How to drive business growth by building a secure brand
Big brands are betting that security matters to customers. Apple, arguably the world’s most valuable brand, recently began marketing its products and software as more secure than those created by rival Google.
Growing one’s business through positioning one’s company as more trustworthy with sensitive customer data isn’t just for the Fortune 500. Small businesses can earn market share by building a secure brand.
EMV Deadline is an Opportunity
October’s EMV deadline gives small merchants a way to differentiate themselves from competitors who are behind the curve.
After October 1, 2015, business that fail to use payment readers that accept cards with chips as opposed to those with the traditional (and far less secure) magnetic stripes, could be held responsible for fraud.
This is referred to as the Eurocard, Mastercard and Visa, or EMV, liability shift. After the switch, whichever party in the transaction has the least secure system would cover costs of a breach.
Breach costs aren’t limited to the dollars stolen by cyber thieves. There is also the loss of customers’ trust — and therefore their business.
Businesses that make the EMV shift with authority have an opportunity not only to comply with the new norms, but also to use them in marketing. Imagine a retailer, after installing new point of sale terminals, communicates to customers via signage and cashier training that the new systems mean, “We’re protecting you from fraud.”
PCI-SSC Compliance Can Set a Business Apart
The EMV shift is not the only upcoming standard change that smart small businesses can turn to their advantage.
At the end of June, new norms from the Payment Cards Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) go into effect. These PCI 3.0 protocols include stiff fines for merchants who fail to comply with them and leave themselves easy targets for data breaches. Those fines could range from $100,000 to $500,000.
Widespread coverage of data breaches at companies like Target and the subsequent lawsuit that seeks to hold the retailer monetarily accountable for the fallout are combining to convince businesspeople that PCI compliance costs are resources well spent.
Small businesses may lack the resources to handle rapidly-evolving payment security needs. That means making a smart choice of third-party partners. Look for payment companies that offer tools that walk managers through PCI compliance step-by-step. Pick a partner that will provide templates to help develop data security policies and procedures.
While payment card security may seem like something that has only to do with data flowing invisibly through networks, good security practices include practical steps like training staff to check POS machines each day to see if they have been tampered with. Cyber thieves sometimes simply place a USB stick on the back of a unit, for instance.
Include outreach and marketing to customers in your security planning. For instance, an ecommerce business should use a payment company that offers security seals so website customers see evidence of the security efforts being made on their behalf.