Online security is gaining more importance than ever before. With cyber criminals adopting newer and more sophisticated ways of breaching your protection and stealing your data, you need to stay ahead of the curve. Remember, one episode of online hacking is all it takes to ruin your reputation, lose money, and turn customers away. It may even make you liable for the loss suffered by your users and partners – so much so, that you may have to close the shop.
And, it does not take much to be hit by an online breach. Something as simple as your employees, customers, or partners opening an email or clicking on a link on your website or newsletter may lead to unimaginable damage. Online transactions are even more prone to cyber attacks, where someone may get hold of the sensitive data being exchanged and use it for malicious purposes.
Here are some useful and practical security protocols that you must consider adopting to keep online transactions secure for you and your customers.
Turn on 2-Factor Authentication
It is crucial to have 2-factor authentication turned on for online transactions, especially where money changes hands, such as financial trades and online shopping. Even if a password gets compromised, 2-factor authentication ensures that no damage is caused as there is a second level of protection. No one can access your account unless they know both the password and have access to the second layer, which can be your email, text messages, or a phone call. You will also get notified if someone tries to access your account from a device you do not recognize.
Adopt a secure e-commerce platform
Never build your online services or website around platforms that are not secure. You are going to be held responsible for protecting the data being exchanged with you during online transactions. It is not worth your peace of mind or business reputation to meddle with insecure e-commerce platforms. Using a secure platform means you can count on a 3rd party to keep you and your customer safe, as long as you follow their recommended security practices. Not only that, but using a secure e-commerce framework also offers you a better chance of recovering from a cyber attack quickly if you were to come under fire.
Turn on TLS Data Encryption
Turn on TLS (Transport Layer Security) by installing an SSL certificate on your web server. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) switches the traffic to the more secure HTTPS (Hyper Text Transport Protocol Secure) and encrypts the data being exchanged between the user’s browser and the webserver. This way, even if a cybercriminal were to insert themselves between the communicating parties to intercept the communication (called MITM or Man in the Middle attack), they would not be able to make sense of the data being transmitting make the theft ineffective.
SSL certificates have other advantages too. Your customers will see a green padlock on their web browser, assuring them that the website is safe to transact online, which will eventually lead to better conversions and more profits. Also, the websites using SSL are ranked higher on SERPs, which means that you will get more free targeted organic traffic from the searches conducted by internet users looking for products and services you offer increases the chances of making a sale.
If you are a business owner and want to protect your website than you can secure it with the security certificate. You can get your SSL certificate from a best reseller like ClickSSL an authenticate reseller offering different types of SSL certificates.
Avoid storing sensitive information
One of the simplest things to avoid data theft is to stay away from storing it all together. Even if you cannot avoid storing some customer data, do not save sensitive information such as payment information. If your data store gets compromised, there is no telling the amount of damage such a breach can cause to your business – imagine being held liable for financial fraud and identity theft!
Store Sensitive Data with 3rd Parties
It is best to entrust specialized 3rd parties with storage of sensitive customer information such as banking and personally identifiable data (social security number, phone number, driver’s license, passport, etc.) Partner with a trusted transaction partner and let them take care of the storage of such sensitive information. This reduces your overhead and reduces the risks associated with such data ending up in the wrong hands.
Get cyber liability insurance
Your business risk keeps going up as you collect and store more customer data during online transactions. There are times when you can avoid storing such sensitive data or let a specialized 3rd party handle it, but you still are responsible for the protection of your users. Irrespective of whether you manage this data directly or not, you may still be held liable for any damage caused by a security breach that leads to information leaks. Investing in cyber liability insurance, along with taking proactive security precautions, will help offset the monetary impact and the legal costs associated with a compromised situation.
Use Personal Verification Systems
If you are dealing with high ticket items, you may want to consider using personal verification systems to seriously verify online transactions. Please do not get into internet deals involving vast amounts of money without the customers first authenticating themselves using valid IDs such as a passport or driver’s license. You may want to relax the validation requirement for customers who are already verified in the system, so they are not burdened with proving their identity.
Ensure PCI DSS Compliance
PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is the security standard you need to use if you are handling credit cards online. Ensure that your site is PCI DSS compliant. This will not only reduce the chances of credit card fraud, and offer you better ways of administering control over customer data, but it will also build trust in your customers. They can transact on your website without worrying about their financial data getting stolen. Adherence to PCI DSS standards will equip your site to identify and prevent data breaches and online hacks before they turn into ADC (Account data compromise) events.
Pick a secured web hosting provider
You can never be more secure than your operating environment, and this begins with your web hosting provider. Make sure they make security a priority and have things like a good firewall, secure network, and reliable backup procedures in place. Ask for their security audit records and ensure that they keep their guard up. They must have sufficient safeguards to protect you from DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks and other common online threats, so you do not have to deal with downtime or fall victim to common cyber attacks. Your choice of a secure web hosting provider is critical to you being able to offer reliable and safe online transactions.
Educate your employees and users
Most online breaches happen due to human errors. Conduct security training for your new employees and force them to go through refreshers, so they are aware of your latest security policies and procedures.
Keep your customers informed about the latest security trends and encourage them to use things like VPNs, latest browsers, security software. Also, educate them on the use of safe internet practices, so they can play their part in preventing theft of their sensitive data. Consider making online protection information part of your regular newsletter.
Depending on the industry you operate in, you may be subject to more security protocols. The important thing is to keep looking for patterns of online fraud. Fix the holes as soon as you uncover them. Keep getting frequent security audits and bolster your monitoring systems, so you know and can take preventive measures before an online attack turns into a costly affair. Use the techniques laid down in this article to enhance the safety and security of your online transactions. Keep yourself and your customers protected for online business success.