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Are Your Mobile Systems Secure?


SBM logo August 2014Whether you’re utilizing tablet-based payment point of sale or text message marketing, mobile technology has drastically impacted small business operations. Karen Stern, partner in charge of BSW Small Business Services, discusses how to ensure the security of your mobile business solutions in this month’s “Financial Fitness,” as featured in Small Business Monthly.

There’s no doubt mobile technology has changed the way we interact with the world. According to a recent study by Constant Contact, 66% of small-business owners use mobile technology, including smart phones and tablets, or a solution like mobile-optimized websites and text messaging marketing. The top two ways small businesses use mobile technology are email and social media marketing. Other key users are the 18% who run a mobile tablet-based payment point of sale (POS) and the 18% who use mobile apps to manage operations, like accounting.

With many small businesses using mobile POS and payments integrated with their accounting systems, it’s no surprise these businesses are exposing themselves to risk by using too few fraud prevention systems. Fraudulent transactions can cost businesses more than three times the value of a sale because of fraud investigation, penalties and the loss of a customer’s future business, as just a few examples. Attackers aim for the weakest security link, making small businesses even better targets for fraudsters.

Here are some tips to secure your device and sensitive cardholder data:

  • Make sure your mobile device is not “jailbroken” or “rooted.” A quick Internet search will give you instructions on how to find out whether your phone is in this condition. The vast majority of mobile device breaches happen to devices in this condition.
  • Update to the latest version of your operating system. To ensure the security of your device, update the operating system often.
  • Use applications from trusted sources only. Go through your device and uninstall any apps you no longer use. Make sure you update your apps to the most recent release.
  • Don’t store card data. Check to see whether your payment processing app has this feature. If so, turn it off.
  • Lock your mobile device. Though fundamental, this security step often goes overlooked.

Taking basic precautions to minimize your risk goes a long way toward preventing fraud.


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