Over the last 2 years, the retail world has been rocked with data breaches.
Retail giants like Home Depot and Target all had massive breaches, compromising millions of pieces of credit card information to identity-thieves.
While Target and Home Depot suffered little in financial loss for the actual breaches, the same cannot be said for small businesses.
Writing off fraud losses for retail giants is no big deal for their bottom line, the same data breach for a small retailer would be detrimental. Small businesses in general suffer more from these types of data breaches.
Most cannot recover from the loss of funds, causing them to close their doors forever.
Data breaches can be avoided
While many merchants take great care to assure their payment processors are PCI compliant, but they do not take the same measures with their Point of Sale Systems.
All of the major data breaches have been tied to the hackers gaining access through the company’s Point of Sale system.
Merchants often time overlook securing their POS systems, and leave themselves vulnerable to risk.
How can I secure my POS system?
Here’s our short list of what steps your business can take to secure your Point of Sale system.
1). Don’t use weak passwords
Many Point of Sale systems owners do not secure their passwords to their software. This can include creating weak passwords, unchanged passwords that are years old, or no password at all.
If you’re running secured information on that network, the password probably shouldn’t be just the name of your business and the number 1.
Develop a strong password to protect your customer’s information.
2). Don’t use the POS for non-secure reasons
One of the risks of running a small business is allowing employees to use the POS for non-work purposes. This also includes downloading malware onto the POS, or programs susceptible to malware.
Activities like browsing the internet, or downloading games (especially on a tablet POS) should not be done on your POS, since it’s jeopardizing the security of your system.
Another mistake is failure to utilize address verification (AV) software that detects the presence of memory-scraping malware. You POS provider should be able to set you up with the appropriate software to prevent this from happening, but always be smart with downloading items on your POS.
3). Don’t keep your POS on an open network
One of the worst offenders is keeping your POS on the same internet network as your other wifi or ethernet cord. This is an easy way to become a target for a data breach.
“Any POS terminal with an IP address and a connection to a business’s network is as vulnerable to compromise as all the other pieces of equipment in that network. So, too, is any standalone POS terminal that links directly to the internet” (http://pointofsale.com/).
Do not have your POS network one that anyone can access, it makes it too easy for hackers to gain access onto the unsecured network. Failure to separate the network will make your business an easy target for a data breach.
As mentioned earlier, you must make a secure password for this network. This shouldn’t be something easily accessible outsiders or customers.
Don’t fall victim to a data breach
Data breaches can be avoided, if you take care of your Point of Sale system and make sure it’s secure as possible.
Protecting your customer’s information isn’t just about your payment processor, but involves securing your POS system too.
If you’d like to learn more about what steps to take to secure your POS network, or would like a free demo, contact us here.