Q How secure is my POS data, and how can I best protect it?
A You’d probably be amazed at how easily a hacker can break into your POS system. With that in mind, the
IRS recommends that small businesses follow these five
steps to protect their data:
1 Identify and control who has access to your data. Perform routine background checks on your
employees and limit their access to the system. Require
individual user accounts for each employee and create
policies and procedures for information security. Create
a list of the types of information your business stores and
uses and maintain an inventory of IT-related equipment.
Many breaches occur with wireless printers hooked to a
network that still uses the manufacturer’s default password. So make sure to change that password, or hackers
can gain full access to your data!
2 Protect yourself with the latest hardware and software. Patch your operating systems and
applications and install and activate firewalls on all of your
business networks. Secure your wireless access point and
networks. Set up web and email filters using encryption
for sensitive business information. Dispose of old computers and media safely. Consider putting an IT specialist
on retainer to protect your interests.
3 Detect security issues by installing and updat- ing anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware
programs. Hackers often use email attachments to access
your store data. Once opened, the attachments unleash
viruses that compromise your system. Employees who
log in to Internet sites using saved user names and pass-
words can also create an opening for hackers. Keep your
anti-virus programs updated and activated at all times.
4 Develop a plan to respond to data disasters and information security incidents. In the case
of a data breach, determine who will make the decision
to initiate recovery procedures and shut down the system
and/or move to a backup site. Create a list of people and
agencies to be contacted, including law enforcement, the
IRS, state taxing agencies, attorneys, insurance providers
and cyber-security professionals.
5 Back up everything that’s important. Always make full backups of important business data/
information. You should do this routinely, if not daily.
Store this data offsite to keep it safe.
For more information, visit the National Institute of
Standards and Technology website at nist.gov or contact
the National Restaurant Association. You should con-
stantly make improvements to your processes, procedures
and technologies. It’s too easy for hackers to break into
your system—and you, as the operator, will be liable for
ACCOUNTING FOR YOUR MONEY
Michael J. Rasmussen is the owner of Rasmussen Tax Group ( rasmussentaxgroup.com) in
Conway, Arkansas. He is also the co-owner of Eyenalyze ( eyenalyze.com), a company that
provides real-time profit analysis for restaurant owners.
The IRS recommends following these five
steps to protect your pizzeria’s financial
By Michael J. Rasmussen