With the pandemic increasing the use of credit cards throughout the U.S, properly storing credit card information becomes more important than ever. If you can’t prevent your customers’ sensitive data from being stolen, your reputation is likely to take a big hit.
Other than protecting your customers, you likely have legal obligations to comply with industry security standards. For more information on these obligations, check the contract you signed with your processor. Fortunately, a good payment provider will have all the processes and technology in place to help you meet any compliance requirements.
Not sure where to start? Here are five of the best practices for storing credit card information.
1. Consider Your Needs
In many situations, storing credit card data isn’t even necessary. For example, if most of your buyers are infrequent or one-off customers, then there’s little need to hold onto this information. Many e-commerce stores fit this bill. That said, if you run a SaaS company, have regular customers, or use recurring billing, storing credit card information should be a given.
2. Ensure PCI Compliance
Roughly speaking, PCI compliance is all about proving that you’re taking a proactive approach to customer data privacy. However, since each business is unique, there’s no clear list of items you need to do to attain compliance. A good way to get started is to ensure that your merchant service provider provides you with PCI-compliant hardware and software.
3. Don’t Store Info in Compromising Places
Storing credit card information on paper is a bad idea, even if you destroy the evidence later. Online storage platforms such as Dropbox and Google Drive aren’t secure options for storing data either. CRM profiles can work, but only if you’re not already using them to keep customer information. The best place to keep this data is in a separate system with a secure vault.
4. Check for Updates Regularly
It’s no secret that technology is evolving at a rapid pace. When it comes to data security, the technology advancements are most evident in the ongoing battle between hackers and the makers of security hardware and software. If you aren’t updating both hardware and software regularly, you risk falling behind in this race and compromising your customers’ data.
5. Be Careful With Remote Access
The number one cause of hackers stealing sensitive information is insecure remote access. If you can’t limit remote access in general, use multi-factor authentication to protect it. You should also give each user unique credentials. If everyone in the office uses the same username and password, it only takes one slip-up to compromise the entire system.