Companies of all sizes can experience a security breach. In fact, hackers may target small businesses more, hoping smaller companies won’t be employing the latest security measures. One point of entry for hackers is your point of sale (POS) system.
A data breach can cost your business money and could cause you to lose customers for fear of further hacking. Target’s sales dropped by 46 percent after their security breach in 2013. Don’t let it happen to you. Here are some precautions you can take to help you secure your POS system:
Keep it Current
Many security breaches occur with retailers who have outdated terminals and software. If you’re still using the swipe-only terminals, it’s time to update to the EMV chip-enabled ones. Not only are they more secure, they protect you from monetary damages you might have to pay if you have the older terminals. Also, make sure your operating system is current. Systems that run on Windows XP have been shown to be more vulnerable than newer operating systems.
Dedicated POS System
Your POS system should be reserved for one thing and one thing only – processing payments. If you or your employees use the system to surf the Internet or check email, you could be making yourself vulnerable to malware that can infect your system. When it comes to your payment system, assume every website is a threat.
Choose a Strong Password
It sounds crazy, but some merchants keep the default password that came with their system. That needs to be changed right away. Security experts recommend using upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols for your password. In fact, they discourage you from using dictionary words in a password. Sure, it will be harder to remember, but it will make your POS system much more secure.
Everyone with a POS system is required to be compliant with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. These are information security standards that are designed to further safeguard your system and prevent credit card fraud. Each year anyone with a POS system has to get a PCI security certificate stating they meet the security standards. If you don’t have this certification you are paying a non-compliance fee every month that is costing you extra money. People assume because they pay their merchant fees that this is taken care of for them, but most times that isn’t the case. It’s like registering a car, not only do you have to pay the registration fee you also have to get an inspection in order for your registration to be complete; it works the same way with the PCI Security Standards. The good news is that I walk my client’s through the compliance process as part of Swypit’s services, which takes a lot of the burden off of you to maintain your system’s integrity.
For a complete rundown on the PCI Security Standards, you can check them out at www.pcisecuritystandards.org. Or, feel free to call me at 877-379-9748, and I’ll be happy to walk you through PCI’s standards or answer any of your other questions on keeping your POS system safe and secure!