It is hugely important for large and small retailers to realize the importance of POS security as well as the overall security of their IT systems.  Customer trust is critical to maintain and once it is lost it can be hard to regain it.  Large retailers like Target that have been hit by hacks and breaches of consumer credit card information lost quite a bit of business due to the breaches.  It was estimated that Target lost almost half of its holiday earnings post-breach back in 2014.  It also agreed to pay a settlement and lost quite a bit of money both investigating and repairing the breach itself.

Can stores prevent these things from happening in the first place?  We polled a few local IT companies, such as AMA Networks of San Diego as well as Centrix and Greenman.  The best thing to do is to understand compliance regulations, but to go beyond that and get bigger, better security in place.

Outsource Your IT

If you’re a smaller company it would behoove you to hire a managed IT company to handle your in-house IT security.  Having a small team do it or doing it yourself is asking for trouble as the need to stay on top of security matters is paramount.  Leave it up to the experts and you’ll sleep much better at night.  It’s more cost effective and it leaves you and your IT team to focus on customer-related matters.  Having happy customers is really the name of the game, and focusing on your business should be paramount in that regard.

Educate Employees

Another thing that is a good idea is to ensure that your employees are savvy to the basics of IT security, such as what to look for in phishing emails as well as how to spot phone scams and other breaches.  Let them know that clicking suspicious links or giving information to unsolicited callers is always a no-no.  These scams are getting more and more sophisticated by the day and even those with experience are prone to falling for some of the more complex phone scams out there.  Even those who know what to look for can fall victim to these extortion techniques.

It’s also important that your employees have a good understanding of cloud security protocols when it comes to storing files on AWS servers for example.

Data Backup And Disaster Prep

Having good IT security is one thing, but what if you do get hacked?  Then having a proper backup and disaster plan in place is key.  If you aren’t backing up your data you are leaving you and your company vulnerable to a lot of trouble.  For example, in terms of ransomware attacks where a computer is held hostage by an encryption key that requires a ransom to break, companies that have adequate backups of their systems can wipe the drives and start anew.

Although it is never recommended that you pay for a ransomware key, sometimes companies don’t have any backups in place and have no choice but to pay or lose the data forever.