just don’t. It is estimated that 95 percent of credit card breaches arise from the hacking into small business networks or the mismanagement of data on the part ot the small business owner. If you don’t have an IT professional who can help you ensure that you are encrypting data properly and that your private network is incredibly secure, it just isn’t worth the risk to your customers. 

 

  1. Look for a Secure Platform

Even though federal regulations have been put in place, all eCommerce platforms are not made equal. Some simply don’t take online payment security as seriously as they should or as others do. When you are choosing an eCommerce platform, look for one that has great reviews and choose the most reputable.  

 

  1. Education Is Key

It should come as no surprise that a good number of data breaches are due to simple human error. Complying with regulations isn’t enough. Having the best security systems in place isn’t enough. If you and your employees aren’t aware of basic security measures and how to implement them, you are still putting your customers at risk. 

 

Make sure that your employees know that they should never leave devices or drives unattended. They should never click on unsolicited emails. They should never open attachments from people they aren’t sure of. These things may seem like common sense, but never assume that your employees are aware of these “rules” or even follow them consistently. 

 

  1. Firewalls

Let’s say that you have taken every precaution there is. You have an SSL certificate on your website and you have trained your employees on the latest security measures. You still may not safe. Every single stretch of your network, from your host to your server, is open to compromise. You need an excellent firewall solution to decrease any threats to your network or your customers. You should also install an IDS/IPS, or intrusion-detection systems/intrusion-prevention systems. These tools monitor your network for malicious traffic and effectively block it. 

 

  1. Take the Time to Update

It’s not enough to just install all the right tools. You have to keep them updated. If you don’t have things set to update automatically, you’ve got to do it manually with routine. As soon as you are made aware of a new update, download and install it immediately. Don’t drag your feet. Even if you do have updates scheduled to happen automatically, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are checking that these updates have occurred and you are running the latest version of all softwares you use for your business. 

 

  1. Understand Encryption and Tokenization

Chances are that if you are running a business with an eCommerce site, you aren’t an IT professional. Chances are also that you have at least heard of encryption, even if you don’t understand exactly how it works. You may not have heard of tokenization. Tokenization actually takes data away from a system, or removes it, and will replace that data with an associated value. Encryption, on the other hand, scrambles data.  

Encryption works well, but it can be reversed in the future by an enterprising hacker. When you utilize tokenization, the data cannot be reversed because it has been replaced. Whether you use both of these tools is up to you. An IT professional can help you decide which is best or if you need both. 

The holidays can be a great time of year for a small business, or they can ruin you. How? By setting your customers up for compromise and headache. If your customers input their credit card information into your website and it ends up being compromised, you can expect that you will be losing customers in the very near future. Use the tips above to help you ensure that your business is ready for the boom in customers.  

 

Company.com Can Help with Online Payment Security 

 No one has ever said that running a small business is easy. We understand that you wear so many hats that you may not know which to put on or when. Reach out to Company.com and let us show you how we can help your business run smoothly and free up some of your time. We have the tools, like secure payment processing platforms and tech support, that will ease the weight on your shoulders and allow you to concentrate on the things that really matter. Call our team today to learn more about how we can help you, or to start your free trial of our premium software package.