The information technology channel observer Business Solutions Magazine (BSMinfo.com) ran a recent guest column by Andrew Bagrin, Founder and CEO, My Digital Shield is on topic in this regard, but his focus is more on the users than the technology involved. “What’s even more troubling is that many of these breaches were easily preventable — a fact no one is really talking about,” Bagrin writes. “While a few were the result of sophisticated assaults, most were the result of lax security on the part of the business owners and around the POS solution.”
As the only full-service point of sale provider — from software development to franchise incubator to ongoing support — part of Sintel’s commitment to our customers and business community is to share relevant ideas, information and industry news.
Here are the highlights of Bagrin’s post, “POS Security: 5 Ways To Protect Against Data Breaches”:
• The BSMinfo.com post notes that according to a Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, nearly 15 percent of all data breaches in 2013 occurred because of POS vulnerabilities. Based upon the pattern Bagrin is seeing in 2014, the numbers will increase in 2015 and continue to wreak havoc on consumers and businesses alike.
• Securing the network — and everything attached to it — is a top priority that no one can afford to ignore. In his post, Bagrin shares his five best practices that will help minimize IT security risks and better protect customers’ data:
Create Strong Passwords
Weak passwords enable 31 percent of data breaches to occur, according to the 2014 Trustwave Global Security Report. Many business owners either use the default passwords, or they use passwords that are weak and easy to guess. Bagrin encourages clients to create passwords that are alphanumeric, mix capital and lower case letters, and contain varied symbols.
Ensure The POS System Is Up-To-Date
Bagrin believes older point of sale machines are much easier to bypass than newer ones. “Such was the case with El Agave Mexican Restaurant in Fairmont, Minnesota,” he writes. “Just weeks away from investing in new machines, the small restaurant was hit with a breach in which credit cards were stolen.”
Protect POS Credentials
Bagrin believes this is important for small business owners and point of sale vendors alike, because once credentials get out into the open, “breach” becomes plural, as the credentials can often be used on all clients using the same point of sale software. POS vendors should use the same smart password protocols as small businesses, and they would be wise to use different passwords for each client.
Avoid Web Browsing On POS Terminals
An easy way to expose POS software vulnerabilities is to browse the web and accidentally download malware through a malicious website or a phishing scam. Bagrin encourages his clients to adopt a best practice and conduct all web work on a separate computer or restrict where and what employees can browse.
Implement Good Antivirus Protection
“We’re preaching to the choir here, but all of the above practices mean nothing without quality protection in place,” Bagrin writes. “A strong firewall, denial of service defense, intrusion protection, malware/virus protection, encryption, and the like are all essentials for small businesses to stay ahead of the curve.”
• Bagrin closes his post by noting that small businesses are often much more concerned about physical losses rather than digital losses, so online security is often much less of a priority than it should be. Bagrin repeatedly reminds business owners, particularly those with highly vulnerable POS systems, about the importance of staying ahead of online threats. “Don’t wait for a client to become a statistic,” he advises. “Be proactive and help small and medium sized businesses to protect themselves and the customers they serve.”
Read Andrew Bagrin’s full BSMinfo.com post here.
Just as Sintel shares our vast point of sale experience and expertise with startup owners in order to help them make the best decisions from the very beginning, we are happy to share articles, advice and commentary about retail point of sale and security.
Whether you’re a first-time franchise hopeful, a small business owner or an established chain, it’s always smart to stay on top of the latest point of sale best security practices to achieve financial success.
If you are interested in learning more about Sintel’s point of sale systems and how our knowledge and support can impact your future success, call us for a complimentary phone consultation.
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