The Grapevine

Data Security and Your POS System

July 28th, 2015

With the recent hacking of a company responsible for the customer lists of about 70 California wineries, we thought it would be a good time to discuss the data security of your wine shop PoS system. [level-members]

In a nuthsell, truly protecting your data network is probably a task beyond all but the geekiest of wine shop owners. (If you’re a former IT professional who is now running a wine shop, my apologies.) This is an area where it pays to rely on the tech support team behind your PoS system, but don’t rely on them blindly.

Instead, be pro-active in asking whether your system is up to date, whether security patches are available and whether there is any system monitoring that can be put in place. This will vary from vendor to vendor.

You should also consider hiring an independent IT professional, even if you’re a small shop. (If you are a small shop, an ad hoc arrangement should work well where larger shops can put a monthly maintenance agreement in place more cost-effectively.) The independent IT pro can provide a 2nd opinion and, being more knowledgeable, is more likely to get critical information from the PoS support team that you might not know to ask about.

Be careful that the IT pro isn’t motivated to sell you what you don’t need. In other words, pay him or her fairly for his/her time so that they aren’t tempted to make it up by selling you system upgrades and other complexities that you don’t need.

Finally, this somewhat dated but still relevant document from the Secret Service may be helpful to you in talking the talk with your tech support team. Download the article here.