The success of small business reminds people of its essential role in the economy. Make clients feel welcome, served personally and secure are ways to maintain the small businesses’ key influence on commerce.

National Small Business Week has come. While this event provides tribute to the successes of small business, it likewise reminds people of the essential role of small businesses in the economy. To maintain their key influence on commerce, small businesses must perform in ways that make clients feel welcome, served personally and secure. Whereas marketing and promotional programs can do the first two, can small businesses bear the burden of sufficiently protecting their customers’ information and reassure them that their personal data are secure?

Considering the growing occurrences and cleverness of cybercrimes in the present environment, it has become more imperative than ever for small businesses to appreciate the high costs of an information theft and to take measures to reduce the risks. Data breach is very costly and disastrous for a small business. The lost income and accompanying liability from such an affair can produce great financial damages, while the damaged business credibility could end up being very hard, if not almost impossible, to restore.

A new research from Ponemon Institute reveals that 90% of data breaches gravely affect small businesses. Since payment data is the prime target for 65% of these attacks, small business owners should be convinced of the potential susceptibility of crucial payment information used to undertake transactions daily, in various ways — in person, through the Internet and also by smartphone or tablets.

Small business owners can provide security to their clients and themselves, even if there is no assurance of total protection against any threat. By remaining aware and comprehending possible security measures and available best practices, they can mitigate the dangers of data breaches with cost-effective solutions. Here are five essential measures you can undertake:

Ascertain PCI compliance: PCI compliance is the basic, required standard level of security. Non-compliance is unwise if small businesses want to remain viable through accepting the primary credit and debit cards for their clients’ convenience. More essentially, adhering to the stipulated security policies is a continuing process intended to reduce the risk of a data theft. The PCI DSS continuously improves to assist retailers in establishing the most sensitive safeguards to protect their enterprises against the rising threat of cyber crimes. But complying with PCI standards is only the start.

Upgrade POS systems: As more markets graduate upward into EMV, which is the technical rule to attain which assures chip-based payment cards and terminals are synched, a plethora of gadgets on the market allows choices for enhancing or substituting POS systems. A POS device which is compatible with EMV technology can process cards that have embedded microprocessors, or chips that communicate with the device. Smart chips allow more proficient cardholder confirmation to prevent consumer-level fraud for EMV operations. EMV can prevent stolen cards from being used. No businesses, big or small, can afford to neglect these crucial measures.

Move to the cloud: The latest POS and management systems not just combine various business functions, but they also store information in the cloud. The cloud has greater efficiency and security than former data storage solutions – businesses can access data anywhere they are at any time, and there is a lower danger of data breach by using reputable providers because of their emphasis in investment security. Moreover, enterprise owners can also obtain data backup, which is crucial in case the business encounters a major setback.

Layer with encryption and tokenization: By using layers of encryption and tokenization with EMV and POS compatible systems, business owners can reduce security vulnerability and address confirmation weaknesses. The two points that data are most vulnerable in the transaction cycle is in pre- and post-authorization. Encryption and tokenization secure the cardholder information once the payment method and client are confirmed. In addition, encrypted and tokenized information has no value to cyber-fraudsters. It is merely a jumble of useless characters.

Look for a trustworthy advisor: Small entrepreneurs need a dependable advisor who can aid them to understand their information security duties, evaluate present options and then execute a plan to assure long-term business security. Business owners are not the only ones who require their clients’ data to be safe. When dealing with a payment technology company, make sure they place a great importance on information safety, can provide proper guidance and institute the measures to reduce the risk.

Small business owners can certainly avail of world-class protection for themselves and for their clients in order to maintain their business integrity and viability. The ones who undertake multiple levels of security precautions are more prepared to handle and mitigate risk and fraud, assuring the success of their overall business — and our economy at large.

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