Now more than ever small businesses are at risk of cybercrime. The rapidly changing landscape of point-of-sale technology has created exploitable opportunities for cybercriminals. The increase in data theft opportunities has created a better dialogue of data security for companies of all sizes. However, while there are more exploits for criminals at the moment, there is also more access to information on data security. In fact, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council has recently released a valuable set of data security protection basics for small business in hopes of increasing awareness of both the issues and their solutions. For these reasons, it’s an important time for businesses get educated on proper security standards and how to implement them.

Most small businesses rely on financial institutions or technology vendors to be their source of information on how payment processing and data security work. Until now, the language of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) required a deep level of understanding of both payment processing and data security, which is why PCI took it upon themselves to create an easily digestible press release that explains the terms of receiving the certification and why it is important to be vigilant about the data security issue.

It is imperative to view the data security issue as a conversation. Furthermore, it is important for small businesses to join that conversation. The only way small businesses can fully protect their customers and themselves is by taking the initiative to understand the updates to data security standards and payment processing technologies. The shift to more advanced forms of digital point-of-sale systems have surely created an opportunity for criminals, but also an opportunity for business owners to get educated on the inner workings of the payment processes they use daily.

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Electronic Merchant Systems is a registered ISO/MSP for BMO Harris Bank, NA, Schaumburg, Illinois, Esquire Bank, Jericho, NY, Merrick Bank, South Jordan, UT, and Chesapeake Bank, Kilmarnock, VA.