With each revealed data breach that hits the news, you have grown to understand the importance of protecting your customer’s data. Retailers, banks, airlines, and the federal government all have had high profile security incidents in recent years. These incidents have led to millions of compromised records annually, and the situation shows little sign of improvement.
The small business owner is not immune to this reality. In fact, small business owners have much more to lose than their larger competitors. You rely on word-of-mouth sales just as much as marketing and the expansion of your brand voice. With recent regulatory demands on businesses to move completely online, or to operate with varying restrictions, mobile payments are spiking upwards. In light of this, do you know if your POS PCI compliance makes the mark?
PCI DSS Compliance 101: A Primer
PCI is the short form of PCI DSS (payment card industry data security standards compliance) and is a set of rules and regulations that govern how credit card data is handled. The set of rules that make PCI have undergone updates as time has passed, with the most recent version being 3.2.1, with version 4.0 looming on the horizon. A common misconception about adhering to PCI regulations is that small business owners are exempt.
The fact is that you are required to adhere to applicable PCI regulations, and must provide proof of your ability to ensure the safety of your credit or debit card transactions if you accept any credit cards. The rules that make up PCI regulations are updated to reflect changes in data vulnerabilities and emerging technologies. It is therefore in the best interest of a small business to keep their POS solutions at the top of their game.
It is important to understand that if you are not presently PCI compliant, you will not be raided by the feds. However, being noncompliant makes you liable for any data breach, whether it is for one customer or a thousand. You will be responsible for any financial repercussions as a result of a breach, some common ones being:
- Customer reimbursement for purchases made using stolen information.
- Paying for card replacements
- Footing the bill for forensic investigations into detected fraud
- Fines levied by the top payment brands, including MasterCard or Visa.
Beyond these immediate financial strains, you will be forced to face an uphill battle to regain the trust of your customers. With data breaches oftentimes being newsworthy, you will likely take a hit to your reputation, which could cause you even higher levels of financial loss.
Keeping Your POS Technology Up-to-Date is the Key in PCI Compliance
A very common factor in falling out of PCI compliance, or never being compliant at all, is having a lackluster POS platform in place. This means understanding the “hows” and “whys” behind performing a POS refresh. The process of building towards and maintaining PCI compliance is all about protecting the customer’s data. Guarding their credit card numbers, shredding receipts, and encrypting your data records is only the tip of the iceberg.
Data has three fundamental states of existence; data-at-rest, data-in-motion, and data-in-use. Each one of these presents you with different challenges to ensure that it remains secured and uncompromised:
- Data-at-rest. This is the data that you store in any form. Ideally, you want a cloud-based POS solution to ensure the best security controls over the data you store.
- Data-in-motion. As the name indicates, this is the information that is moving from one place to another. Valuable credit card data, as well as personal customer information, must be encrypted with cutting-edge tech that only a modern POS platform can provide.
- Data-in-use. Information that is currently being used in some form. Viewing a client’s shipping address, fulfilling a delivery order, or looking up purchasing history are forms of data-in-use.
The bottom line here is that you must have a POS solution in place that is cutting-edge not only in the technology it currently uses, but also in its ability to be updated to address emerging data compromising attacks. The POS software you choose is just as important as the POS vendor you choose, making it imperative that you select a POS solution provider that will act more as a business partner than a positive entry in their accounting ledger.
Understand These Key Steps to Help Increase Data Security
Updating your POS technology to a top of line, well patched system will take you 80% of the way towards being fully PCI compliant. But what about the other 20%–can’t a POS platform give you a fully compliant solution? The simple answer to this can be seen by looking in a mirror. People make a variety of mistakes, either through being rushed, not being trained on proper PCI procedures, or taking an indifferent attitude.
No matter the advanced nature of a POS platform, staff must be fully trained on its proper use in order for the advanced data protection features to do their job. Some examples of staff mistakes that can lead to costly PCI failures are:
- Improper disposal of paper receipts.
- Not checking for signature or identification.
- Leaving a customer’s payment information on the screen for others to see.
- Taking photos or copying customer information for personal use.
Building a solid data protection plan starts with getting yourself and your staff trained on proper PCI procedures. Once these have been established, you can feel confident that the POS solution and surrounding procedures that are in place will deliver PCI compliant operations to your business. Your confidence will be infectious to the customer, who will rest assured that their data is safe and protected while in your hands.
Ensuring POS PCI Compliance Requires a Guided Internal Audit
The unfortunate reality about achieving and maintaining PCI compliance is that you don’t know what exactly you need to comply with. The various levels of PCI compliance can change, through either regulatory updates or an uptick in credit card transactions. Add to this mix emerging data attack methodologies, and this can quickly get out of hand. The dynamic nature of staying compliant can be overwhelming if you do not have experienced help by your side.
We have built PCI compliance into the model of what we strive to achieve. We stand by the security of our POS solutions and provide the support and security that is vital for any business operating today. You can rest easy knowing that your data, and that of your customers, is well protected and secured from most types of known types of data breaches. And, we will not rest until you and your staff are fully briefed on the appropriate ways to handle all forms of data.
When you partner with talech for your business technology needs, you can be confident that your POS PCI compliance will always be met. We build PCI compliance into the heart of our POS model so that you can just focus on what you do best: running your business. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.
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