Modern business owners can use the omnipresence of the Internet and collaborate with various business ventures worldwide. What’s important in such collaborations is to cover all the bases pertaining to online billing security.
Nobody wants to deliberately reveal any confidential data about their customers. Nevertheless, you can make an unintentional error or become a victim of data theft. In order to help contemporary entrepreneurs avoid such difficulties, we bring you this guide on safe online billing.
1) Train your staff to keep data safe
Fast-growing businesses often hire people swiftly, without introducing them thoroughly to their work tasks. This is something no business owner should allow when it comes to online billing. In a nutshell – the staff responsible for online billing and invoicing should undergo a detailed training program on data security.
For instance, they should know that every drive they insert into the office computer needs to be scanned with an antivirus program.
Moreover, they should never open suspicious emails if they dodge the spam folder and appear in the main inbox window.
Your employees also need to be aware of the fact that data can be ambushed when they’re being transferred to a cloud drive. Therefore, instruct them to always encrypt the data before the transfer. You should apply this strategy not only to your customers’ data but to your own sensitive business information, as well.
Apart from that, they should also sign a confidentiality agreement, which will oblige them to keep your customers’ business data concealed.
2) Avoid keeping customer credit card data
While it’s easier for business owners and e-traders to store their customers’ payment data, this practice is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the entire payment process will go faster for repeat customers if you already have their payment data from their previous purchase.
On the other, storing that data destroy your reputation if anybody manages to scrape them from your databases.
Still, you can keep some data stored, like your customer’s name, address or account number. In that case, it’s essential to use some encryption methods to protect that information.
As opposed to that, you shouldn’t store your customer’s card verification code (CVC) or full credit card numbers – only the last five digits can be stored.
If a data thief comes into possession of the entire credit card number and this code, they can use that card and cause serious damage to your reputation and your customer’s assets.
3) Work with trustworthy providers
Every online business will need a set of Internet providers. From the Internet connection and website hosting to software tools and (optionally) an e-commerce platform, you’ll have to include third parties in your work. The fact that you’re going to authorize other companies to have access to your data might sound disturbing, but only for a moment.
The entire Web is founded on such collaborations, so there’s no other way to get your work done.
Nevertheless, make sure that you work only with trustworthy providers of all these services. In line with that, do some Google research and read other users’ reviews. Avoid providers with no experience, even if they offer more affordable prices.
Moreover, when you’ve found respectable providers, enable automatic updates of their services. That way, you’ll reduce the risk your online payments get hacked by unauthorized intruders.
4) Meet the Card Payment Standards
Making online payments with credit cards is one of the fastest and most convenient solutions when it comes to online billing. However, if you want to keep the entire process safe from hackers, it’s crucial that you follow the rules brought by the Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council.
Among various standards set by this supreme payment body, you should especially pay attention to PCI Level 1 compliance. Adjusting your online billing features to this set of rules will increase the security of your website and your clients’ data.
For instance, if your business system has already been hacked in that past, you’re obliged to follow the Level 1 compliance.
The best option is to test your security through the PCI-DSS Self-Assessment Questionnaire and see what standards you meet and which ones are yet to be improved.
5) Reporting unusual customers’ behavior
When your business has taken off and you already have repeat customers, it’s easier to spot some recurring habits. Likewise, you can easily notice if any of your customers are behaving in an unusual way.
For example, you should react if you notice that a customer who usually buys affordable products has just ordered some expensive goods.
Additionally, you should check if the owner of the account that order. Be careful if a buyer requires that a product is delivered to an address different from the one they registered with on your website.
Only when the customer tells you that they’ve made such orders should you send them the invoice and start the shipping process.
Those little precautions can save your customers from having their business data revealed or their money stolen from their credit card accounts.
Online billing is the most convenient way of making business deals in this day and age. Still, you need to make sure that every single transaction is done in accordance with the standards of the niche. Therefore, you should train your staff to look after your own and your customer data. Also, store a limited amount of the customer data and react to any untypical behaviors of your repeat customers.
All these actions will improve the level of your customer data security regarding online billing.
AuthorBio: Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus – a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.