Data breaches – they’re frustrating, expensive, and can ruin a business financially. No business wants to experience a data breach, especially smaller businesses that may not have the funds to recover from one. On top of cost, data breaches can cause a reduction in sales and possibly ruin the reputation of a small business due to the legal issues.


What are the best practices a small business can follow in order to prevent a data breach?


Use Strong Passwords

Creating a unique and secure password is essential to prevent hackers from getting into an account. Make sure passwords contains a random assortment of letters, numbers, and characters. It’s also a good idea to update passwords every 90 days and change them completely.


Using two-factor authentication with passwords can provide additional protection against hackers. Two-factor authentication involves a password as well as second form of authorization, such as voice recognition, a fingerprint, or a pin code. This is especially beneficial for small businesses that use multiple devices, such as tablets or laptops.


Apply Encryption and Tokenization

In today’s world, it is essential to safeguard all credit card data from potential threats. That’s why applying tokenization and encryption are the perfect tools for protecting credit card transactions. Both encryption and tokenization provide an extra level of security for small businesses by reducing risk and liability associated with a payment transaction.


These technologies encrypt credit card data once swiped so that is unreadable to data hacks and fraud. Data is then tokenized so that the information is only accessible via a secure token. If a hacker were to obtain this data, it would be useless since hackers would not be able to decipher the unique coding used to process the transaction.


Restrict Stored Personal Data

When collecting information from consumers, less is better. Storing too much private data could not only harm a small business in event of a data breach but also the consumer. Social security numbers, e-mail address passwords, and bank routing numbers are all examples of personal data that typically are not needed and should be avoided from collecting.


It’s also important to safely dispose of any information that is written down, such as credit card information. Be sure to always shred personal data documents and do not leave paper or information left out for anyone to find and use for damaging purposes.


Partner with a Payment Processor

The costs associated with a data breach for a small business can be significant – sometimes estimating to be thousands of dollars in fines. To help mitigate the risks associated with a breach, small businesses should partner with a payment processor who can provide advanced security solutions to protect their business.


To start, small businesses should partner with a payment processor that specifically services small to mid-sized businesses. A payment processor who works with small to mid-sized businesses will have a better understanding of their needs and can provide affordable security solutions that best fit within their budget.


With data breaches continuing to be a major concern in the payments industry, small businesses should take precautions and action to protect against instances of fraud. By using strong password authentication, applying encryption and tokenization for transactions, limiting the amount of personal data that is stored, and partnering with a payment processor, small businesses can be well on their way to a future of safer payments.