09 25 2015

Alleviate Consumer Cybersecurity Fears

09 25 2015

Alleviate Consumers’ Cybersecurity Fears By Protecting Their Financial Data

Staying one step ahead of cybercriminals means small business owners need to ensure their point-of-sale systems are secure, which sometimes necessitates obtaining a working capital loan to upgrade all the expensive technology. While older systems might continue to work in many instances, cybercriminals are constantly updating their methods to victimize businesses and consumers, forcing owners to do the same to protect their sensitive data.

According to a recent Gallup survey, American consumers’ biggest worry about crime was having their credit information stolen and used to buy goods and services at stores. An overwhelming 69 percent of Americans responded that this was a greater fear than having a car stolen, getting mugged, having their homes burglarized or any other crime.

Yet as more consumers shift to electronic payments, it raises the risk of security breaches at point-of-sale terminals, and for small businesses, this means maintaining the necessary safety measures to keep these thieves at bay.

Installing EMV readers

While many credit/debit cards currently utilize a magnetic stripe to transfer information between the bank and the store, this method is insecure and leads to counterfeiting and stolen information. Currently, losses incurred in the U.S. due to card-related financial fraud amount to an estimated $8.6 billion a year, Payments Leader reported.

One of the ways the payment industry is combating the rise of cybercrime is by transitioning away from the use of magnetic cards and toward cards with EMV technology embedded in them. These cards replace the old, insecure magnetic stripes with microchips that create a unique code each time a customer makes a purchase, making it more difficult for criminals to steal and counterfeit the data.

Many business owners have already witnessed the added security features that EMV technology cards provide for their customers. For the rest, the change will be much more important when the U.S. officially makes its payment liability shift for stores on Oct. 1, 2015. On this date, businesses that have not made the switch to using EMV-compliant devices but still accept EMV-compliant cards will be financially liable for any losses that result from a fraudulent transaction. The hope is this liability shift will force more businesses to upgrade their POS systems to accept these so-called chip-and-PIN cards.

Shifting an entire POS system can cut into the budget, but a working capital loan can help.

Consider cloud services

For many small businesses, data usage and storage is not that demanding. Because of this, many companies may only have a small in-house server to handle all computing needs. However, these smaller servers don’t always have the security functions necessary to truly protect the sensitive data they’re storing.

An easy way to ensure bleeding-edge cybersecurity that is constantly upgraded is by storing all the data on a cloud server. For small businesses, these cloud-as-a-server applications can be tailored to meet just about any company’s specific demands. In addition, it can free up both space and resources, since companies no longer need to physically store, cool and constantly upgrade big, bulky servers.

Cloud vendors are more than merely digital storage providers, their business revolves around securely protecting the data they store. These vendors rely so much on the fact that they need to have the best cybersecurity possible, it’s built into their business model.

According to SmallBusinessComputing, Lilac Schoenbeck, vice president of Product Management and Marketing at Iland, a cloud-storage company, said her company’s business is protecting the workloads of clients. The vendors in her industry figuratively “live or die by the security of our infrastructure and our environment.”

Utilize equipment leasing

Constantly updating and ensuring a company’s technology is compliant with various industry regulations can be a burden on the bottom line. A surefire way to cut overhead without damaging the security infrastructure of a company is to lease the necessary equipment.

Leasing equipment allows owners to keep pace with the ever-evolving technology needed to protect customers’ financial information and the company’s cash flow. Owners can upgrade the machinery and equipment without having to worry about depreciation or expiring warranties. In addition, equipment leasing offers significant tax benefits for small businesses, allowing owners the opportunity to grow their companies without the restraints of shelling out for new expenses.

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