How To Prevent Data Breaches: Three Steps

How to Prevent Data Breaches: Three Steps

Does your company know how to prevent a data breach? One thing the Equifax and Marriott data breaches (and countless others) have shown is that customer data won’t stay safe if a business isn’t protected.

Data breach prevention is an important way to protect your customers and your brand, but it also helps your company remain financially stable. Data breaches can bring possible litigation, lost revenue and have even caused businesses to go under.

Here are three tips on how to prevent data breaches to ensure your company’s sensitive consumer credit card data stays secure.

1. Consult with Vendors

Customers want to pay online, by email, or through a text–and expect your company to offer these options. But digital payments need to be protected.

To prevent data breaches, you need to give your customers a safe, secure payment environment. Payment vendors should know how to prevent a data breach through software features and regulation compliance.

Ask vendors what they do to keep your company and your customers safe.


The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has created PCI compliance rules for any business that accepts card payments.

To keep consumer data safe and stay compliant with PCI standards, all businesses must adhere to one of four levels of PCI compliance.

Look for a vendor with Level 1 compliance–the highest level possible–to be sure consumers are as safe as possible making card payments.


If companies want to know how to prevent a data breach without spending extra money and employee time, look for a vendor that stores payment data so you don’t have to.

Consumer payment information doesn’t ever have to enter your system record–even for agent-assisted telephone payments.

PDCflow’s Flow Technology reduces your PCI compliance scope by making it possible to accept credit card payments without hearing, seeing, or storing sensitive details.

Through an email or SMS payment request or online payment, your customers can enter their own details without having to read them over the phone or write them on paper forms. This makes PCI compliance simple.


PCI compliance guide for businesses

PCI DSS Compliance Symbol


Vendors who specialize in payments should be serious about security. Here are a few other achievements to look for in your payment vendors:

  • Encryption and tokenization - you want customer payment details to be protected. Your vendor should encrypt and tokenize payment details so they remain private.

  • HIPAA Certification - healthcare providers, medical billing companies or others that handle protected health information (PHI) should only use HIPAA compliant technology to transmit PHI (this includes email and text message billing practices).

  • Uptime - your payment software should be reliable through both payment security and remaining operational so you can take payments from customers.

2. Understand PCI Requirements

While good payment software will take you out of PCI compliance scope, business owners must still understand what must be done at the company level to remain PCI compliant. What do agency owners need to understand?


There are four levels of PCI compliance, based upon the number of card transactions you process per year. The team members at your payment software company should be well-versed in PCI compliance requirements. If you don’t know what actions to take based on your PCI goals and compliance level, reach out to them for help.


How to Prevent Data Breaches

3. Review and Strengthen Internal Policies

Along with knowing the basics and understanding how to prevent a data breach through your payment software, it’s important to identify how internal processes can put sensitive data at risk.

  • Don’t store card data. Instead, have your payment software provider do it for you. Keeping this information on a server in your care increases the likelihood of a breach.
  • Don’t keep hard copy files that contain sensitive information. If you must, keep them in locked cabinets in a restricted-access area.
  • Appoint a person or team to be in charge of understanding security and compliance requirements.
  • Have the security officer or team create and maintain training materials and train staff on compliance expectations.
  • Educate and train employees on basic security measures. Teach them how to avoid human error-caused data breaches that can happen through events like phishing attack emails and social engineering scams.


It’s common for modern offices and call centers to operate on hybrid and remote-first policies. Businesses need to know how to prevent data breaches with a remote workforce.

Your company policies and procedures should include PCI compliance standards for how to handle sensitive information as well as general data security best practices. Include policies like:

  • Keeping a clean work area. Documents containing important customer information should never be left out where unauthorized people can see them.

  • Locking workstations. Employees should lock their computer screens any time they aren’t in use. This prevents unauthorized access to office systems and files.

  • Requiring dual authentication. Using dual authentication to access internal systems and files, you create an extra layer of protection for your payment data.


Massive data breaches are damaging to your brand, but targeted fraud and data theft hurt your reputation (and bottom line) too. Call centers and other offices that take payments over the phone need to prevent data breaches–both large and small–to establish trust.

Be aware of ways you can minimize risk of fraud along with preventing a data breach. The simplest way you can prevent fraud and data breaches is to reduce how much information your employees see, hear, and store.

For agent assisted payments, it’s best to give customers a fast, convenient self-service option so they can type their own card payment data. This prevents staff from mishandling payment information, whether accidentally or for the purpose of fraud.


Flow Technology for PCI Compliant Agent-Assisted Payments

Flow Technology for PCI Compliant Agent-Assisted Payments

PDCflow and Flow Technology for Security and Compliance

PDCflow offers a variety of payment and communication features that provide regulation compliance and make it easier to prevent data breaches.

  • Level 1 PCI compliance requires scans, penetration testing and other measures that ensure confidential information stays secure. PDCflow maintains Level 1 PCI compliance to keep your customer payment data safe.
  • PDCflow’s patented Secure Overlay technology captures and stores payment data without the need for it to ever enter your records. Taking care of your data capture and storage reduces your company’s risk and the scope of your PCI compliance requirements.
  • Flow Technology lets your organization send email and text payment requests to customers, so they can enter their own payment card information. This can be done, even on a call with a live agent, keeping payment details private.
  • PDCflow’s Organizational Hierarchy offers a way to restrict access to payment information based on staff groups, departments, or locations.

Secure payment software saves your business money by preventing damage to your company’s reputation. Flow Technology also helps with other aspects of security and compliance and make workflows simpler and easier to complete.

    For more on how PDCflow keeps your company and customers secure, request a demo from a PDCflow Payment Expert.

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    Hannah Huerta - PDCflow Marketing Specialist
    Hannah Huerta, Marketing Specialist

    Hannah Huerta is a Marketing Specialist at PDCflow. She creates content for the accounts receivable and payment industry.

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