Why Small Businesses Should Care About Payment Security

Recent news stories have been filled with reports of high profile merchant data breaches and compromises of cardholder and personal information. In a confidential report to the retail and financial sector, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned merchants to expect more cyber attacks as criminals seek to replicate the success of these attacks and exploit weaknesses in payment systems with new tools and techniques.

You may think what’s going on with these attacks is far removed from your business – that your shop is too small to be of interest to cyber thieves. This kind of thinking can promote a false sense of security.

The fact is, criminals will go after whatever targets are available to them. They seek the path of least resistance and see many small businesses as easy targets. Though breaches at major retail chains grab all the headlines, Visa reports that most events occur at small merchant locations. In 2011, for example, 97% of the payment breaches detected in the US happened to small merchants, with restaurant franchises being the leading merchant category impacted. Ingrid Beierly of the Cyber Security and Investigations group at Visa warns that cyber criminals are attracted to the remote access business model that is commonly implemented at small and franchise merchant locations. Beierly says this is a contributing factor in the increasing number of cyber intrusions Visa is seeing.

A National Retail Federation study revealed that about a million small businesses a year report being a victim of fraud. Statistics like that don’t make the news because they aren’t tied to tens of millions of customers being affected in a single breach, but they are serious numbers nonetheless.

Find out more in Why You Should Care about Payment Security.