Does Your Website Put Customer Security At Risk?
You’re finally starting to see your hard work pay off and your sales percentages couldn’t be better. While it’s great to achieve high conversion rates, could your website pose a serious privacy risk to your customers’ personal information?
It would be nice if every website used SSL encryption so that customers could submit their online transactions securely and safely. Unfortunately, many online businesses are very lax in this area. The result is that a customer’s personal information becomes extremely vulnerable to security breaches.
Your Responsibility as an Online Business
It’s your responsibility to protect your customers’ data by securing your website with “secure sockets layer” or SSL protection. SSL provides a secure, encrypted link during the interaction between a web browser and the server. Encrypted customer data such as passwords, credit card and bank information is scrambled when in transit and shielded from view. The data packet is then unscrambled (decrypted) once it reaches its destination. Even if the data submitted through Web forms is intercepted, it can’t be read.
Don’t Put Your Customers at Risk for Identity Theft!
Data submitted via Web forms passes through multiple channels before it reaches its destination, which increases its risk of being intercepted and read if it’s not encrypted. Visitors who submit their credit card information, for instance, are more likely to become victims of identity theft.
Fixing an incident of credit card fraud can be easily done by filing a refund claim for unauthorized account charges with the bank. However, identify theft isn’t so easy to fix, and can ruin an identity victim’s credit score, according to Lexington Law credit experts. Typically, a criminal will open up accounts, apply for new loans or lines of credit under the victim’s name, and then rack up a huge amount of bills without paying them. As a result, the victim’s credit score begins to drop. Credit scores can drop even further based on the number of credit inquiries made by a lender.
Recovering from identity theft isn’t a 1-2-3 process. Although consumers can file a fraud alert to let potential landlords and creditors know their identity has been stolen, unauthorized unpaid charges can remain on their credit report for years; it’s not only frustrating but also time consuming to work these types of details out to raise their credit score.
One Man’s Credit Nightmare
Hiring managers typically check a person’s credit before signing them on. After failing to get a job for three years, 14-yr banking veteran Brian Larsen discovered the hard way that having bad credit can nullify industry expertise every time! Although his identity hadn’t been stolen, he’s the perfect example of why employers will often deny employment. The reason? potential employers concluded that he was less trustworthy and more likely to take a bribe because his credit report had listed that he had missed four mortgage payments that ended in a short sale of his home.
SSL Encryption-Not Optional
If one or more of your customers becomes a victim of identity theft because you didn’t secure their credit card or bank information, the damage done to their financial reputation can be intense. Landlords and hiring managers won’t be able to know if the information listed on their credit report is accurate which could impede their ability to apply for lines of credit, housing or employment. Providing data SSL encryption is no longer optional and is crucial to stay compliant with new credit industry changes. The following information will discuss basic steps you can take to secure the privacy of your customer’s personal information:
1. Obtain an SSL Certificate
You’ll need to obtain an SSL certificate if you’re gathering logins, passwords, financial information, personal data, proprietary information, legal documents, client lists or any other data that should remain confidential. However, it’s important for you to know that not all SSL certificates are identical. There are several types of SSL certificates that are used for very different reasons. For example, there are certificates that only cover one domain or those that cover multiple ones. The level of validation required (domain, organization, extended) will also be a factor in the type of certificate you choose which all serve different purposes. It’s possible to obtain an SSL certificate via your Web host provider. Any extra cost associated with your purchase will be worthwhile, especially if they can also set it up for you. It’s advised not to purchase a certificate online but to talk to a live representative to ensure you’re purchasing the correct one.
2. System Restoration and Optimization
Encrypted traffic can easily contain malicious files, or an end user may be sending confidential information via an encrypted channel. Spyware, malware, and virus removal as well as Windows optimization and general Windows cleaning are all repair processes designed to restore your systems to top performance condition without the risk of losing your valuable data and files.
3. Establishing a Next Generation Firewall
One of the most insidious IT security threats businesses have to keep track of is malware. Malware is a rapidly evolving security hazard that is systematically designed to bypass a business’s defenses. Therefore, security tools must be regularly updated to successfully counterattack the constantly changing playground of IT threats. Arming your small business website with a firewall is a highly proactive measure you can take to protect your customer’s data. It’s highly suggested that your business consider the integration of next-generation firewalls. A this type of firewall can give you the capability for faster malware detection, efficient tracking and containment of any threats that escape your defenses, and halt malicious programs from gaining access to your IT network and infrastructure.
There are many other steps you should take to maintain the integrity of your website. For example, a comprehensive security audit can be performed by our privacy team that provides a detailed list of actions you need to take to ensure the safe transmission of your customer’s sensitive information.
Shirking your responsibility to provide SSL encryption can create a slew of negative consequences. Your first step to better secure your website is to purchase a compatible SSL certificate so that customers’ data is encrypted from the starting point to the end user. Keep in mind that website security services need to be flexible that can accommodate your business’s unique needs. If you have any concerns about how secure your network or wireless is, schedule a consultation with our network experts who can protect your customer’s personal information and reduce your exposure to threats. Among our diverse range of website security expertise, we have experience working with Apple, Cisco, Belkin, Linksys and D-Link appliances.