When customers purchase products from your business using their credit card, debit card or checking account information they are trusting you with some of their most sensitive information. Unfortunately, there are individuals that are constantly working on methods to steal that sensitive information for their benefit, at great risk to you and your customers. According to the National Cybersecurity Institute, there are many negative outcomes for companies when their data has been breached. For instance, their reputation is negatively affected resulting in a loss of sales. A survey conducted by semafone, found that 86% of respondents would be unlikely to continue doing business with a company that failed to protect their credit card information against a data breach.
As a small to medium size business owner, you may be thinking that if Target and other big retailers have failed to protect customer data how can you with limited resources succeed where they failed. However, many of these data breaches can be traced back to a failure of these companies to comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) Standards that exposed these companies and their customers’ data to hacking. A key aspect of complying with PCI standards is protecting customers’ data. Below are several tips that can safeguard you against a credit card data breach.
- Use only credit card terminals and equipment that are PCI compliant.
- Never store credit card track data (information contained in the magnetic strip on the back of the credit card) or card security numbers.
- All electronic storage of credit card account numbers should be encrypted, and all paper storage should be locked in a secure place.
- Any phone recordings that include credit card account numbers should also be stored in an encrypted format.
- Perform consistent and ongoing security checks to find any vulnerabilities or potential malicious ware.
- Only work with credit card processors that have a reputation for managing and solving security risks and that will keep you updated on new risk management and protection information
Business owners face an army of hackers and identity thieves whose goal is to steal proprietary business information, customer account data and business data. Security and Risk Management needs to be one of your business’s main priorities and you’re going to need help from industry experts.