If you stripped away everything at your retail location, what would be the most important? Well, there are two answers to this question, actually — your inventory and your payment processing system.
A good POS system is the key to your business; it will help you process a lot more payments than you might think. A lot of people take a good POS system for granted, expecting it to always be there for them and their customers. However, there are other people that are looking at your POS system closely, and they aren’t on your side! They are hackers that understand how to exploit weaknesses in your POS security.
The key to protecting your business is to create a POS so secure, you could bet on it. This is where outsourcing with a good outside security firm is necessary. You can be sure that your systems are functioning properly and even get a vulnerability assessment on systems in question so that any and all flaws and be discovered and remediated – before the hackers even have a chance.
As the holiday season is upon us, consumers and businesses have to be more careful than ever not to become victims of data and identify theft. As the fastest growing financial crime in America, data theft is increasing every year and now the perpetrators could be anyone from store employees to criminals half-way across the world! Save yourself not only the time and money but also the hassle of worrying around the holiday and follow the precautions below to protect yourself!
1. Check Statements: By checking your statements frequently you can ensure that all the charges are legitimate and match your records. Second, by checking on how frequently you receive statements lets you know if someone has stolen them in transit or from your mailbox.
2. Limit Information: Many people include additional information on checks such as driver’s license and social security numbers for convenience. Unfortunately, if that information falls into the wrong hands you could be breached. You can protect yourself by writing only your first initial in the name space so that if someone did get your check they would not know your full name. Or include your home phone number instead of other important information so that the store may call and verify that the check is legitimate.
3. Look at your credit report: Everyone should monitor their credit report once a year, which has become much more convenient for consumers since they can now be found for free. The website, annualcreditreport.com offers consumers an annual free credit report. You should review it to make sure that all of the information is correct and that there aren’t any other accounts or suspicious entries that you are unaware of.
4. Pay at Post Office: After the holidays, bills quickly show up. Fight all temptations to leave sensitive mail with critical information in the mailbox. Some important information that could be obtained from your bills include your name, address, credit account number, bank information and even your signature from checks. Take the extra trip and drop your bills at your nearest U.S. Postal Service drop box or the office.
5. Shred It: One way that your data can be stolen is through “dumpster divers” who comb through trash to find documents that contain data information such as old bills, credit card statements, old credit cards, ATM receipts, medical statements or even junk mail like credit card and mortgage applications. The only way to combat these dumpster divers is too shred all your information.
6. Remove credit cards: As many holiday gifts come with rebate offers, be sure to remove all purchasing information, like credit cards numbers before giving or sending in receipts to redeem your rebates.
7. Destroy digital data: Computer systems are common Christmas gifts but as older models are sold, traded or disposed, precious data is left on the system. While many people think that simply deleting the data or reformatting the hard drive will wipe the system clean but unfortunately that is not the case. Special products like WipeDrive make sure that all of your data is completely removed and cannot be retrieved from tech-savvy thieves.
8. Fraud Protection: Ask your bank or any financial institution if a fraud program exists and what the terms are. It is important to verify that you have a protection program in place to protect you from paying additional out-of-pocket fees. If you are a business owner, some PCI compliance service providers have programs in place for an additional layer of protection in the event of a breach. All SecureConnect customers are covered by the Breach Protection Program that offers up to $100,000 in coverage, nearly double the industry average.
9. Shop Secure: Online shopping is an easy and convenient way to purchase gifts this season but shoppers beware, your credit card information could just as easily get stolen. Make sure to shop on trusted websites that display web seals (verification that the website is encrypted and safe.) Also, be sure when making purchases to use a secure network unlike most Wi-Fi that can be picked up in public places.
10. Choose Compliant Retailers: Most importantly, no matter how many steps you take to protect yourself from data breaches, if retailers are not PCI compliant then your data is left exposed and open to theft. If you want to know if the retailers you are shopping with are PCI compliant, just call and ask their corporate headquarters.
Remember criminals don’t take a break just because it’s the holidays so follow these tips and proactively protect yourself from identity or data theft this season!
Of the 801 companies surveyed more than 27 percent, up from 18 percent, reported data losses, meanwhile physical property dropped below the 28 percent that was reported in 2009.
The Kroll survey also reports that organized crime has started to work through the internet to target unsuspecting victims, making cross-border crime much easier and possible. These criminals, who are fishing for vital data, are usually not apprehended, less than 1 percent are caught.
As these data issues start to become large threats; business owners need to safeguard themselves, customers and the business from potential threats. A recent survey by the PwC found that more than half of companies expect to increase their spending on protecting intellectual property.
Learning the PCI requirements is something that every manager will eventually need to think about, but that doesn’t mean that the information is always pleasant. Indeed, there is a lot to think about and not a lot of time to get everything worked into your schedule. This means that you will have to take extra steps to ensure that you are getting your company’s PCI compliance needs taken care of.
As mentioned before, learning the PCI requirements isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. It’s all a matter of getting the right experts to consult with you about such highly sensitive matters. Security is something that is ongoing in your business, and the right consulting firm understands this more than anything else. When you know that you need to get your business up to speed with respect to security, it’s better to get an expert in than try to do everything yourself.
An outside security firm can help you really develop a sharp plan that will make it flawless to incorporate strong security, which will make handling PCI compliance a breeze. With so much riding on the strength of the security within your organization, it’s a good idea to get started right away in order to really get things done — don’t delay!
Think that only your technical team needs to know about data security? If this is the assumption that you’re currently operating under, you might want to change that way of thinking quickly. You see, if there are members of your organization that don’t have basic data security measures down pat, you could have a potential security breach waiting to happen.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that a breach will happen, but you aren’t as secure and safe as you might imagine. The human element has long been considered the weakest link of any corporate security plan, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be that way. Indeed, you can actually take your time with your staff and develop a data security education plan that really works.
To get started, you need to decide whether or not you have the resources already to really teach your staff what they need to know. Your technical team may be able to help you out with this, but they may already have their own projects. Of course, if they already have more than enough on their plates…why not hire a consulting company that can take over for them?
This will let your technical team handle the issues that are pressing your business the most, while being able to still take care of the security issues that everyone needs to be aware of. Get started today — why delay another moment?