Don't be the next target
Posted on 10th February 2014 by Eric Perera
Paper or plastic? Over the last few decades at the checkout stands of your favorite stores, you are typically reaching for a plastic card rather than paper money as a form of payment. We have become accustomed to the convenience debit and credit cards bring to our consumer experience, but are we swiping a little too fearlessly?
Two of the largest department stores in the county experienced the unthinkable over the holiday period. Millions of their customers had both credit card information and personal details stolen in one of the largest data breaches seen by this generation. Hopefully, you weren’t a victim but were instead left asking a question: how could something so destructive happen to a multi-billion dollar company? Here’s the harsh truth; if it can happen to them, it can happen to you.
Studies show that cyber thieves target both high volume businesses, as well as small ones who don’t take enough security measures to defend themselves. Here’s what you can do to ensure you don’t fall into the latter category.
- Stay PCI compliant – These standards and regulations that are put forth by large payment brands are updated regularly. It is essential that you stay up to date on what types of changes are needed to keep you secure. This can be in the form of hardware, software, or network updates which are all changing frequently.
- Retain only mandatory client details - Don't put your business at risk by keeping private information on clients - especially financial data! And this includes taking credit card information by email.
- Insure yourself – Stay in consistent contact with your merchant service provider and learn about different insurance plans that are designed to protect you, and your business, in the event of a catastrophe.
- Employ customer facing terminals when possible - While we would never suspect our employees to be thieves, the likelihood of data being stolen greatly decreases if the card never leaves clients’ hands.
The consequences of your business being preyed on could be immeasurable. Beyond financial losses for you and your customers, the reputation damage can be irreversible. Don’t ignore any opportunity to operate this part of your business in the safest way possible, because the best defense is a good offense.