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Dollar bills may be the easiest way to conduct business for a small business owner, but plastic - in the form of debit or credit card - is often the most convenient for the customer. As such, more small businesses than ever before accept multiple forms of payment.

While this may be a boon for small business owners' bottom line, at the same time, it's putting them at risk for a cyber attack, as a majority of company managers aren't complementing their credit and debit card acceptance with the appropriate protections, according to a recent survey.

8 in 10 fail PCI compliance assessment Nearly 80% of all businesses fail their interim payment card industry compliance assessment, according to a recent survey conducted by telecommunications firm Verizon. More commonly referred to as PCI, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a series of requirements that business owners are supposed to maintain so that credit card information is stored and processed in a secure manner.

PCI compliance is more important today than ever, mainly because of how common credit card and debit card use is. Nearly 70% of consumers who use mobile payments - i.e. smartphones, credit or charge cards, Paypal, etc. - say that they use them more today than they did last year, based on a poll conducted by global payments company Blackhawk Network Holdings. Roughly 90% of credit card users say they find this form of payment to be the most convenient.

Cash, checks used less frequently Meanwhile, cash and checks aren't nearly as common as they used to be. While both payment methods are still used regularly, the same poll found that cash and checks saw the greatest decline in overall use.

Rodolphe Simonetti, managing director of professional services for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, noted as society changes the way in which it engages in commerce, business owners have to adapt as well - especially when it comes to the protection of their company's and their customers' private data.

"Today's cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing," Simonetti said. "Compliance at a point in time isn't sufficient to protect data. Putting the focus on making compliance sustainable is key. It must be a part of day-to-day activities within an organization's greater security strategy."

Compliance management varies from industry to industry, but in the general sense, experts say that the best way to guard against a hacking attempt is by regularly testing data security systems, maintaining it so that it stays up to date.

More than two-thirds experienced attack in last 12 months Data security breaches are no longer only experienced by large, multinational organizations. They affect small business owners as well. In the last year, nearly 70% of businesses in the United States experienced a hacking incident, according to a recent poll conducted by risk management firm Munich Re.

"Hackers have evolved and so have their methods of attack," explained Eric Cernak, cyber practice leader for Munich Re. "Businesses are on high alert, but they can do a lot better. Simply reacting to new threats is not enough. Businesses of all sizes need to anticipate hacking trends and deploy the resources necessary to protect their private or sensitive information."

Intrusion detection, employee education programs and encryption were three risk management systems that business owners polled said they had interest in learning more about in order to stave off a data breach.

A core component of a data security strategy is having the right type and amount of insurance protection. Data compromise insurance helps provide the financial resources companies need to help compensate consumers whose information is intercepted or compromised

Article courtesy of Selective Insurance Group, Inc. 
Posted 2:47 PM

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