Collecting customer data has its risks and rewards.
Restaurant owners can use the information to make better offers to their customers and run a more efficient business. But collecting customer data also comes with its share of dangers. If information is compromised, it can cost the restaurant or retail business thousands (if not millions) of pounds. Furthermore, it damages the business’ reputation because people are very concerned about how their information is used. Over 62% of surveyed customers are concerned about data breaches. This means if the information is compromised, then the restaurant will have a hard time regaining their consumer’s trust (if they ever get it back at all). With that in mind, it’s safe to say that the best way to protect data is to invest in the right technology, like hospitality EPOS software and adopt the right measures to protect hardware and software.
Hackers devise several insidious methods like ransomware to steal customer data. Ransomware handicaps EPOS systems by encrypting files or operating systems to make them inaccessible. With this method, hackers can hold the system hostage, demanding a certain amount of money to make the system more accessible. Planting viruses is also a common hacking method for compromising hospitality EPOS software security. There are two types of viruses, some completely ruin the system, making it unusable while other viruses work quietly in the background, collecting the information that comes through.
Sometimes, hackers are not content with hiding behind ransomware. They want to hack the system to steal information, leading to several problems, like identity theft and fraud. Other times, hackers use viruses to damage the system, while others operate quietly in the background, stealing information. Sometimes, hackers want to physically access the EPOS system using physical methods, though not as sophisticated digital methods.
Sometimes, hackers need physical access to the system to hack it. So, the best chance of keeping customer information safe is to ensure that the hardware is constantly monitored using security cameras or having someone at the till at all times. Furthermore, business owners can train employees to monitor their surroundings, not just for suspicious people, but for unusual details like extra wiring, mismatched equipment, different labels, loose screws, or torn edges. These are signs that the equipment has been tampered with.
An EPOS system can be very useful because it comes with built-in security capabilities. Owners can place security cameras around the till and register to keep a constant eye on their most valuable assets. Owners can check the live feed from the cameras at any time, even when they are not in the office using mobile devices.
PCI stands for Payment Card Industry, the PCI Security Standards Council regulates credit card security and sets standards for credit card security. They even provide training, education and product certification programs, along with other tools that implement security standards. Having equipment that meets PCI standards is one of the biggest assurances of credit card security. Business owners can take steps to make sure that the hardware and software components of an EPOS system meet the PCI DSS standards. Of course, complying with PCI DSS standards involves adopting the right practices, which includes eliminating cardholder data, unless it is needed.
EPOS systems possess end-to-end encryption capability. Conventional POS software cannot encrypt information, leaving customer data vulnerable, usually at the point of a transaction. End-to-end encryption protects customer data through a transaction, ensuring that information is never vulnerable. It works by encrypting the information the moment it leaves the credit card and enters the software server. Business owners should also install anti-virus software on the system to keep it safe from all attacks. EPOS systems come with substantial protection against malware attacks and investing in anti-virus software will strengthen these existing protections.
EPOS software brings tremendous benefits to a restaurant or retail businesses in the form of lower operational costs, higher profits and more ideas. However, there is a huge concern about customer data and rightly so. Customer information is a huge concern because people are very particular about how their information is collected and used. For that reason, business owners should take steps to ensure that their software is safe and encrypted securely. In addition to having secure, PCI-approved technology, business owners need to adopt the right practices. The EPOS software and hardware should be locked down securely, to minimise the chances of someone, be it an outsider or an employee, stealing the data. Data is one of the most valuable assets a business owner can have, and they should take all steps necessary to keep it safe.