If you’re a procurement officer, one of your main focuses in the job will be ensuring payments of all types get paid on time, every time. However, in this digital age where hackers are rife and continually coming up with new ways to break into and crash systems and steal sensitive data, security is vital, too.
Be sure that when you make payments out of your company’s accounts, the financial data can’t fall into the wrong hands. After all, many transactions are completed online now, which is handy but does increase your risk of a digital attack.
Happily, there are numerous steps you can take to protect your business from cybercriminals when you make payments to any of your employees, suppliers, vendors, the government, and so on. Read on for the strategies to start employing today.
Choose Payment Methods Carefully
For payment security purposes, never hand out company credit or debit card details to people over the phone or via email, etc., if you can help it. You don’t know who has access to this data or how it’s stored or destroyed. It’s much safer to pay bills online via authenticated processing platforms, provided you always use password-protected Wi-Fi to do so.
Use digital payment methods designed to be secure. Stick with well-known, trusted platforms or bank transactions where possible, as these companies tend to have more pressure on them to keep security top of mind in their product development and operations. If you’re not sure about the safety of an online payment system, feel free to ask for more information. If a processing firm can’t give you the clarity you need, ask suppliers or other vendors for alternative payment options.
In general, though, the more secure platforms use complex encryption algorithms and have high-level SSL certificates in place. They require CVV2 verification, place very tough restrictions on how data is sent and stored electronically, and secure customer billing details.
To reduce the risk of your financial data being compromised, keep a close eye on transactions going out of your account(s). A tip that can make this easier is selecting a dedicated payment method for online transactions. For example, use only a single credit card with fraud insurance coverage to pay each bill. That way, you can check statements against the transactions you know you initiated, and you’ll pick up on irregularities more quickly. Consider, too, the option of paying suppliers using a pre-approved virtual card that manages and reconciles payments for you.
Install Quality Security Software and Utilize Firewalls
Another way to reduce hacking risk when transacting online is to ensure everyone who pays bills uses computers protected with quality security software. Install a comprehensive product that protects against numerous cybercriminal tactics, such as viruses, spam, spyware, and ransomware attack. Top-level cover will protect your privacy when completing tasks online and alert you to any real-time threats.
Also, utilize firewalls as an added layer of protection. Most computers come with a firewall already installed on them, though you may need to check the settings on your device to ensure your firewall is activated. Alternatively, invest in a third-party product. Firewalls help to protect users against threats that come in via the internet, in particular.
Update Software Regularly
It’s essential, too, to update all the software on your computers regularly, so hackers have less chance of finding a way “in” and, from there, compromising your payment data. Install new versions of programs as soon as they become available, as developers plug security gaps when they release updates. Be sure to run the latest editions of security software and firewall programs, operating systems, browsers, plug-ins, apps, games, and more.
Use Proper Passwords
Similarly, use strong passwords on your tech gear and the online accounts and pages you log into, such as those for banks and other payment processors, eCommerce stores, social media pages, etc. If cybercriminals find a way to hack your password on one account, they may do it on another or even insert malware that reads your keystrokes, thus gaining access to financial details that way.
Secure passwords are at least eight characters long and made up of a mixture of symbols, upper-case and lower-case letters, and numbers. Avoid using the same codes for all your logins, and update passwords every so often to increase security further.
Following all of these steps can’t guarantee that you’ll never face a payment hack or related fraud, but it does significantly reduce the likelihood that you’ll have to deal with such a headache.