11 tips for ensuring safe and secure online business transactions
Online transactions have picked up the pace more than ever since the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Statista’s Digital Payments Report, by 2025, the value of online transactions will reach up to $2,098,515 million.
Having said that, online transactions are equally vulnerable to cyber threats as well. As a result, businesses must enforce appropriate security measures for online transactions to keep up with today’s digital pace.
Wondering what those precautions are?
Well, don’t worry because we have an eleven point-guide that can help you safeguard your online transactions forever.
11-point framework to protect your business transactions against cyberattacks
1. Ensure connection security
Never enter your credit/debit card information while using public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi can be intercepted, and hackers can place themselves between you and the Wi-Fi connection.
They can view what is being transferred and easily manipulate it. Unsecured connections can lead to bank fraud.
So, warn your customers in advance about the authenticity of their connection as later on, if things went south, you must have something to defend yourself with.
Moreover, as a customer, it is best to avoid a cybercafe` for making transactions. Multiple users access the same computer, and you never know which computer has the malware.
2. Avoid saving passwords on your web browser.
I know how convenient a saved password is when you don’t feel like logging in to your account.
But it is unsafe as if you leave your computer or mobile logged in and lose your device; another person can easily access your bank accounts and contact details.
Saving your password to your browser is as good as letting your guard down in front of your foe.
If you want to save your password then, I suggest you use a password manager. PMs generate a unique password each time you log in, eliminating the risk of theft.
3. Get an SSL certificate.
To ensure that no hacker can creep into your website, you would need the security of a Secure Socket Layer or SSL certificate.
This security protocol encrypts the data transferred from one entity to another and sends it over a secure network so that no hacker can intercept it.
SSL also helps comply with PCI/DSS guidelines, which are mandatory to accept online payments.
Google also recognizes SSL as an integral part of its ranking policy. As a result, websites that have an SSL get ranked higher than those that lack it.
SSL comes in three types, namely, a regular single-domain SSL, multi domain SSL and a wildcard SSL.
A regular SSL can protect a single domain or subdomain at a given time. This can be purchased at any of the three validation levels, DV, OV or EV.
Businesses that need to secure multiple domains and subdomains at different levels usually go for a multi domain SSL. With this single certificate you can secure up to 250 FQDNs (Fully Qualified Domain Names), this number usually varies from provider to provider.
On the other hand, a wildcard SSL can protect a single domain along with an unlimited number of subdomains to level 1. So, if you have an ecommerce website and wish to expand it, a wildcard is a must-have for you. Investing in the right kind of SSL to meet your unique business needs is as important as the price factor. We understand that small businesses can be strapped for cash and would prefer the cheaper certs. Therefore, you can consider investing in the cheap SSL certificate as they offer the same encryption strength as the more expensive counterparts.
4. Integrate multi-factor authentication
Asking your customers to prove their identity twice may cost them a bit of their time, but it is worth it.
Multi-factor authentication includes validating identity through a fingerprint, OTP, or a PIN along with a username and password, enhancing security. For example, even if a hacker manages to break the password, they can’t enter your OTP or replace your fingerprint.
These days banks use OTP as a medium to process a transaction, and if you also integrate the same on the login page, that will make for a robust security system.
5. Analyze a website before adding your financial information
Many illegitimate websites ask you to enter your financial information (debit/credit and bank details) while logging in.
They offer to give you free trials if you share your financial details with them. However, never fall for their word; instead, look at what others say about them.
Look at reviews, ratings, the security protocols they use, and how much userbase they have.
Moreover, you should always set mobile notifications for your credit and debit card so that you get the notification just in case something goes wrong.
You cannot take chances with your customers, which is why it is best to inform them about your policies in advance.
Mention how you will protect their data? For example, where will you store their financial information? How often do you update your software? And, what all security protocols do you have?
Some customers are skeptical about sharing their information. They want to see where their information is going, which is why your policy should cover every question concerning customer data.
Attach your policy as a PDF file for the users to download or have a separate page on your website.
7. Prefer credit over debit
Debit cards are directly attached to your primary bank account. So, if a hacker gets hold of it, he can wipe out your entire bank account.
On the other hand, a credit card has a spending limit and is not directly linked to your bank account.
Experts suggest never to use a debit card on a newly developed website. Also, don’t be the first to add their card details, as newbie websites are generally suspicious.
Moreover, if a website does not accept credit cards, it is a clear sign that it is untrustworthy.
8. Keep your computer secured.
Hackers can creep in through your computer system as well. You may protect your website with the best security protocols but, if you are storing all your database files on an unsecured computer, you are setting yourself up for a disaster.
Any software that you install or hardware that you inject may contain viruses that can harm your data.
Before adding any hardware device or software to your system, scan them for viruses. Use a quality anti-virus system updated to the latest version and can detect even the slightest bug.
Anti-viruses can save both your business and your computer for good.
9. Don’t use the same passwords everywhere.
Your passwords may be strong, more than 12 characters long and might contain special symbols and letters.
But that does not mean that you can use it everywhere. Unfortunately, this mistake is often overlooked as people think that good password hygiene only comprises a “good password.”
Well, that is false. Good password hygiene also means using a different password for every login.
By using the same password everywhere, you are risking all your accounts from finance to generic.
10. Don’t use automatic payment systems.
Regardless of how convenient it is, you should not allow automatic bill payments. Whether you are using a third-party application or a trusted website, we recommend you hit the play button yourself each time you want to transact.
By manually paying every bill, you will be able to keep track of how much you paid and for what.
Moreover, no third party can act on your behalf and compromise your bank account.
Keeping track of your financial outflow is the first step in managing your transactions. So, use manual payment methods and track your transactions.
11. Don’t save customer information.
Do not burden your business with sensitive user information. For example, do not save their card details as a business and leave any chance for a hacker to steal them.
Once a user makes a transaction, don’t store their business information in your database for the future.
If a person wants to transact again, they must add their financial information again.
This approach will help you stay clear of any penalties, complaints, court cases and government sanctions, just in case something goes wrong.
Online transactions are not going anywhere. They are here to stay for long. People have now gotten used to them as they shop online for even their daily essentials.
It is convenient for people to pay online as it promotes contactless transactions, which risks cyber theft.
If your transaction is done using an unsecured medium, a hacker can access your bank accounts and compromise them.
So, both as a business owner and as a customer, precautions for online transactions are of paramount importance, which is why we created this 11-step framework that can help you protect your transactions against all attacks.
Integrate these points in your daily online transactions and see yourself clear against cybercrimes.