With the advent and spread of debit and credit card services for small business, you need to ensure your business keeps its security measures intact and updated. By keeping yourself and your company up to date on the current trends impacting digital payment methods, you can stay ahead of the criminal curve that remains a constant and growing threat to every business. According to Verizon Enterprise’s 2014 Breach Investigations Report, point-of-sale systems are one of the prime targets for hackers.
Securing your point-of-service equipment, financial data and sensitive customer information is a challenging endeavor, and it should be something you spend the appropriate resources on to ensure you get it done correctly. Failure to adequately create a safety framework for your POS terminal can result in lost profits, decreased confidence in your business and an exodus of customers.
Focus on these security methods to stay one step ahead of hackers:
Point-to-Point Encryption, otherwise known as P2PE, uses cryptographic keys to encrypt and decrypt data to secure devices, apps and processes. The key the system uses will only be known to the payment company. While this safety feature increases transaction security, it also requires a hefty investment of both time and money to create an in-house P2PE system. Consider partnering with other companies for additional infrastructure assistance.
EMV systems also provide a powerful guard against hacking credit card databases. The EMV card has an integrated microchip built into the card which also employs cryptographic security measures to protect the sensitive financial data in your system. According to eSecurityPlanet, the lack of EMV adoption in the U.S. is one of the main reasons for the increase in cyberattacks on U.S. retailers.
You can also employ tokenization of account numbers to protect your customers’ information. This process involves replacing a primary account number with a substitute value. Tokenization is an ideal choice if you handle recurring billing and future payments. It should be noted, though, that if a hacker remotely installs malware on your POS devices, your system might still be vulnerable to a data breach.
By merging these three systems together, you can ensure you have an incredibly secure POS system. However, aside from implementing a more advanced form of data security systems, here are some simple techniques you can take to increase your system’s security:
- Change the password: Many owners never change the default password on their POS systems. Cybercriminals have no trouble finding these default passwords and using them to their advantage. Always ensure you change the default password, and change it regularly. Try to not use common terms and try to make the password a complex phrase to ensure additional security.
- Update the software: If you’ve never updated the POS software you use, there’s a good chance it’s vulnerable to a cyberattack. Many of the updates for the system have typically been designed in response to a particular vulnerability or perceived threat. While these upgrades might be costly, they most likely still pale in comparison to the fallout from a company-wide data breach.
- Use a firewall: By segmenting your data and installing firewalls to block access to outside sources, you can greatly increase your POS system’s security features. You should install both host- and network-based firewalls as well as a way to monitor the traffic going into and out of your network
- Use Antivirus: A quality antivirus program will protect your POS system from malicious software. For additional defenses, consider installing a full endpoint protection suite that includes intrusion detection software as well as firewalls and traffic monitoring.