During times of instability such as those we are experiencing right now, paying attention to the security of your international online payment processing is even more important than ever. You simply cannot afford to be the next victim of cybercriminals intent on exploiting your vulnerabilities as you fight to keep your business afloat. In order to protect yourself and your financial future, consider incorporating the following tips into your business model.
Make a map.
The more complex your retail landscape becomes, the more easily you can be exploited by bad actors. One of the most common breaches occurs when hackers access your systems through third-party vendors who are lax in their controls and safeguards.
One of the most often-used ploys involves cybercriminals using phishing schemes and other methods to get your third-party vendor to divulge your customers’ passwords and other sensitive information. Once they gain access to your environment, they can employ dangerous malware to sabotage your operations and/or steal sensitive cardholder data.
Perhaps the best defense against this intrusion is to thoroughly map all of the third-party vendors who have access to any part of your system. Understanding the roles each plays and ensuring that all of them comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) will provide you with a great deal of protection and peace of mind.
You can further bolster that peace of mind by verifying the security products and functions your payment provider uses to encrypt or tokenize the data furnished by your customers. Be advised: All encryption is not created equal. Make sure your payments partner offers certified, point-to-point encryption and the very latest in tokenization. Taking these precautions is important for all merchants but particularly if you plan to do business abroad since fraud is more difficult to detect and combat when it occurs across borders.
Update and upgrade.
Because digital criminals are constantly coming up with ways to get around security procedures, software developers must keep pace. Therefore, it is not enough to invest in cutting-edge measures, only to let your vigilance go lax. Instead, you should use both automated tools and human expertise to survey your digital landscape, installing security patches, and software updates as soon as they are released.
By the same token, remain abreast of innovations in firewalls, antivirus, and other monitoring tools. At some point, you will need to upgrade your systems if you want to remain one step ahead of hackers.
Implement a culture of security awareness for all employees.
Protecting the privacy, confidentiality, and integrity of the data you store and transmit is not just the job of your IT team. In fact, every member of your staff needs to actively participate. After all, digital security is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain of fencing around your digital perimeters.
Weak or compromised passwords are the direct cause of the majority of data breaches. One of the biggest culprits occurs when people fail to change the default passwords provided by third-party vendors’ software. As part of the initial and ongoing training that every employee receives, you need to emphasize the importance of establishing strong, unique passwords for all systems, internet access, and payment environments. Ideally, passwords should consist of at least seven characters that combine letters, numbers, and symbols, with at least one capitalized letter. All passwords should be changed regularly – at least every three months.
Additionally, your staff instruction should include information on how phishing attacks occur, as well as the best ways to prevent them from happening. To that end, go over the importance of universal suspicion when it comes to emails and attachments from unknown senders or any other electronic correspondence that seems iffy – even if it appears to come from a trusted source.
Understand the specific security requirements of each country you serve.
When it comes to protecting data transmitted across borders, not all of the players involved are the same. Some nations require a great deal of security oversight, while others lag behind in these measures. To protect yourself and your customers, it is essential to learn about the rules that have been put in place for each country to ensure that information is kept safe and that you follow all applicable regulations.
Know where your money is at all times and keep it safe.
By their very nature, international businesses accept money from a widespread customer footprint. As beneficial as this may be in terms of gaining new buyers, it can lead to the potential for confusion and bookkeeping errors. To ensure that your international finances are well-maintained in this complex environment, make the following steps high priorities for your secure payments.
• The company you use to process international payments should have robust security, anti-fraud, and anti-money laundering procedures in place.
• Your payment platform should be monitored by financial regulators and adhere to all rules and license requirements in the countries you serve.
• Your international payment processor’s compliance and customer service professionals are well-versed in international ecommerce. Ideally, they should also routinely conduct assessments to identify risk, conduct regular reviews and audits, and act swiftly to correct any weaknesses that are detected.
Even if you’re accepting payments from thousands of miles away, implementing these measures can go a long way toward placing you in the driver’s seat of your monetary operations.
Expanding your retail operations to encompass customers from abroad can take your business and brand to the next level. By serving a wide swath of international buyers, you can increase your profits and spread the word around the globe about your best-in-class products.
That being said, leaping international ecommerce should never be done lightly or without careful planning. Doing all you can to bolster your digital security is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure international ecommerce success. In every way imaginable, it is an investment in the very future of your business.