Endangered data in online transactions and how to safeguard company information

[ This article was originally published here ]

This blog was written by an independent guest blogger.

Online transactions are essential for every modern business. From online shopping to banking, transferring funds, and sending invoices, online transactions ensure utter convenience and efficiency.

However, the familiarity of making financial transactions online can make people forget about security and all the dangers that they may be facing. On top of that, new cybersecurity threats keep popping up constantly.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a robust IT security strategy in place.

How safe are your company’s online transactions?

online safety

Source; Pexels

From hardware or software issues and hidden backdoor programs to vulnerable process controls, weak passwords, and other human errors, many problems can put your transactions at risk and leave the door open to cybercriminals.

Did you know that human error is the main culprit of 95% of data breaches? Many people still don’t realize the dangers of phishing, malware, ransomware, unpatched software, and weak passwords. They could expose your sensitive data and put you, your employees, clients, and customers at risk of identity theft and fraud.

Believe it or not, pay stubs are among the most common vulnerabilities because many companies don’t store them carefully, risking theft of their employee data and confidential files.

That’s why savvy businesses have started using online generators for making stubs. With a paystub generator, you can create and store your pay stubs online, so you don’t have to keep them in your system, preventing cybercriminals from gaining access to your sensitive data.

No cybersecurity experts

Cybersecurity is a complex issue that requires comprehensive knowledge. Sadly, most companies don’t hire any cybersecurity experts. What they don’t realize is that they could be supercharging their productivity.

What can a business do to improve its productivity?

By putting experts in charge of  cybersecurity, companies can keep other employees productive. They can work with up-to-date  technology, reduce their workload, work  smarter, and improve their performance.

A cybersecurity team can even train your employees and teach them how to identify and avoid threats. This way, your employees won’t make security mistakes, and can focus on their core competencies.

How to protect your transactions

Given that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, implementing proper security measures  to protect your transactions is a no-brainer. Here are some of the best ways to do so.

Use a Secure Sockets Layer

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a standard security protocol that encrypts the connection between a web browser and a server. It prevents a third party from intercepting the data that is exchanged between the two.

This is especially  beneficial for financial transactions as all the data, including credit card information, remains private. .

An SSL certificate is beneficial  for your SEO as well, since Google uses HTTPS as a ranking signal.

To secure your transactions with an SSL certificate, you need to purchase the right one for your business and install it on your server with the help of your web host manager. This only takes a few clicks, because an SSL certificate is a text file with encrypted data.

Implement multi-layered protection

A multi-layered security approach is a defense mechanism for cybersecurity protection. It’s about  implementing multiple components to protect your entire IT infrastructure.

If a potential hacker finds a loophole and tries to break into your system, they will be prevented from doing so by another layer of security. .

Some of the most important security layers include the network (IP and ICMP), the application (e.g., HTTPS and DNS), data link (e.g., Ethernet and MAC), the session (WEB sockets), transport (SSL, TCP, and UDP), perimeter (firewalls), and physical layers (securing endpoint devices).

Avoid storing payment data from your customers

If you store payment details from your customers, a potential data breach could expose their personal and sensitive information. This could severely damage your company’s reputation.

So, once a customer completes a purchase, make sure there are no logs of their financial information

If you want to ensure a seamless shopping experience by allowing your customers to save payment details for future purchases, you should use a reliable e-commerce platform and a secure payment processor. This will  help you detect and prevent potential cyberattacks.

Use data encryption

Data encryption is the key to keeping sensitive data private. It ensures integrity, authentication, and non-repudiation.

There are three main types of data encryption:

  • 3DES (Triple Data Encryption Standard) — 3DES uses three 56-bit keys to encrypt data, but it takes a long time. Its predecessor, DES (Data Encryption Standard), is no longer secure  on its own.
  • AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) — AES is the best and most widely-used type which uses symmetric key encryption where only one key can encrypt and decrypt data. It’s the most secure method you can use.
  • RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) — RSA uses an asymmetric key encryption (one public key to encrypt data and one private key to decrypt). This is time-consuming but great for verifying digital signatures.

Consider tokenization

Tokenization involves replacing sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, with random strings of characters (tokens) that have no meaningful value. If a hacker were to steal tokenized data, they could not exploit it.

Furthermore, tokenization removes the original data from the system and serves only as a reference. That’s quite different from data encryption, where the data is preserved but can only be accessed with the right key.

Use electronic signatures

Like data encryption, electronic signatures ensure integrity, authentication, and unforgeability.

They also increase security and speed up transactions by enabling the authentication of  electronic documents and online forms in seconds.

Create a verification process

Verifying accounts, addresses, and transactions helps  you prevent identity theft and fraud.

An AVS (Address Verification Service) can help you verify your customers’ billing addresses. At the same time, a card security code (a CVV number) is the best way to verify bank accounts and transactions.

Don’t forget to enable 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) and MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), which are among the best ways to secure user authentication protocols. They provide additional protection for the login process, and effectively prevent fraudulent login attempts.

Conclusion

These are the most proven methods to keep your online transactions and company information private, but you should consider other security tips, too.

Don’t forget to comply with the PCI DSS before you start accepting online payments. This way you can eliminate any vulnerabilities beforehand and ensure that your customers’ data remains safe and secure.

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