Becoming an online retailer can be quite exciting. However, protecting the customer’s payment information from hacking, phishing and any other related cyber-attacks is often a nightmare for most online retailers. The truth of the matter is – keeping your customers’ data safe doesn’t have to be such a hassle. You just need the right knowledge and online security tools.
Also, even if you are a small-scale online retailer, don’t ever think that you are too insignificant to be targeted by hackers… you might be in for a big surprise. In fact, recent research shows small businesses are easy targets when it comes to stealing customers’ payment data. Therefore, regardless of whether it is a small, midsize or large online retail store, it is important to get armed with the right knowledge and tools capable of protecting your customers’ data at all times.
When the customers’ sensitive payment data falls in the wrong hands, you can expect cybercrimes such as credit card frauds, identity theft, and the like. These could easily tarnish your brand reputation, costing you dozens if not thousands of valuable customers in a short while. With this having been said, here are four ways online retailers can step up their game to protect their customers’ payment data.
1. Being PCI DSS Compliant
PCI-DSS, also known as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, is an international data security standard for all websites transacting money online. This security standard is adopted by every branded credit card company internationally. It is part and parcel of the various PCI requirements for every business that accepts payments via credit cards. Moreover, varying levels of DSS apply to different online store businesses according to the level and amount of online transactions they handle. PCI DSS provides a safe and secure environment for processing customer’s sensitive data such as credit card details. As long as a given online retail store is fully compliant with the PCI DSS requirement standards, then their customers can rest assured their payment data is safe and secure.
2. Strong Encryption
Encrypting your customer data such as passwords, personal identification numbers, and usernames is a key security factor to protect their online shopping experience. There are several forms of customer data encryption, which are extremely hard to break. The stronger the type of encryption, the harder and longer it would take to break. Here are some of the strong encryption measures to consider.
- SSL Certificate
With an SSL certificate, the customer’s payment information is encrypted while in transit from the user’s browser to the destination payment processing server. Therefore, even if hackers intercept and steal the payment data on transit, the data is in unreadable format and they won’t be able to decrypt it into a readable format.
The initials stand for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. This is a type of data transmission protocol that uses SSL (Secure Socket Layout) to encrypt data exchanged between a given web server and payment processing server. HTTPS is even more secure than HTTP. For an HTTPS-secured online store, the address bar highlights the URL in color green. Also, a green padlock symbol appears on the URL.
3. Better Account Authentications
A phishing scam is a common tactic used by cybercriminals to steal online customer payment details. This involves tricking online customers into providing their login credentials while unaware. While there is nothing much an online retailer can directly do to fight phishing tricks, offering a two-step authentication when logging into customers’ accounts would be the best security option. Through two-step authentication, only the owner can bypass the security requirement hence perfectly securing an individual’s data. For instance, customers’ accounts are authenticated in such a way if anyone tries to log in and make a purchase, the owner receives a verification text message.
4. Web Application Firewalls
Most online retailers use strong WAFs (Web Application Firewalls) to monitor and guard their network traffic. Web application firewalls allow you to customize the settings according to your business needs. You can decide to allow certain incoming connections and block others.
Let’s take an example; your retail business doesn’t ship products to a certain country. Using a Web Application Firewall, you can easily block any incoming connection from there. This comes in handy in protecting not only your company’s data but also your customer’s data.
Additionally, the Web Application Firewalls used by most online retailers meet PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Standards Data Security Standards.
The above are just a few ways through which most online retailers protect their customer’s payment data. As a customer, shopping from an online retailer without online data security measures in place is a huge risk. Your payment could get in the hands of cybercriminals. Therefore, avoid them like the plague.