Cyber-crimes are on the rise, and consumers have already witnessed several major failings from leading businesses. In order for small businesses to compete, they need to demonstrate their POS security. More importantly, they need to back up their promises. Here are some of the top tips for keeping your small business POS safe and secure.
Run Antivirus Software
This step may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget to install a good antivirus. You need this on not only your back-of-house hardware, but also your scanners and primary POS devices. Small business POS often utilizes a single computer or tablet in order to finalize sales. It’s easy to assume these are either already protected by pre-installed software, like Microsoft’s security suite. You might even assume that they simply aren’t vulnerable. Neither may be true. First of all, every piece of technology is open to attack, even if you don’t connect it to public Wi-Fi. Second, keep in mind that not every piece of hardware comes with the same operating systems or extra features. You may be surprised about what your POS lacks when it comes fresh out of the box. In order to protect yourself and your customers, invest in good anti-virus software and apply it wherever possible.
Try Changing Hardware for POS Security
The divide between Windows and Apple can destroy friendships, but even if you are a Microsoft fan, you ought to consider Apple for POS. Many security professionals suggest using an iPad for POS security reasons. Unlike Windows, which runs multiple applications at once, the iPad’s system simply doesn’t allow for the same multitasking. Although this may sound like a disadvantage, the fact is the same multitasking abilities that Microsoft values make it more vulnerable to attacks. If you want a cost-effective solution to solve immediate concerns, using an iPad as your small business POS is a great solution.
If you want a checklist for running a safe and secure POS, check out the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. This list is the ultimate go-to for POS security. It advises businesses on everything from hardware standards to key operating features. The list is updated from time to time to address the latest cyber threats, and in the distant future when our list is no longer relevant, the latest PCI report will still be a reliable standard.
Isolate and Encrypt
The more isolated and the more encrypted your POS, the better. It doesn’t matter how good your POS security is. Exposing it to the wrong network or failing to encrypt it destroys everything you work to protect. Pay close attention to your operating system and how it interacts with networks. Simply connecting your POS system to a network puts it at risk. Also, keep in mind that thorough encryption compensates for many minor errors, even if a hacker steals data while in transit. Fortunately, it remains useless to them so long as it’s encrypted.
POS security comes down to two things. The first is choosing quality hardware and software. The second is vigilance. These tips will help you put together a thorough defense, and you can have better POS security than many major companies competing with your small business.