About 3 years ago, I was sitting down at my office desk with my morning cup of coffee when I noticed a strange email from a client.
“I think your website has been hacked.”
My heart dropped into my stomach as I raced to bring up my website. The home page that used to show my smiling face was now covered with naked people doing . . . uh, questionable things.
Thank goodness a quick call to GoDaddy and a new security system kicked those creepy hackers to the curb and restored my website to its former “cute and quirky” style.
But while I was scrambling for a solution, I couldn’t help but think about the thousands of visitors my website gets daily.
Who would trust me again? Would you enter your credit card information into a site that had recently been hacked?
One of the factors you must consider when setting up your online business is your customers’ safety. Small businesses are at a high risk of cybercrime, which costs the global economy about $445 billion annually. That’s scary!
Can your customers purchase from your site without fear that their credit card information will fall into the wrong hands? If they can’t trust you to protect their details, they may not do business with you.
This is why part of making your business look professional is ensuring customers’ data is safe. I realize, this may seem overwhelming and complicated for a small business owner, but it’s an easy thing to do.
Here are 4 crucial security requirements your website needs before accepting online payments.
Ensure Your Business is PCI Compliant
There are rules for online payment systems set by the Payment Card Industry (PCI).
This Security Standards Council was created in 2006 to regulate major payment brands. The aim is to help merchants protect their customers’ financial data. They maximize information security by implementing 12 security concerns.
Whether your business is large or small, it must meet the minimum security requirements. For more information on PCI compliance, you can visit the PCI website and take the necessary steps.
Don’t Store Customer Payment Information
The Act on Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions requires businesses not to store customers’ financial information.
While most online transactions require the customer’s details, the information shouldn’t be kept. Always find a way to get rid of it immediately; holding on to it puts your business at a hacking risk.
If you must save it, ensure it’s in offline storage and away from hacker’s access.
Use a Secure eCommerce Platform and Processor
Despite all the regulations in place for online safety, not all ecommerce processors take their security with the seriousness it deserves.
When choosing a payment gateway for your website, go for trusted and reputable companies with good reviews.
Check to see that their policies on security are transparent. Ideal places to search for trustworthy companies are Consumer Affairs and Better Business Bureau.
Verify All Online Transactions
Verifying all transactions is possible even when the customer’s card isn’t present.
There are several ways to do this:
- Ensure customers enter their card security code, which appears at the back of their cards.
- Make sure there’s an address verification match.
- Be cautious about frequent large orders from returning customers. This should warrant calling the customer immediately.
- Review small but crucial details like strange email addresses.
For the successful verification of online payments, the systems have to be up to date. Regularly update all software your business uses in operations, sales, and marketing.
Your Next Steps
Online businesses need to take care of their customers’ details and information. Identity theft is a common problem that has contributed to cybersecurity fraud, leading to losses of millions of dollars every year.
Take the necessary steps to ensure your systems are protected and up to date for reliable and secure transactions.
My recommendation: Use an all-in-one customer relationship management system like Kajabi to easily comply with all safety regulations. Start your free trial today.
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