What is POS Security and Why You Should Care

Did you know that your Point-of-sale (POS) system could be vulnerable to hackers and data theft? POS security is no joke. According to the 2017 Trustwave Global Security Report, even with advancements in chip-based payments, 31 percent of companies reported security incidents affecting their POS systems; that’s up from 22 percent in 2015.

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What is POS Security?

POS security involves the prevention of unauthorized access to electronic payment systems by individuals or POS Security in Your Small Businessgroups who are usually trying to steal customers’ personal details, such as names, credit card numbers, and physical addresses. Many of these attacks are automated, which means potential vulnerabilities can be targeted with minimal effort. Once a vulnerability is detected and the attacker is able to breach the system, malware is then installed in order to collect the sought after data. This sensitive data is then sent to the attacker for exploitation. Most business owners don’t realize that even the most advanced POS systems will have some level of vulnerability to such attacks. You don’t need to look further than the many high profile data breaches of sensitive customer data that have happened over the last five years. For example, consider what happened to Target in December of 2013 or Home Depot the following year.

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POS Security Best Practices

Here are a number of things you can do in your business to help secure your POS system against compromises and data theft:

Do your research. Before picking a POS software you should make sure that you know all the details about it. Check if it comes with the latest anti-malware and antivirus protection, and make sure that it receives updates regularly. If your system is outdated and is no longer supported by the manufacturer, then you are in effect gambling with your customers’ data.

Use encryption. Encrypt all POS data as it is received and unencrypt it when it reaches the payment processor.

Keep your POS software up-to-date. But, these updates won’t help you much if you don’t make an effort to install them.

Monitor all POS activity and conduct vulnerability testing. The goal is to quickly identify any potential threats or vulnerabilities in the system so you can respond right away. You should also run antivirus software and periodically scan your systems for malicious files.

Segment your networks. Keep your POS system separate from your other business networks.

Use thoughtful authentication. Use complex, secure passwords and two-factor authentication.

Bottom line: your POS security is not something you want to avoid or treat lightly. Your customers’ data, and your business, depends on it.

*This article was brought to you by partech.com

Image courtesy of phanlop88 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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