Why Merchants are Making Payment Data Security a Priority in the Times of Covid-19

Sunil Khosla, President- Digital Business, India Transact Services Limited | Monday, 17 August 2020, 06:03 IST

Why Merchants are Making Payment Data Security a Priority in the Times of Covid-19

Sunil is the President Digital Business – Retail of India Transact Services Limited (ITSL). He is also the Chief Marketing Officer of ITSL’s Holding Company i.e. AGS Transact Technologies Limited (AGSTTL). He has been associated with ITSL since September 10, 2015. He holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from Apeejay School of Marketing, New Delhi and the Advanced Program in Sales and Marketing Management from National Institute of Sales. He has approximately 19 years of experience in sales and distribution. Prior to joining ITSL, he was Chief –Sales (CP – MNT) at Pidilite Industries Limited. He has also worked with Max New York Life Insurance as Assistant Vice President – Distribution and Danone BOP India as President – Sales & Distribution. He has also worked with ITC Limited. He has represented ITSL at the Retail Technology Conclave 2018 and at India Retail & eRetail Congress 2018. He has also been recognized as one of the Greatest Marketing Influencers 2018 by CMO Asia. Mr. Khosla has been awarded the “Young Digital Person of the Year” award at the Digital Customer Experience Summit 2019 by Zendesk. He has also represented AGSTTL as a panelist at fintegrate.zone and as an industry speaker at the Innovation Bootcamp 2019 organized by Transformance Business Media; and has also participated at the Retail Leadership Summit.


The coronavirus pandemic has had far reaching consequences, beyond the spread of the virus and the damage continues with no clarity as to when things will be back to normal. As social distancing and virtual business operations become the new normal, it is more important than ever for merchants to optimise their transaction procedures, prevent data compromise and close security gaps.

Amid the crisis when many businesses have been forced to partially shut their physical storefronts and move to ecommerce/digital space and internet usage remains at its highest in the recent past, it has also opened windows for cybercriminals who are leveraging global crisis to their advantage and gain access to systems, data and money. While this is a logical transition considering the current situation, those who are new to the digital space might encounter few issues that they are not prepared or are currently not educated enough to face. Prolonged isolation has made people anxious and vulnerable to make mistakes that can cost them large sums of money.

Times are Critical!

Digital transactions are no longer just a convenience, but a critical component of business operations. The increase in internet usage and temporary decrease in debit/credit card transactions during the crisis is leaving many enterprises vulnerable to theft, breach, and fraud. Cybercriminals continue to exploit the global crisis to their advantage by using this time to breach security gaps at an alarming rate. This makes it crucial for merchants who accept digital transactions to make payment data security a priority.

As cyber threats are at their highest, now is the time for merchants to be vigilant, use extreme caution and make sure they promote security and reduce potential losses. As we rally together to curb the impact of the virus on our economy, it is also the time to ensure the prosperity of companies today and in the future. It remains a top priority to bring awareness to business owners and enterprise organizations to mitigate security gaps and prevent vulnerability.

Small merchants have already been severely impacted by the ongoing crisis, so the effect of further damage is even more catastrophic. For those merchants who are able to offer online shopping services, it has never been more important to secure their checkout and protect their business and customers from falling victim to cybercrime and online fraudsters.

Data Security Remains a Priority

While the world is grappling with an unprecedented pandemic, hackers are trying to take advantage of the rapid alterations happening across industries. Working from home has become a new normal as social distancing remains the safest option. The sudden transformation in settings brings forward cyber security threats since the critical IT infrastructure is being accessed remotely by users.

Data security is a priority and need of the hour because of varied reasons. This include - collaboration tools such as Zoom, Skype etc. are increasingly being used for team interactions, physical oversight of IT infrastructure is not possible and also, critical company data is available on endpoint devices.

To keep ourselves cyber secured, we need to use reliable and trustworthy channels to get/transfer information especially on sensitive topics, combine detection tools with cyber threat intelligence to protect systems, ensure the usage of tools like encryption, multi-factor authentication (OTP, biometric, digital signatures), VPN etc.

Summing It All Up

In this uncertain time, ecommerce businesses need to tackle two of the greatest hurdles - satisfying consumer demand for greater flexibility in the way they pay, and offering them a more seamless checkout experience while giving the customer peace of mind that the payment is secure.

Therefore, merchants should cautiously choose a payment service provider, the one that can be adaptable and mindful of the bigger picture of solutions as the market evolves. Though the pandemic will pass, it has given us lessons to be better prepared to deal with other global events in the future. Now is the right time to take steps to safeguard our businesses against fraud and future proof the checkout process in order to remain competitive and reliable.