The Importance of POS Security

Security is one of the of the most important issues that retailers must consider when choosing a POS. A commonly overlooked POS security feature is limiting access to certain features to specific employees. With a well-trusted team, most managers wouldn’t think that someone would take advantage of your POS system, and as a result, may not prioritize internal security. However, there are many reasons why POS security filters are still extremely important for even the most trustworthy teams.


Internal and External Protection

There are many ways that a POS can prevent data breaches or accidental data mishandling. If your point of sale is used to collect customer data, such as contact information or payment information, your business is held responsible should a data breach occur. Restricting access to certain data to employees who need it for their duties can prevent any mishaps and help your store maintain customer trust.


It’s very important that all employees at every level understand why security measures are so important. That’s not to assume that your workers are untrustworthy; it’s easier for the company to run transparently if there are security measures in place.


If a new employee is being trained on the POS with unfettered access to the entire system, their lack of knowledge could lead to accidental data changes, or possible even deletion. An employee on a mobile POS may forget to log out after a shift change. In some cases, a mobile POS employee may put their device down while helping a customer. Both instances can lead to your system being accessed by unauthorized users.


If your business operates on mobile POS but you’re worried about losing a device, you can use Erply to automatically log out of the POS after a period of inactivity. Even if the device is misplaced, your business will be safe. Erply allows you to create a list of approved devices to run both the back office and the POS on. Setting up approved devices can give you peace of mind that your systems won’t be accessed from an outside source.


Intuitive Cash Management

A POS system that is always up-to-date with the store’s current financial status, including the amount in each register based on daily transactions, will help with secure cash management. Erply operates in real-time, so any transaction is immediately logged in the back office. Handling money or inventory data demands strong POS security from all angles. When opening and closing the day with Erply, an employee is required to count and record the amount of cash in your cash drawer so you will be notified of any discrepancies early on. If managers notice that this number is routinely off, they may be able to pinpoint issues with cash management practices before it becomes a huge problem. A mandatory cash recording system also discourages theft, because the employees know that any discrepancies will be flagged in Erply. Managers don’t have to implement policies that make employees feel like they aren’t trusted – it’s all just part of the system.

Role-Based Access

An easy way to protect data is to create employee groups and limit POS access by what features each employee needs based on their role.


Say you’re a restaurant owner with employees who never operate the cash register, such as a chef or a dishwasher. You can use Erply to determine their POS access, allowing them to clock in at the POS without giving them the ability to create a customer or to make a sale. If you run a retail store, promotions can be set up so they must be swiped by a manager to active, ensuring that every employee isn’t dishing out discounts on orders that shouldn’t be discounted.


It is always a good idea to keep the number of employees who can access critical information to a minimum. Based on employee needs, you’ll need to determine what tiers of employees can access customer information and alarm codes, or who can create and submit new orders on behalf of the company in the POS system.


Here are three examples of common ways to separate employees access based on their roles:


  • Corporate financial data: Should only be accessible to those who have to create and file reports or those who have a decision-making role with corporate finances.
  • Customer profiles and data: Should only be accessible to employees who act in a customer service role or review reports to determine purchasing trends.
  • Inventory data: Should only be accessible to workers that deal with inventory reports or order, transfer, or receive inventory.


Using POS as Surveillance

Although you may have camera surveillance in your establishment, your POS system can be used as a secondary layer of accountability. For example, by requiring that every active employee be signed into the system using a login or unique code, you can prove who was handling the money at any given point in time.

Additionally, if your POS allows data to be stamped with identifying information regarding who entered the data, you may be able to see which employees were entering inventory in what departments on what dates and times. Erply lets you create unique user logins so you can see who logs in, keep track of who sells what, and manage commission-based orders. All of this information could be very useful in the event that anything goes missing, or if you need to uncover any other sales information. 


If you are concerned with point of sale security, you should have an expectation of how often certain information will be accessed. For example, how frequently does a specific inventory item need to be ordered? If you notice that the item has been ordered at a much more frequent rate recently, find out why – is it a mistake? Has the item been flying off the shelves or is this product subject to theft? These are all plausible things that you could find once you start comparing current POS activity with what is expected.


Segmenting the Network

One reason why POS systems are so valuable to retailers is because they make it easy to manage all aspects of retail management within one, cohesive system. You can look up inventory, place orders, track shipments, take orders, and so much more. However, one way to ensure that your POS is secure is to segment each of these areas onto its own unique network.


While you’ll still be able to access all data from the same system, keeping it segmented ensures it is stored in different places. This means that if a hacker ever gains access to information about your contractors, they won’t be able to use the same access point to get to your customer information. Erply’s data is saved on multiple secure servers, keeping information safe from hackers while also being easily obtainable for your business. This is an important POS security practice that can make a huge difference when it comes to preventing malware and other problems from corrupting all of your data. Erply will handle secure data storage and segmentation so you don’t need to hire additional IT staff as your business grows. 


Having Automated Point of Sale Security in Place

The more devices you have for your employees to use – such as handheld scanners or tablets, mobile devices that can access the POS, and others – the more ways there are for malware, viruses, and other issues to affect the point of sale. You should regularly inventory every POS-connected device and ensure that they are serviced by the manufacturer or a trusted service provider. Be sure that these devices are regularly cleaned of old IDs or passwords from employees who are no longer with you, and monitor them for any changes that weren’t authorized. POS security doesn’t stop at software; it’s important to secure every device from external breaches. Erply is hardware agnostic and works with virtually every POS hardware. Instead of making a hardware switch, you can continue working with the devices that you feel are most secure for your business.


Other Tips for Keeping Your POS Network Safe

In addition to the POS helping you keep data secure, there are some things you can do to prevent the POS from becoming a target in the first place.


Necessities only

Try not to store any customer data except what you absolutely need, such as information for incomplete purchases. The best way to prevent something from being stolen is to not have it in the first place.


Don’t keep any unnecessary programs or apps on any of your secure POS devices. For example, if you allow employees to use tablets to connect to the POS device, don’t allow them to download other applications onto the tablet. This can be a way for malware to infect the device, and eventually, the system itself.


Stay up to date

Upgrade your payment system to EMV. Old payment systems used the mag stripe on the back of a card to process payments and can be easily stolen or exploited. EMV is a system that uses an embedded chip in a card for payment. It’s much safer for your customers and for your system.


Keep the software on POS devices updated. Software upgrades often come with newer and better point of sale security measures. Additionally, hackers and malware haven’t had a chance to “learn” the new software yet, so there’s less of a chance that you are vulnerable to attack. Be sure to upgrade as often as you can.


Keep tabs on all devices

When possible, consider banning the practice of allowing POS-connected devices to be removed from the premises. This prevents the chance that anyone will connect a device to an outside network and expose the company’s valuable data to unsecured networks. Tracking what registers or other devices ring up the most sales will keep you aware of devices that are more likely to be breached.


In Summary


Your POS system can definitely be a huge help when it comes to internal security. It can help you monitor things like cash flow and employee actions, without having to be the “bad manager” that doesn’t display trust. Point of sale security can also help protect customer information and provide each employee with access to a narrowly-focused set of data that will keep them working on their specific tasks.


The more you work to keep your POS secure, the more you’ll be able to use it to ensure internal security as well. Your customers will trust you more if they never have a problem with their personal information being stolen, and you’ll be able to keep the company running transparently from all angles.


Although it may cost you a little time to implement all of these routines and training habits, it is very worth it to protect your data and your customer information. One breach, theft, or virus, could be catastrophic in today’s digital world. Learn more about how Erply can help by calling 1-855-463-7759.

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