Help secure customer data: 3 tips for retailers

Business owners benefit when they provide payment options to their customers, making it easy and convenient for customers to purchase their products and services. Using a payment card to buy products is convenient, but providing that option can put retailers at risk. In fact, retail is the most comprised industry when it comes to fraud.

Meeting customer expectations for convenient payments while keeping their personal data secure, is a growing concern for merchants. Let’s take a look at three things you can do to help secure customer data:

Know if – and how – customer data is stored

Merchants that do not store any cardholder data automatically provide stronger protection of payment transactions by eliminating a key target for data thieves. But many retailers have legitimate business reasons for storing cardholder data, such as for reoccurring billing and tip adjustment.

If you need to store customer data for future use, you should use a POS that is integrated with tokenization technology. Tokenization protects the sensitive credit card data that thieves look to steal. A unique token replaces the payment card number to complete the transaction, and for storage purposes.

End-to end (E2E) data encryption is another solution to look for in your POS system. E2E masks the credit card data while it’s in transmission from the card to the POS, from the POS to the authorization network, and back. Without E2E, when a card is swiped, the card number is recorded in clear text for a split second before the POS encrypts it, making it vulnerable to data thieves.

Partner with an expert

With a busy business to manage, you probably have little time for dealing with the details of implementing a secure payment solution. Working with an experienced partner that is familiar with the payment needs of your business will not only save time, but give you piece of mind that the job has been done correctly. They can also keep you apprised of new threats and security measures that you need to implement.

Make security part of the company culture

Businesses that place a high priority on protecting customer information also make it part of the culture of the company, ensuring that staff members follow protocols to help reduce the likelihood of a breach. Putting a thorough, manageable encryption procedure in place is a good idea, along with creating user permissions that ensure sensitive data can only be accessed by certain people. Be sure to schedule internal audits on a regular basis and make sure all managers are enforcing security policies.

Although no business is completely immune to the threat of data thieves, you can help minimize your risk. Spend the time to understand if and how your business manages sensitive data, partner with an expert that can advise you on the best payments options for your business, and make data protection a company-wide priority. Taking a proactive approach now will go a long way toward protecting your business and reputation in the future