Aug 28, 2013 Dave King
As more and more businesses begin to accept mobile payments from consumers, security will become a major concern. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that ABI research is projecting the mobile security management market will reach the $1 billion mark by 2015 - nearly double what it will be in 2013.
"While MDM [mobile device management] will continue to provide the largest share of revenues, growth rates from other sectors and, in particular, security and content management, will increasingly account for a much larger portion of the market," said Michela Menting, ABI Research's senior analyst in cyber security.
One of the biggest mobile security risks for businesses, especially those that are using detachable card readers, will be mobile malware, as this can result in the loss of customer information. Fortunately, there are numerous steps businesses can take to protect against this concern.
No. 1 - Don't access public Wi-Fi
Many stores have been incorporating tablets that can accept mobile and credit card payments. While this can create a convenience for the cashier and consumer, it may also lead to security risk. For example, if business is slow and an employee decides to use the tablet to check their Facebook or anything else on the Internet using public Wi-Fi, mobile malware should be a concern. That being said, it is important to make sure store Wi-Fi is password protected and employees don't access other non-secure connections on company devices.
No. 2 - Update operating systems as needed
Whether a business uses one or 10 tablets to accept payments, it is recommended to ensure that all operating systems are kept up-to-date. This means downloading the latest Apple iOS for iPads or Android OS for other tablets. Generally, devices will send notifications when the OS needs to be updated, but they should be checked periodically just in case something went wrong and the notification didn't go through.
No. 3 - Don't download unnecessary applications
Oftentimes, mobile malware lives in downloadable applications, which is why employees should be advised against downloading from untrustworthy sources. For instance, they may want to get Words With Friends on the company tablet to play while there are no customers in the store, but this could create issues. Even though this is likely a trustworthy app, it isn't worth the risk, especially when employees should be doing their jobs and not playing games.
Lost or stolen devices should be a concern as well
While mobile malware is a major risk for businesses using tablets and other devices to accept payments, losing or having one stolen is also an issue.
To help reduce the liability of this risk, the first step companies should take is to encrypt the devices. This can be completed by simply setting up a strong password that contains upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and characters. An employee birthday or any other discoverable code shouldn't be used.
Once businesses have dealt with security issues concerning mobile payment systems, they could begin to reap the benefits as consumers increasingly shift away from credit cards.