When you think of billing in the cloud, you might wonder about security. That’s understandable given the constant news reports of various cyber threats, but there are two things to keep in mind.
- First, traditional hosting billing software solutions have security problems on their own, so it’s not like you’re going from perfectly safe to risky.
- Second, there are a number of built-in security measures that you can combine with proactive measures to ensure that your security needs are met.
Shortfalls in Traditional Billing Security
Traditional billing may seem safe because it’s offline and isolated from hackers, but there are several other weak spots that criminals can take advantage of.
- Taking cash: Even with strong internal controls, skimming and general theft are still a concern. In addition, when people know your business accepts cash payments, you become a potential target for a robbery or burglary.
- Receiving physical checks: Physical checks may be a less desirable target than cash, but they still carry similar risks. Both inside and outside actors may wish to steal checks to either cash them or to obtain the bank account information printed on the check.
- Accepting credit card payments by mail or fax: Paper credit card forms are another obvious target. In addition to needing to protect the credit card numbers and other sensitive data while it’s in your possession, you also need to worry about interception — something you can never have complete control over.
- Protecting data: Even if you don’t collect information in the cloud, your business almost certainly has some form of sensitive data on hand. This might range from customer payment accounts and other personal information to your internal accounting records that a bad actor could manipulate to cover up a fraud. In fact, physical data thefts make up more than half of consumer identity theft cases meaning they’re more prevalent than cyber breaches.
You almost certainly have safeguards in place to mitigate these threats, but keep in mind that this security takes time and resources and still has the potential to fail.
What’s Built into Cloud-Based Billing?
Cloud-based billing has 4 main built-in technical security measures to keep your data safe.
1. Encryption: All payment information and customer data are encrypted end-to-end. Unlike paper mail, no one can read data that’s in transit or stored on the cloud servers even if they manage to intercept it or otherwise gain access.
2. PCI compliance: Cloud-based billing solutions also follow rigorous PCI compliance standards which have been designed, tested, and improved by the top security experts in the credit card industry for over a decade.
3. Two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication prevents password cracking, social engineering, and other hacking by requiring possession of a second device on both the client and administrative sides.
4. Access control management: You have full and immediate control over all access to your data. You can set controls over where and when people can access your data and change staff access permissions when their roles or employment status change.
Unlike with traditional billing security, all you need to worry about is choosing secure billing software for the cloud with these measures built-in.
What Do You Need to Do to Stay Safe?
Cloud billing automation can both improve your business processes and overall security, but you can’t go on complete autopilot. There are still a few steps that you need to take.
Don’t Skip the Process
There may be some steps in your cloud billing process that seem like they take extra time or add difficulty. Don’t just skip them. There may be a security reason for the process working that way.
Instead, ask your cloud billing provider for training and support to make sure you’re doing things in the most efficient way. If there are ways to make the process better, those can be included in the next version.
Know Your Customer
“Know your customer” is a big buzzword in banking, but it applies to any information handling. In short, you need to verify that people are who they’re telling you they are.
- Collect and verify information appropriate to your business and level of risk on customer signup. This might range from name and credit card information for a low-cost subscription purchase to doing due diligence similar to opening a bank account for large contracts.
- Verify names, addresses, and account numbers for any new cards or bank accounts to make sure your customer is entitled to use them.
- Separate credit card authorization from funds capture to give you additional time to identify potential fraud.
Use Your Judgment
Finally, use your security features like a helpful tool — not a complete replacement for human judgment. Set your risk profiling tools to provide broad alerts so that you can manually review any unusual activity.
Even though this sounds like it might take more time, using automated fraud screening tools through third-party systems (integrated directly into your cloud-billing software) will make sure you’re spending your time in the right places.
Want to Learn More?
To learn more about how cloud-billing can keep your data safe and how to integrate it into your business, contact Ubersmith today.