The Diablog™

Some decisions risk the life of your business.

In May 1854, at the World's Fair in New York City, Elisha Otis elevated himself high above a crowd of spectators on a platform hoisted by a rope. To the crowd's amazement, the rope was cut, and the platform fell. What amazed the crowd was that the platform only fell a few inches and then stopped itself. Otis was demonstrating his invention, an automatic braking system that prevented elevators from free-falling to the ground if the lift system failed. The invention, and the stunt that shed light on it, led to what is today the world's largest elevator company. If the stunt had failed, Otis could have been killed, and his dream of building safe elevators certainly would have been.

Most business decisions do not have life-or-death consequences, but each decision you make does affect the success or failure of your business. Every choice includes some level of risk. Choose to keep your store open after dark, and you accept the risk of increased losses due to theft. Choose to move your store inside a shopping mall, and you accept that the decreased risk of loss due to crime is financially offset by higher rent. Choose to sell your products or services online, and you accept the risk of being held responsible for identity theft.

The biggest risk you might ever take with your business is the choice to accept credit cards on your website. If you choose to avoid ecommerce completely as a way of avoiding risk, you may limit your business opportunities. If you choose to sell online, you may be opening up your business to risks you don't even known exist. For example, if your credit card practices are linked to fraudulent activity, you can be held financially responsible for the losses. In some states, you can also be held criminally responsible. Your link to the fraud might only be that you recklessly record and store credit card information, say, on a Post-It note.

As a business owner you have to decide whether or not to use a professional consultant like an accountant, an attorney, or an ecommerce consultant. Some choices feel like they carry so much risk you would never think about making a decision without help. For example, consulting with an accountant - nobody wants to get in trouble with the IRS. The decision to consult with an attorney may be less clear for you - how big does a contract need to be before you let your lawyer look it over? These decisions are all about managing the risks that are inseparable from running your business.

Ecommerce has become a business necessity. Don’t casually wander into the world of ecommerce and credit card security. Consult with an ecommerce specialist and get it right.

We take credit card security seriously. For over 15 years, we have been helping businesses grow by safely reaching customers on the web. We are happy to talk with you - risk-free - about your business to help you understand the risks and the rewards of ecommerce.