Colleges and universities are becoming increasingly business-focused, seeking out new ways to process transactions and also to process the high volume of payments data resulting from those transactions. It’s a two-fold issue; on one hand, it’s imperative to maintain high security standards for sensitive payment data and to ensure that back-end workflows are streamlined so all departments across campus are on the same page. On the other hand, it’s also important to improve the student experience of paying for college—and other expenses wrapped into the college experience.
Finding efficient ways to prepare for the unpredictable by effectively utilizing and protecting payments data is important. It’s also extremely difficult for higher ed, which faces the challenge of multiple campus units and various departments across each campus. Data must be processed, securely stored, and consistent across these units. It’s important that the right technology is in place to support this mission.
An even bigger issue is the reality that we are living in a disruptive period where, in addition to rapidly evolving platforms and systems that must be upgraded, bad actors are actively seeking out vulnerable systems to exploit. It points to a need for a holistic, unified system for processing, securing, and storing data as well as excellent analytics capabilities. It also signals a heightened need for enhanced data analytics and intelligence.
Lock it Up: Keeping Data Safe
Higher ed is not alone in the struggle to unify payments systems and data. Most businesses fall short in this area, making them vulnerable to breaches and hacks. Higher education breaches, in particular, have skyrocketed over the past several years, increasing 103% in 2017.
A Gemalto report found that identity theft was the number one motivator for breaches, signaling that universities need to step up their ability to protect large numbers of users. The Ponemon Institute notes that educational records were sold at $265 in 2018—an increase from $245 the year prior. As a treasure trove of valuable information, universities must establish and abide by data security best practices and have systems and processes in place in the event best practices fail. A university cannot predict when this will happen, but based on the dismal higher education data breach statistics, it’s good to have a plan in place.
Look it Up: Using Data for Better Insights
Payments fraud is not relegated to retail alone. The decentralized nature of college payments actually make them more susceptible to fraud. In fact, consider the following potential fraud types:
Registers that come up short at sporting concession stands
Discrepancies in revenues at satellite campuses
Refund fraud where an employee issues a fake refund to his/her own credit card for a class paid for by a student’s credit card.
These things happen. Fortunately, having unified payments strategies and technologies in place enable better auditing and reconciliation across campus. This makes it easier to detect and prevent fraud instances like those described above.
Partner with the Payments Preparedness Experts
Whether you’re trying to streamline your payments on the back- or front-end, improving fraud prevention measures, or ensuring your sensitive payments data is protected, we can help you prepare for the unpredictable.
We can help you select the best solutions and follow best practices to be prepared for anything that comes your way. Contact us today to learn how we can help you create a sound strategy for a secure future.