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Small Businesses Must Put Security First

Small Businesses Must Put Security First

Merchant cash advances, business credit card processing, marketing campaigns – there’s no shortage of issues for small business owners to focus on. However, a recent report from The Associated Press makes the case that one factor may deserve some special attention moving forward.

Internet security is once again in the news following the security breach at Home Depot stores across the country. Charles Tendell, CEO of Azorian Cyber Security, told the AP that small businesses are often more vulnerable to these types of risks than larger companies because they don’t have dedicated security measures in place.

Of course, the Internet doesn’t represent the only security risk for small businesses. Card fraud remains a serious issue, and a recent report from LexisNexis Solutions shows fraud is costing business more in 2014 than it did during the previous year.

More troubling, a shift in liability for this type of fraud is on its way to U.S. businesses. Beginning in October 2015, the liability of credit card purchase fraud will be put on businesses that are not using Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) technology.

“Presently, if you accept a fraudulent payment, the bank issuing the card is liable for the amount of the fraud and the bank will absorb the cost,” stated Educator Paul James Werner in an article for Michigan State University. “There is a ‘liability shift’ that will be actualized in October 2015. If your business accepts a fraudulent payment, and you do not have an EMV card reader, your business will absorb the cost of that fraud. The banks are no longer going to be liable. In other words, if your business processes a fraudulent sale of $25, you will be out that $25 if you do not have an EMV card reader.”

While $25 may not sound like the end of the world, imagine what more expensive fraudulent purchases could do to a business’s bottom line.

How small business can fight back

Combating these risks may seem overwhelming, but there are strategies small business owners can employ to fight back.

First and foremost, investing in proper security measures for work computers is a must. Software that is designed to prevent malware and viruses will go a long way toward keeping small businesses safe.

Additionally, with the shift in liability for card fraud not occurring until October 2015, small businesses still have plenty of time to implement EMV payment processing into their business.

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