Payment security necessary as online holiday shopping skyrockets

Payment security necessary as online holiday shopping skyrockets

Payment security is an increasingly important issue for businesses as online holiday shopping is becoming more prevalent.

According to a recent report by a leading payment security company, online sales during the first two weeks of November rose 25 percent compared to last year.

"With increased promotional activity, expanded markets for digital products and the potential of mobile shopping, 2011 promises to be the most exciting holiday online shopping season yet," said online payment expert Mike Duffy.

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimated that internet purchases increased 17 percent during the first half of 2011.

Rising internet purchases highlights the importance for merchants to focus on data security, as cybercriminals are often most active during the holiday season. Experts say small- and medium-sized businesses are at the greatest risk of data breach because hackers target companies with limited security resources and a high volume of credit card transactions.

According to the Wall Street Journal, SMBs should train their employees in properly securing company and customer data, as staff members often accidentally cause data breaches. Businesses should also design a company-specific security plan, outlining their vulnerabilities and creating a response strategy should a breach occur.