The security of the point of sale system means much more to an organization than just keeping customer information safe. Look no further than the last few months at Target to see what the aftermath can be. This blog has covered much of the news that followed the breach that affected 110 million customers.

From fourth quarter sales numbers dropping 5.3 percent to both the CIO and CEO stepping down to a recently announced $100 million plan to improve the security of the company's credit cards with EMV and replace the terminals in all of its U.S. locations — the breach has been costly in more ways than one.

If you are a business looking to avoid this kind of attack, what steps should you take? Are there specific credit card processing solutions that should be prioritized over others? These are just a few of the questions that company decision makers need to ask themselves when it becomes time to improve their POS solutions.

A recent article from BusinessWeek attempted to answer this question with the help of several industry experts. Specifically, the advice is for small and midsize business owners that are serious about creating a merchant account and start accepting multiple forms of payment.

In the currently landscape, consumers demand the ability to pay with more than just cash. They also want transactions to be quick and seamless. All of this requires a secure and reliable point of sale solution. The piece goes on to lay out four things that need to be taken into account. They include:

PCI compliance

You can have the fastest POS system on the market, but if it is not PCI compliant, using it as a credit card processor is not only risky, but a violation. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) are rules for credit card processing that POS systems bust meet.

This is needed because failure to meet these rules means that the company could be on the hook financially if customer information is leaked. This is the case even if a third-party service provider like PayPal is used.

Update and maintain technology

Having the latest technology is one thing, but companies need to make sure they are also updating it. PCI compliance regulations are updated once a year and could require systems to change.

Businesses also need to make sure their networks, firewalls, computers and software are constantly checked for updates, patches and new versions that can ensure the systems remain as secure as possible.

Isolate the POS system

One of the more common causes of POS hacks is when criminals are able to breach the weak link in the company's network that could be a wireless network for internal email. Once inside, they are able make their way into the POS system.

This is where isolating the POS system on its own network can help ensure that it is kept safe even if another part of the business is breached.

Encryption

With the reliance on technology solutions, encryption is a natural step. This is something that can be used with every technology solution that includes critical information, especially if it is of the payment variety.

With the help of the right payment processing software any merchant can ensure that their POS systems are secure and customer information remains safe at all times.