POS Upgrades: What Retail Stores Should Do With Outdated Equipment

Is retail the leader in data breaches? People mistakenly think it is. The truth is financial institutions, healthcare, and government agencies are where most breaches occur. However, retail is in the top 10. The problems are numerous. Retailers may not realize they need powerful firewalls and point-to-point encryption when transmitting credit and debit card details.

Think of the devices you use for sales. You may use a printer for contracts and applications if your retailer offers a store credit card. Smaller stores may use smartphones or tablets with a plug-in card reader for credit and debit card transactions. Computers and cash register terminals are also common. All of them are capable of storing details like card numbers, names, addresses, contact information, and SSNs. This is where recycling can go wrong if you’re not careful when getting rid of old store equipment.

Retailers who upgrade their point-of-sale electronics often don’t realize they must recycle outdated equipment in a very secure manner. If you’re bringing it to your nearest recycling center without asking questions, you’re making a mistake. You need to take a closer look at electronics recycling and data destruction.

Don’t All Businesses Know That?

You would think with the media attention on cyber theft that retailers would know security is important. Some have made errors that have led to breaches and theft of customer information. Here are some of the recent ones.

In one case, several stores were victims when an online support company was breached. Retailers that used [24]7.ai include Best Buy, Delta Airlines, Kmart, and Sears. Payment card details may have been taken in this breach.

Clothing retailer Forever 21 had a problem with POS terminals that left payment card numbers, expiration dates, and card verification codes open to hackers. The system was exposed for more than six months.

The grocery store chain Raley’s lost a computer during an incident. That pharmacy computer contained data including the health records of 10,000 customers. The stolen computer had data containing customer’s health issues, current and past prescriptions, full names, dates of birth, and addresses.

As more and more consumers become victims of theft due to data breaches and theft. It’s important that retailers start taking better steps to keep this information safe.

10 Steps the FTC Says Are  Vital for Any Business

The FTC gets reports when there are breaches and thefts that affect consumers. To prevent your business from being on the long list of companies that have been targets, they recommend every company take time to take 10 steps to keep customer’s data private.

  1. Set up firewalls and monitor for intrusion attempts.
  2. Use professional security software to avoid malware and other threats and keep it updated.
  3. Create secure passwords.
  4. Only give a select number of trustworthy employees that password.
  5. Use encryption when sending any customer data.
  6. Limit remote access to your store network.
  7. If you must store customer details, secure them in a very safe place.
  8. Limit paperwork and store what is necessary in locked files and cabinets.
  9. Verify that any suppliers use the same protective measures.
  10. Don’t connect computers that don’t need to be connected to each other.

There’s one step they left out. When you’re recycling outdated computers, registers, and other POS equipment, be very careful about how you get rid of it. Don’t let employees take it home without having the data destroyed.

How Do You Recycle Old POS Equipment?

It’s time to replace your outdated cash registers and other POS terminals. You can’t trust just anyone to do it. You need to make sure that data destruction is used to make it impossible for anyone to access hard drives and steal data. Typically, this is done through one of three methods.

Wiping – Wiping uses software to delete all information on a drive. If it’s not done correctly, it is possible to get the information back.

Degaussing – This is the method the NSA recommends. It uses magnetic fields to demagnetize drives, which eliminates all data. It also destroys the hard drive from being useful.

Shredding – Shredding involves a giant shredder that grinds the device into small pieces. Think of it as being very similar to a paper shredder, but it is used on hard drives and other internal computer components.  Shredding ensures 100% of the data is physically destroyed.  

Once the data is destroyed, old POS equipment can be broken down into components for recycling. Metals like copper and aluminum get recycled as metal. Plastic pieces and metal casing are other items that get recycled.

Why take a chance? ERI is a leader in outdated retail equipment processing and recycling. We work with Best Buy, Costco, Walmart, and other leading retailers. Use our services and you protect the environment, your company, and, most importantly, your customer base. Complete ERI’s online contact form to learn more about recycling electronics.