Payment security lingo: What’s point-to-point Encryption

Category: Growth Hacks

Payment security lingo: What’s point-to-point Encryption

Payment security lingo: What’s point-to-point Encryption

One of the biggest threats to online security comes from data breaches. Such breaches have now become mainstream and it is now very important for the companies to save their data from such infringement. There are several new technologies and tools available for securing the data belonging to the business and its clients.   One such important tool is Point to Point encryption or P2P encryption, as it is popularly known. It is especially important for businesses which accept online payments through different modes including debit cards and credit cards.

What is P2P encryption?

P2P encryption refers to a standard established by the PCI Security Standards Council. The main aim of this standard is to ensure that confidential data pertaining to debit and credit cards are instantaneously into unbreakable codes. Such coding is important to ensure that the data is protected against fraud and hacking. The standard is designed to provide optimal security of payment process and data for online card transactions.

The P2P encryption Standard enumerates the requirements to be fulfilled by an online payment solution to qualify as a PCI validated P2PE solution. These requirements pertain to a complete set of software, hardware, decryption, gateway and device handling etc. The final decision in this regard rests with P2PE Qualified Security Assessors, who are independent third party entities with requisite qualifications to make such assessment. It is important to note that only ‘solutions’ may be validated and not individual units of hardware. If a payment solution does not meet the requirements for being validated as P2PE solution but offers similar type of encryption then it may be accredited at End to End Encryption Solution.

How Does it Work?

P2P encryption works using a number of secure applications, devices and other related processes. Whenever a business swipes a debit or a credit card, it initiates an interconnected series of actions. The point of interaction device, which is used for swiping the card, encrypts the information immediately. If the device is PCI validates then it uses an algorithm for the purpose of encryption. These encrypted codes are then sent to the payment processor or payment gateway, which decode the information. The main requirements for setting up a PCI P2P encryption system include the secure management of encryption devices as well as decryption devices and the proper upkeep of decryption environment.

It should be noted that coding and decoding keys are not provided to the merchants. They are given a unique token number to identify particular transactions so that they can keep proper records and issue refunds as and when required. However, merchants stand to gain a lot from this process. They are assured of the safety and security of their transactions. Their business is protected against card frauds, which in many cases lead to heavy financial loss. The merchants are also able to improve their turnover by assuring the customers about the safety of their data and payments.

P2P Encryption vs. End to End Encryption

For P2P encryption, there are certain features which are unique to this protocol. The solution offers hardware to hardware coding and decoding where POI device comes with Secure Reading and Exchange of Data function. The solution is also required to be validated for the PCI P2PE Standard. For this purpose, the solution should fulfill the requirements such as temper evident packaging, shipping and installation. Such solutions also come with instructional manual to guide merchants about device use and storage.

End to End encryption, on the other hand, does not unencrypt the card details between the two terminals. It secures the data provided the endpoints are offered by PCI accredited organizations.

The Benefits

P2P encryption is important for the development of ecommerce and online businesses. Many customers are not inclined to make online transactions due to the fear of data breach and financial losses. By providing P2P encryption, the businesses can assure their clients that their financial data will be secure. This can help in increasing the revenue for the business, adding to the bottom line. All leading payment processors now offer P2P encryption to ensure smooth and safe transactions.

11 Easy Marketing Tips to Promote Your Small Business

11 Easy Marketing Tips to Promote Your Small Business

Small businesses have shown remarkable growth in their popularity. This has become possible due to changing customer preferences and technological advancements. However, small businesses generally suffer from lack of resources including funds to spend on business promotion and marketing. Here are some of the tips which may help you in marketing your products and services with minimal budget.

Establish Brand Identity: creating a clear identity allows you to properly communicate about your firm and the products. Some of the tools which may be used for creating a brand identity are brand name, logo and use of specific colors and images. You can do this work on your own with the help of several technological tools available. However, it is advisable to hire a professional to create logos and word art. To create a loyal band of customers, you should put your brand and logo everywhere possible, including on merchandise, business cars and email signatures.

Know Your Market: one of the worst mistakes a small business can make is to assume that any generic marketing strategy can work for their products. In reality, it is important to design a customized marketing proposition for each product and service. The process involves intensive study of the market and its various constituents. The marketing strategy is thus created keeping view the distinct requirements and features of the segment. Such customized marketing policy is more likely to resonate with the clients and produce better results. You should also be clear about the kind of message you are trying to deliver with your marketing plan.

Build a Better Website: in order to have proper online presence, it is essential to create a dedicated website. The portal should not only be attractive but also easy to use. Having an intuitive interface makes a website easier to navigate. The proper process of building a website starts with proper planning. At this stage, you should determine your target population and their requirements. The next steps involve designing and then creating the prototype. These prototypes are used for testing purpose where their usability quotient is determined. The final step involves review of the design and the implementation.

Select the Social Media Platform: with a large number of social platforms available, it is imperative to focus on a few in order to derive efficiency. There are several factors which contribute towards the choice of right platform mix. The demographic mix and the type of products to be marketed are amongst the most important factors. Some of the most prominent platforms available are Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Out of these platforms, the former is more popular among mature adults while the latter two are favored by younger population. Accordingly, the allocation of marketing material across these platforms may be carried out. Further, the choice of platforms may be done as per the business goals as well. Social media may also be used for promoting your website.

Use the Right Tools: it is important to use the right type of tools for disseminating information about your business. Some of the most important tools in this regard are infographics, videos and pictures. Infographics are particularly useful in this regard as these are easy to understand and are visually appealing. Such infographics are also easy to make as there are several computer programs available to aid their creation. You may also jazz up your data with the use of graphs and other visual representations.

Leverage Your Network: it is as important to think locally as it is to do on wider scale. While you may use social media and other mass media, it is equally essential to harness your close network. You can start by participating in local events. Alternatively, you may choose to sponsor some local drives and relevant public events. You should also look for synergistic participation with other non-competing businesses. Such collaborations may help in cross promotions through the use of reciprocal website links, fliers and bundled promotions. While such networking and collaborations may take some time to fructify but they are worth the effort.

With the above tips you can promote your business and goods in an optimal manner. These methods do not require substantial outlay of resources and thus are suitable for small businesses.

How to Build your Online Store

How to Build your Online Store

Opening an online store is now easier than ever. With new technologies and user friendly interfaces, the process of designing an e-commerce business has become simpler, faster and more efficient. However, it is highly important to plan properly to ensure that your online business and website meets your requirements. Also, the online store should be designed in a modular fashion so that it is economical and convenient to make any changes afterwards. So, here are some steps you can undertake to build your own online store.

Pick a Domain Name: While it has become a lot simpler to design an online store these days, it is still important to ensure that you have all the required elements in place. First off, you need to decide on a domain name. The domain name will be how your online store will be known. It is recommended that your domain name is able to convey the crux of your business. There are several guidelines which you may follow to select a suitable domain name. Such a name should be easy to remember too. Additionally, it should also be available to be registered.

Get Web Hosting Account: Once you have decided on a domain name and have ascertained its availability, the next step is to acquire a web hosting account. There are several services available which offer online store building kits. These packages not only include website building tools but also hosting facilities. These new services are convenient to use as these eliminate the need to be proficient in coding for creating a website. With their pre-designed templates, the user can create a basic website in a matter of few hours. These services offer additional features which may be added on the basis of your requirements.

Focus on Search Engine Optimization: Once you have created your online presence and have decided upon the target market to focus on, it is time to ensure that the people are able to locate your business out of the plethora of similar online ventures. A large number of people reach websites through search engines, and therefore, it is important to customize your online business to make it appear prominently in search results. For this purpose, you can prepare a list of relevant keywords and ensure that your website has those keywords interspersed throughout the content. It is also advisable to keep modifying the content to meet the requirements of changing algorithms as the search engines may keep changing their parameters for ranking.

Pick Online Marketing Strategy: Like an offline business, online businesses also thrive with appropriate marketing strategies. For online marketing, there are several tools available such as newsletters, search engine marketing and Pay Per Click, for promoting your business. Further, the use of social media can also help you in augmenting your position in the market. It is important that an optimal mix of these tools is used. Some of the most important online marketing tools you can use are Google Adwords and Social Media Ads. Both of these are paid mediums and have their distinct characteristics. These methods may be used in conjunction with free or low cost methods such as Instagram pages and Twitter, enhancing the overall effectiveness of your online marketing campaign.

Use Enhancement Tools: Your task does not end with the launch of your online business, as you have to keep your online store and its contents constantly evolving to remain relevant. The use of plugins is highly recommended to ensure that your website is ranked high in the search results. These plugins are also helpful in giving a customized touch to your business. These plugins may be a part of website building packages you may have used, while other plugins such as the ones provided by Google Chrome can be used by anyone.

Set up Analytics: it is extremely important that you are able to measure the results of your online business promotion strategies. Setting up analytical tools will allow you to collect the data and analyze it. By using this data to set up the benchmarks, you can ensure that your plans are focused in their approach. Some of the most important metrics in this regard are unique visitors, conversion rate and average eyeball numbers.

The Best 5 TED Talks Every E-Commerce Entrepreneur Needs to Watch

The Best 5 TED Talks Every E-Commerce Entrepreneur Needs to Watch

TED Talks are full of insights and are especially useful for entrepreneurs. These talks tend to be informative and inspirational. TED Talks speakers tend to be experts in their areas and can help entrepreneurs in understanding various nuances of the trade. However, there are a large number of TED Talks available, making it a little difficult for people to find the right ones. So, here are our top picks which can help you in taking your venture to the next level.

  • Derek Sivers’ How to Start a Movement

This TED Talk is mainly focused upon bringing about meaningful changes and the leadership styles. The traits required for starting an impactful revolution are the same traits which are helpful in starting and then nurturing a disruptive business. An entrepreneur like a leader should be able to command influence over their peers and target market. Similarly, the techniques such as word of mouth propaganda used by the movements may also be used by budding entrepreneurs for promoting their businesses. Peer recommendation and referrals are especially useful for fledgling businesses when they do not have historical performance to back up their claims. This TED Talk is not only useful for budding entrepreneurs but also for the mature ones.

  • Simon Senek’s How Great Leaders Inspire Action

This TED Talk is concerned with leadership and delves deeply to see why certain people are more likely to inspire others. The talk gives examples of influential leaders such as Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs. The crux of this talk is that people are less influenced by the products and services you launched but more by the reasons behind launching these offerings. This connotes that as an entrepreneur you should be fully aware that there are right reasons behind getting into a particular business. Such understanding and awareness is required to be palpable in your business message when you pitch it in front of consumers and investors. With the help of this video, you can not only hone your leadership skills but may also take your business in a new direction.

  • David S. Rose’s Pitching to VCs

David S. Rose is an accomplished serial entrepreneur who now invests in other people’s businesses. He draws from his own experiences to deliver this TED Talk where he talks about the rules you need to follow while pitching your business. According to David, the most important thing to keep in mind when you are making a pitch presentation is to elaborate upon the most compelling characteristics of your offering. The talk is less than 15 minutes long and is jam packed with insightful advice. It also provides a list of things you should refrain from doing or mentioning in your pitch.

  • Gary Vaynerchuk’s Do What You Love – No Excuses

This TED Talk delivered by entrepreneur and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk is weaved around his personal experiences and life stories. The main focus of the talk is on the importance of passion and persistence while running a venture. According to this lecture, the real ingredient essential for entrepreneurial success is to have true passion for what you do. Gary goes on to explain that many entrepreneurs are instead driven by their desire for money or passion, which ultimately leads to mediocre performance or downright failure. Gary delivers the advice in a highly engaging manner which makes this video highly watchable and easy to understand.

  • Richard St. John’s The 8 Secrets of Success

Richard St. John bases his talk on seven years of research work during which he carried out over 500 interviews. He singles out eight main features which are found common in all successful people. These traits are work, ideas, persistence, serve, support, push, practice and passion. These attributes are not just useful for entrepreneurs but for all people in general. According to Richard St. John, if these features are inculcated in people, they can become better version of themselves and may realize their true potential. The video contains a three-minute slideshow which provides sage advice in bite size portions.

TED Talks are treasure trove of actionable advice. The above listed videos can help you in various segments of your entrepreneurial journey.


5 Reasons to Avoid Cheap or Free Cloud Hosting

There is a plethora of choices available when it comes to choosing your web host. Cloud based hosting has become the norm now and there are several options to choose from. However, it is important that you undertake serious analysis before deciding to go with a particular course of action. While you may want to keep your costs down and opt for free or cheap cloud hosting, you should ensure that such freebies do not come with hidden costs. In many cases, such cheap services may actually cost you a lot more in terms of lost sales or credibility. Here are some of the top reasons why going with a free or cheaper cloud hosting option may not be the best choice.

Reliability: The dependability of the service provider is one of the biggest criteria while choosing a hosting partner. This will ensure that your website is up at all the times and will run in a smooth manner. These factors are essential for providing the best services to your clients. In the case of free or cheap cloud hosts, there may not be any certainty about the longevity of their business. If they decide to close their business at any point of time, you will be left with a non-functional website. You may have to incur high expenses to transfer your content to an alternate site. Apart from causing financial loss, this situation will also hamper your daily operations.

Security Issues: Security should be foremost in your mind while selecting a web host. This is especially important if you are hosting an e-commerce website. In such cases, there is a lot of sensitive information at stake. Your free or cheap cloud host may provide unsatisfactory security measures or none at all. Since their servers are shared by a number of websites, the security issues may become even more pertinent. Further, the lack of security tools for the purpose of cost cutting may make things worse. Ultimately, such cheap services may prove to be far more expensive for you.

Poor Performance: There are several factors which determine the efficacy of a website. Some of the main performance metrics are page-load speed, loading error and downtime. Page load speed denotes the time a website takes to display its content. Your free or cheap cloud host may not be able to provide enough bandwidth for the speedy loading of your website. This situation may translate to dissatisfied clients who may choose to take their business elsewhere. Furthermore, many search engines use loading speed as a criterion for ranking purposes. In such cases, you may incur further losses as your website may be ranked lower solely due to its poor loading speed.

Technological Issues: If your host does not have the right technology then your website may show loading errors, again leading to loss of business. If your website frequently faces loading errors, then your clients may switch to a different service provider to avail seamless services. Free or cheap cloud hosts may also experience more frequent downtime, again leading to client loss. Such downtime may be scheduled but they ultimately eat into your business and may cause client dissatisfaction. Such issues are more prevalent with free or cheap cloud host since they may not have resources to offer the latest technological tools.

Lack of Support System: If you do choose a free or cheap cloud host, you may have to run your website without much support. These hosts generally do not provide any support system. In case of any website issues, you are on your own to figure out the problems and resolve them. Further, you may also receive a limited set of features which might not let you design your website according to your requirements. They may only have set templates which you can choose from, limiting your creativity and hampering the productivity of your website. Free or cheap cloud hosts generally provide limited storage and bandwidth which may not be enough to fulfill your requirements.

This is why you can safely conclude that free or cheap cloud hosts are only suitable for temporary websites or when you are just starting out to test the waters. If you are running a professional website and hoping to provide a seamless and fuss-free experience to your clients, you may want to look at other options available in the market.