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7 Ways to Improve Internet Security and Protect Customer Data


With hackers increasingly targeting small to medium businesses, it’s time to step up your security regime. Not only will you be able to protect your customers, but you will also win their loyalty, as online shoppers are increasingly savvy and looking for reassurance. These are the top 7 actions to take right now to improve your internet security.

Stop Storing Data

Do you have all of your customers’ data stored in your system? Card numbers, verification codes, expiration dates – all of these things can do serious damage if accessed by hackers. Purge old records out from your database right away and keep only the data you need for refunds. It might be convenient to store this data for a one-click checkout, but the risk is just too high. 

Layer Security

One firewall does not make a system secure. You need layers in place – password protected areas, two-factor authentication, security scans, and additional firewalls too. Don’t rely on just one thing, because when it fails, you will be to blame.

Choose a Secure Platform

When you are selling things on your own website, it can cost a lot of money to get the right encryption software and handle your data back-ups. So why bother, when you can improve your online security just by choosing a secure payment platform? You will be doing both yourself and your customers a favour.

Improve Password Requirements

When customers (and staff) set up accounts, they should be encouraged to choose the most secure password possible. If you have no restrictions, it’s time to set them up. Ask for a minimum length (8 characters is normal), both upper and lowercase letters, and numbers. You can go even further and ask for punctuation marks too. Be sure to email your existing customer base asking them to change their passwords in line with your new requirements.

Train Your Employees

Can you trust that everyone in your company knows best practices for security? Train them every six months to a year and you won’t have to. Emails, text messages, or chat sessions are not secure places to share information, something that they may not realise. They also need to know what they can and can’t do with data, and how to help avoid data leaks as much as possible.

Update Everything

Is there an automatic update option for your software? Turn it on. If not, you should make sure that you receive email alerts and update everything the day it becomes available. Every moment that you waste without doing the update is another moment that your entire system is vulnerable. Sites that do get hacked are most often found to be running out of date software.

Have an Alerts System

How will you know when someone is committing fraud through your site? Your answer should be because my alerts system will tell me. If you don’t have alerts set up to notice suspicious transactions or browsing behaviour, fraud could be happening right under your nose. Not only is this bad for your bottom line, but it also means you aren’t looking after your customers. No one should be able to buy from your website if they are using a card that is registered in someone else’s name, for example.

While customers need to stay smart, ultimately, the buck for online security stops with you. You have to make sure that you have a secure system with protective measures in place, or you will be liable for any data leaks or hacks. Protect yourself and your customers as soon as possible.

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