How Can Small Businesses Combat Credit Card Data Theft?

Credit card theft

Data breaches are happening more and more often all the time, and they may put small businesses in particular at a more significant risk simply because these companies don’t have the security infrastructure to deal with such threats. This may be a particular problem when it comes to protecting the payment information for customers or clients, but there are things they can do to increase the safety of such information.

There are many things that smaller companies can do to make sure they’re not putting credit and debit card information at risk when handling a simple transaction, and often, workers and owners alike aren’t even aware of many of the things they may be doing wrong, according to a report from Dark Reading. For instance, if a standalone credit card reader is hooked up to a traditional computer, instead of being built into it, that alone may pose a significant risk, because these usually run unencrypted data through wires. If those wires are visible and easily reached by customers, it might not be all that difficult for hackers to access it.

Further, if the software used to process these transactions – or even the computer’s independent security programs and operating system – isn’t up to date, then that too can present a major problem, the report said. Further, if the computer is also used to go online or read emails, that compounds the risk even further.

What can be done?
Fortunately, there are a number of steps small business owners can do to improve their security without taking on a significant cost to do so, the report said. For instance, using a tablet or even smartphone to process credit card transactions is often a good idea because mobile operating systems tend to be safer overall, and because using cellular networks – i.e. making sure devices are not connected to WiFi – automatically encrypt all data transmitted. The biggest brand names in mobile credit card readers are also compliant with the latest Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard’s suggested measures.

Owners who want to further protect themselves against data breaches might also consider the ways in which they can obtain more affordable small business insurance designed specifically to deal with this kind of issue. Tech insurance may help to cover many of the costs associated with a data breach when they happen, and save companies thousands or more in mitigation costs.