Businesses need to protect their customer's security if they are to maintain their customer base. The online season brings a multitude of holiday shoppers (and encourages your employees to shop online as well). As the holidays approach, you may want to consider these ways to protect your customer's identities and your own security and network.
- Use a third-party payment processor. Your customer's information cannot be compromised in your system if you never have it at all. By allowing for purchases through a third-party payment processor such as Google Wallet or PayPal, you'll never have to worry about this: you won't touch the customer's personal financial information.
- Be wary of prepaid cards. Many merchants today don't accept prepaid cards, especially for subscription or rental services. During the holidays, prepaid cards are often used for scams. The scammer may steal the numbers from a prepaid card or may use a prepaid card to secure a deposit on a product or service that they don't intend on actually paying for.
- Educate your employees about reputable marketplaces. There are many common online marketplaces: Amazon and eBay are two of the largest. It's almost inevitable that your employees may do some holiday browsing while they're in the office; make sure they know how to identify potentially untrustworthy websites.
- Prepare your system in advance. Make sure that you have backups available and can requisition more resources. Identity thieves and malicious users may attempt to crash your site to create vulnerabilities and break in. It’s also important that you have the proper security appliances in place.
- Don't conduct transactions in plain-text. Your employees should be instructed not to take any credit card information or personally identifiable information through email accounts. If they do need to collect this information, they should do so over the phone. Otherwise they open your clients up to vulnerability.
- Restrict your password standards to difficult to guess passwords. When your customers are creating a password, they should be prompted to create one that is both memorable and difficult to guess. Give your customers a few pointers on how to create better passwords for their accounts
- Maintain an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate means that the data being transmitted to and from the website is encrypted and therefore protected. If you're collecting information from your customers, your website needs to be secured.
- Don't complete transactions one-on-one. When selling on a marketplace such as eBay or Amazon, a customer may try to complete the transaction off market, with money orders or wire transfers. Don't do this -- completing a deal in this way won't give you any protection against scams.
- Protect against "porch theft" with signed delivery options. It can often pay to be more secure during the holidays. Porch theft occurs when items are stolen directly from the customer's porch -- and the company often takes the blame. A signed for delivery will make this impossible; you can add this option on your virtual cart.
There are some fantastic deals for online holiday shoppers, and your business could be one of them. By following the above cyber security tips, you should be able to get customers in the door without having to worry about their security.