A local florist and entrepreneur in Omaha, Nebraska, recently spoke to The Star-Herald about the changes he has seen over the years when it comes to how credit card payment information is handled.

Years ago, when Frank Piccolo first opened his shop, orders with customer credit card numbers and other details were handwritten, and securing that paperwork was not usually a top priority.

“Looking back at those days, at how insecure credit card privacy was, it’s amazing,” Piccolo said. “You had all kinds of people having access to orders with these numbers on them.”

Now, Piccolo tells the news source that credit card transactions are processed with state-of-the-art POS software and all data is stored on offsite servers.

“Security is everything,” said Mark Pitt, Web developer for the Pennsylvania-based McCarthy Group of Florists, which bought Piccolo’s and other mom-and-pop florists. “If you get compromised security, a family firm such as ours doesn’t need the adverse publicity.”

Pitt makes a valid point here. Have you ever heard the term “perception is reality?” How many consumers do you think are likely to stop into your store and ask about a recently publicized hack that compromised payment information? Small business owners would immediately face an uphill battle in trying to convince people that it either wasn’t their fault or that they are taking adequate measures to ensure a similar incident never happens again.

The bottom line is that even if the consumer likes you, they’re probably not going to want to take a chance that could lead to them becoming victims of fraud, identity theft or worse. That’s why reputable vendors of software for credit card processing can be important partners for merchants. They provide ease of use, security and versatility in being able to work with a wide range of processing companies or independent sales organizations.