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4 Security Features You Want in a POS for Small Business

Ray Moorman

No business is too small to be a target for cyberthieves. When choosing a POS system, make sure it has the following four features to keep sensitive data safe.

Meets latest security standards
Cybercriminals move fast, but so do evolving security standards. Any merchant will want to ask a prospective POS system vendor about two key issues: the impending EMV shift and PCI compliance.

EMV technology increases cardholder security and chip card technology is becoming the global standard for both credit and debit card payments.To increase the adoption of chip technology, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express will implement a liability shift for domestic and cross-border counterfeit transactions effective October 1, 2015. Once the shift goes into effect, merchants who have not made the investment in chip-enabled acceptance technology may be held financially liable for in-store fraud that could have been prevented with the use of a chip-enabled acceptance device.

Meanwhile, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council continually mandates improvements. On June 30, a new set of standards called PCI 3.1 went into effect (2). Business owners would be wise to ensure their vendors are compliant with the new standards.

Uses encryption
POS systems must ensure secure payment processing as data zooms around the globe. This is where end-to-end encryption (E2E) comes in. E2E protects cardholder data from the point of entry and while in transit to be processed. State-of-the-art encryption devices mask card information prior to performing an electronic payment transaction, so that merchants never have contact with unsecured information.

Supports tokenization
Tokenization also makes card data useless by replacing it with a “token” that, even if intercepted, is useless to thieves. Tokens are particularly useful in situations where the card number is stored for future use like recurring billing or tip adjustment. The combination of P2PE and tokenization creates a comprehensive and powerful solution for merchant and consumer data protection.

Backed by employees
Human beings can make even the most secure POS system vulnerable. For instance, one survey found that a surprising number of data breaches take place because business owners and staff fail to change default logins and passwords (3). Another widespread form of fraud can be thwarted by training staff to check POS units for skimmers — devices thieves attach to POS machines to steal data.

  1. http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/news/2240240160/Will-Chip-and-PIN-technology-boost-payment-card-transaction-security
  2. http://www.paymentssource.com/news/retail-acquiring/pci-council-delivers-31-version-of-security-standards-3021103-1.html
  3. http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240147309/Verizon-data-breach-report-highlights-continuing-POS-vulnerabilities

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