Security tips for small businesses accepting onlin...

Security tips for small businesses accepting online payments

The importance of protecting your customers’ personal and financial data cannot be ignored in the current day and age. It does not matter what type of business you run or how many customers you have, you need to do everything in your power to ensure that their personal data is protected. A data breach could spell the end of your business when you consider the fines that you will face and how badly your reputation will be damaged. With that in mind, read on to discover some key security tips for any business that accepts online payments.

Make sure you are compliant with PCI-DSS – There is only one place to begin, and this is with PCI-DSS. PCI-DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. This is a set of 21 requirements that are in place, which state how you need to go about protecting payment data. These requirements are applicable to any business that accepts card payments, no matter whether you accept one or one million payments via card.

Educate your employees – Did you know that the vast majority of business data breaches are insider attacks? Although a small number of these are malicious attacks, the bulk of these incidents happen due to employee error. This is because workers have not been trained in the importance of data security nor do they know the methods they should be using in order to protect critical data. This is why it is of paramount importance that you educate your employees about payment security.

Verify transactions – Another important step is to verify transactions. There are a number of different ways you can do this. This includes making certain there is an address verification (AVS) match. You should also make sure customers are required to enter their security code. Track patterns as well to make certain you pick up on any suspicious activity, such as an unusually large order.

Choose a payment processor with care – A lot of people think that they do not need to worry about security when they outsource payment processing. They assume that this is the responsibility of the third party. However, that is not the case. You still need to choose a company that has solid security measures in place and you will still be responsible for your customers and their data. Head to for more information about this and the different options that are available to you.

So there you have it: a look at security for any business that accepts online payments at present. It does not matter what products you sell, whether or not you outsource payment processing, or how many customers you have, you need to have a dedicated plan when it comes to the security of all of your clients’ information. Follow the advice above to get started.

Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".

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