Protect Your Transaction Data With These 4 Easy Tips

man sitting at computer purchasing something online

In today’s digital-heavy world, companies and their customers are constantly at threat of a data breach. According to PCI Security Standards Council, 50% of small businesses’ data has been breached in the past 12 months. Hackers are more sophisticated than ever, resulting in “encryption only” methods no longer being effective for transaction data protection. It’s time you elevate your payment security with innovative solutions and high-level understanding. 

As a leading merchant services company, First Direct Financial is proficient in supplying businesses with innovative solutions that protect their data and secure safe transactions. Read our article below and learn how to protect your data from cyber-attacks. 

Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly

Just like how a lock protects our homes from invasion, passwords protect our online accounts and transaction data from invasive hackers. This makes it important for you to ensure your accounts each have a strong password assigned to them. A strong password consists of:

  • 15+ characters
  • Avoids ties to your personal information, such as name, date of birth, etc.
  • Contains numbers, symbols, letters, lowercase, and capital letters
  • Avoids sequential letters and numbers
  • Change your password every three months

Additionally, it’s important that you avoid letter/number substitutions like “Cranapple” to “Cr@n@appl3”. These types of passwords are weak and hackers can access your account through brute force attacks. Today, there are many password manager tools available that help users craft strong passwords and protect their data. We recommend looking into NordPass, LastPass, and Bitwarden

Protect Transaction Data and Only Store What You Need

Many companies collect more customer data than they actually need. By restricting data to only the information you need, you limit the amount of harm that could be incurred by a data breach. However, it can be hard to protect this sensitive data when you’re not sure where it is. 

That’s why it is important for you to ask your payment terminal vendor, service provider, or merchant bank where your system stores transaction data. It is also a good idea to ask how to conduct specific transactions without storing the card’s security code.

Another thing to consider is tokenization. It’s similar to encryption but works differently. It substitutes card data with meaningless data that would have no value to a hacker. Merchants can use tokens to submit transactions, process a refund, etc. without needing to store actual payment data. 

Regularly Inspect Payment Terminals for Tampering

An unfortunate hacking tool that businesses face is skimming devices. Skimming devices are simply machines used to obtain transaction data when a customer swipes their card. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to be vigilant in inspecting for payment terminal tampering. This involves:

  • Keeping a list of all payment terminals (with photos of their front, back, cords, and connections)
  • Look for obvious signs of tampering, like broken seals, loose screws, odd cabling, and new devices or features you don’t recognize
  • Make sure your terminals are secure before you close up shop
  • Only allow authorized terminal repair technicians to work on your machines

If you suspect there has been some tampering with one of your payment terminals, you need to call your payment terminal vendor or merchant bank immediately. 

Protect Transaction Data by Limiting Internal Access

According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 34% of data breaches involved internal actors. This means not only must you worry about unauthorized people gaining access outside of your business, but you must also consider those within your own organization. 

Set up your system to grant access only based on a “business need-to-know”. You should have access to everything, but most other employees don’t need quite as flexible access. That’s why you should limit access to this sensitive information to those employees who absolutely need it to do their jobs. Additionally, it may be good to keep a log that tracks who is interacting with the data to keep track of who is accessing the transaction data. 

First Direct Financial Helps Secure Your Transaction Data

First Direct Financial maintains a large network of representatives nationwide. We keep strict guidelines on all staff to ensure our clients receive the best merchant services possible. From data protection and credit card processing to depositing, we’re there for you every step of the way. Contact us today and learn how we can help your business make transactions easier.