If you love comic books or action movies, you’ve seen your favorite superheroes in action. Those unique abilities set them apart and give them the strength to fight crime. You too can become a crime-fighting hero by making safe data collection a priority.

In fact, with the proper safety standards in place, it can become a sort of superpower. Implementing measures to ensure secure data might sound boring. But, in reality, a security makeover of your online forms accomplishes two goals:

And any time you can reach multiple goals in one fell swoop, that is a superpower, in my book.

Does My SBE or MBE Need Data Security?

If you’re a small- or medium-sized business owner, you might be wondering if you truly do need to worry about data security. Our answer is a resounding, YES! Data breaches are on the rise!

Based on the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, hackers view smaller businesses as lacking the security standards and resources of their larger counterparts. Thus, they set their sights on these businesses 43% of the time!

Hackers want your user data. Once they have it, they can sell it on the dark web, use it to apply for loans or credit, or conduct other illegal activities.

These devious criminals have a single-minded goal: to steal your data for nefarious purposes. And it’s up to you to don your cape and stop them!

The Need for Secure Online Forms

Enter the need for secure online forms.

Forms present a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they serve the noble purpose of growing the economy when in the hands of a superhero like you. But, on the other hand, they serve as a weapon in the hands of a hacker.

Collecting data exposes a weakness in your system. However, you know you need to collect data to continue to grow.

What are some of the online forms we commonly see in use by EmailMeForm customers like you?

Newsletter Subscription Form

If you offer a newsletter to market your business and keep your customers in the loop, good for you! You’re taking a valuable step in connecting with your customers.

subscription form for data collection
Use a secure online form for your newsletter subscription.

However, even a simple subscription form contains a user’s email address and other info that hackers would enjoy gathering.

For example, a national pet store chain asks subscribers if they own a dog, cat, or a bird and then requests the pet’s name. Hackers can use that pet name to try to guess a user’s password. (Hint: read this article on setting up a strong password. And, for Pete’s Sake, don’t use your pup’s name).

Feedback Form

Many online retailers and service businesses use forms to measure customer satisfaction after the sale and also to invite them to spend money again. This form is incredibly useful for engaging and boosting sales.

However, a feedback form also frequently includes more than just yes and no questions. They often include space to gather valuable customer demographics. Think of users’ physical mailing addresses, phone numbers, and other personally identifiable information.

Thus, you create pain points that expose the weakness of your users to the ill-doings of a cybercriminal–unless you use secure forms.

Payment Form

From the eyes of a hacker, a payment form is the Holy Grail of forms to hack. You need this data to keep your revenue flowing, but hackers strive to get this data into their greedy mitts.

After all, you’re collecting highly sensitive information–credit card numbers or bank routing. Plus, you’ll ask for address information and other personally identifiable information.

Related: How to Create Secure Online Forms

How to Elevate Your Data Collection Standards

Ok. You worked hard to build your business. You’re not going to let someone come in and steal your data without a fight! So now you’re ready to don your cape and swoop into action.

Errr. But how?

The only way you can ensure that you are partnering with an online form builder that checks off each of the following boxes.

PCI-certified

First off, use a form company that is PCI-certified. PCI stands for “Payment Card Industry,” a body that includes the largest credit card names in the world–Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. And, the “certified” part of their name is as it implies.

Any company bearing the claim of “PCI-Certified” must meet or exceed a long list of PCI standards. Then, they must pass an independent audit to prove their systems are in place. It’s a long, challenging, and expensive process. Not all form companies invest their time, resources, or funds into the process.

However, EmailMeForm is proud to be PCI-certified. This accreditation proves that we have flexed our superheroic muscles and established ourselves to those auditors as industry leaders.

Multi-factor Authentication

Next, look for a form provider who offers you the opportunity to use Multi-factor Authentication when you implement online forms to collect data. Anybody who tries to retrieve your data will need to pass not one security challenge (like a password) but two (password + pin/fingerprint/other challenges).

Think of it like this.

The villain somehow gained control of a warship. He plans to enter a sequence that will launch weapons and start a war. But he just noticed that he has a little problem–he needs two keys to start the countdown. But he only has one. Womp womp womp.

For a form, that “second key” is your second security test.

Oh, and by the way, EmailMeForm customers can set up multi-factor authentication to prevent fraudulent log-in activity.

A Special Vault for More Secure Data

Now, let’s take that villain with his missing second key scenario just a little bit further.

Where does the commander of the warship keep that second key? Let’s argue that it’s not on his person–that’s too easy! Instead, let’s imagine that they have a secret vault–a special hiding place that only the most trusted personnel may access.

As with the other data security measures we mentioned, we also provide customers the opportunity to secure data in our Vault. Think of it as a space for owners of small- to medium-sized businesses to keep their valuables. In this case, it’s a place to lock away the personally identifiable information of their users.

Final Thoughts on Becoming a Guardian of Your Data

With these criminals lurking around the dark corners of the world wide web, are you ready to step up and become a champion for the cause of safe data collection? Because the world needs a superhero–just like you!

Get out there and flex those data-collecting muscles. You’ll be able to protect your users from foul play as you continue to grow your business.

secure data with EmailMeForm cta

Author Deborah Tayloe

Deborah Tayloe

Deborah is a blogger and freelancer who often writes for EmailMeForm. When she’s not blogging, you’ll probably find Deborah working on DIY projects around her home in North Carolina.

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