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5 Ways Small Business Owners Can Prevent Data Breaches

October 10th, 2017

No matter what kind of business you have, data breaches can cause detrimental financial harm. For small businesses, the damage could be exponential – causing them to go bankrupt or close their business down completely.  As a small business owner, it is crucial to know the best practices to help prevent a potential data breach to keep your business safe.

Take a look at 5 of the main ways small business owners can prevent a data breach from happening:

  1. Partner With a Reputable Payment Processor

The fines related to a data breach can be costly for a small business – sometimes as expensive as several thousands of dollars. A reputable payment processor can help by providing advanced security solutions and products to protect a small business from potential harm. From comprehensive POS solutions with the latest technology to modern payment terminals integrated with the highest levels of security, payment processors have the right tools in place to safeguard a small business.

  1. Become PCI Compliant

In conjunction, a payment processor can also assist with helping a small business become PCI Compliant. PCI Security Standards are a mandatory set of standards that are required for all businesses that process, store, or transmit credit card data. By becoming PCI compliant, small businesses will obtain stronger defenses against a potential instance of fraud or breach and additionally ensure the payment security of their customers.

  1. Limit Storing Personal Data

Another important factor is limiting the amount of personal data you collect from your customers. Storing confidential data could not only harm your own business, but also your customers in the event of a data breach. Bank routing numbers, social security numbers, phone numbers, and addresses are all types of personal information that should be avoided from obtaining for security purposes.

  1. Implement Tokenization and Encryption

With so many security threats that could occur, small businesses need to protect all credit card information from possible threats. Implementing tokenization and encryption within your security measures are a great way to further protect credit card transactions. Both reduce liability and risks related with payment transactions and offer an extra layer of security, especially for small businesses.

Tokenization and encryption work by encrypting credit card data when swiped, making the data unreadable for hackers and fraudsters. The data is then tokenized and the information is only available through a secure token. If by chance a hacker were able to access this, the data would be unusable as hackers would not be able to decipher the coding that was used to process during the transaction.

  1. Create Unique Passwords

Using secure and unique passwords are also vital to prevent fraudsters from accessing your account information. Make sure that all passwords contain a random mixture of numbers, characters, and letters. It’s also advisable to update your passwords every 60-90 days.

To further strengthen passwords, small businesses could use two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires using a password in addition to a second form of authorization, such as a finger print, pin code, or facial recognition. Two-factor authentication is especially useful for small businesses that operate multiple devices, such as laptops, tablets, or mobile devices.

As data breaches continue to be a main concern within the payments industry, small businesses need to be proactive and protect their business from possible threats. Thankfully, small businesses can partner with a payment processor, become PCI compliant, limit the storing of personal data, implement tokenization and encryption, and create unique passwords to help impede data breaches.