Many businesses depend on their point of sale systems for various functions. Some models can store customer purchase information, create consumer reports and even keep track of inventory. Others simply take cash, credit or debit. However, one thing many POS systems have in common is not having proper security measures to ensure customer and corporate data is safe. POS systems can face data hacks, security breaches and mechanical failures that can lead to lost confidence, data, revenue and, even, reputation. How can businesses and retailers protect their POS systems from compromise? Follow these three easy techniques to secure POS systems and protect valuable data.
1. Install firewalls and anti-virus software
Point of Sale News recommends using firewalls as well as antivirus software to defend POS systems from hackers and malware. These security measures can also block out spyware as well as harmful predatory programs. Using antivirus software or firewalls does not guarantee 100 percent safety, but it makes breaking into your system much more difficult. When shopping for antivirus software, look at well-known brands or ask vendors if they sell software included with the package. If software is not included, go through a licensed retailer to purchase protective programs.
2. Update software frequently
The Department of Homeland Security recommends checking for software updates with every POS system. This is because POS systems are more susceptible to malware and viruses if software patches are not installed. Schedule update times each month as updates become available. To ensure maximum productivity, run these scheduled updates during the evening when customers are no longer allowed in the store. Additionally, updating software can make POS systems run more quickly. Faster POS systems can take more transactions, meaning higher sales for the store owner. If the software does not update automatically, schedule a service or ask the vendor to inspect the POS for you.
3. Strong passwords
CreditCards.com recommends using a strong password to ensure system protection. To create an effective password, use something that is not directly related to the company, as this would be easy to guess. Use a password with many letters, numbers and symbols to make access more difficult. If a vendor offers to let you use their company default password for your system, do not take the offer. Thieves are knowledgeable of which systems have what passwords, especially in local markets. By creating a unique password, a company can protect its assets.
What else can companies do to protect data? First, lock and store a POS system overnight in case of robbery. Second, use a backup system to store all valuable data. Consider using cloud-based services in case of a POS failure. Lastly, invest in a mobile card reader in case of a major POS failure. Mobile readers are typically connected to the cloud and can transmit data quickly and easily. By following the steps above, a company can secure their POS for future use and profit.