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in the Parking Business

5. Providing peace of mind – for you and your customers. Efficient parking organizations are not easy to build. The

success of your operation has not come easy. You can help ensure continued success by securing your customers’ payment card information. With every transaction, your customers are depend- ing on your business to keep their payment data safe – repay their trust by complying with the PCI data security standards.

How to achieve data security?

Top 5 Answers Once you decide to embrace technology, there’s often a mis-

conception that technology opens your environment to more variables that can lead to security breaches – which in turn leads to loss of revenue and customer confidence. The argument becomes something along the lines of: “If I

allow my business to use credit cards electronically or if I imple- ment an electronic system for my data, then I’m opening myself up to the challenges of pre- venting credit card theft or data breaches … and that’s not something I’m equipped to handle.” While the theoretical risk

might increase, the reality remains that most data breaches and electronic credit card theft occur not in the

developed policies to address the mistakes that lead to breaches, you need to ramp up your environmental awareness and stay on top of technology. That’s not always easy when your main line of business is providing parking services. Engage with vendors who don’t view security and compli-

ance as afterthoughts, and you’ll reap the rewards of their experi- ence and expertise so you can focus on what you do best. Look for PCI-DSS compliant vendors. Ask questions about

your vendor’s security policy, its plans for possible breaches and what it does to help protect your customers’ assets. 4. Document your business activity. There’s a theory that security analysts hold that even the best

There’s a theory that security analysts hold that even the best security in the world could still result in a breach.

advanced attacks and threats of the cyber underground elite, but more from the lack of policy and procedures around protecting your largest asset – your cus- tomers’ data. Consider five simple items to protect your data and maintain

customer confidence: 1. Develop policies concerning credit card and customer

data that match your business with common sense. For example, while it may be “quicker and more convenient”

to record a copy of a customer’s credit card information in a file or a spreadsheet so you can bill or charge it in the future, ulti- mately your staff is creating a liability for you and your customer by storing this information. Technology can solve this problem with secure recurring credit card systems and hosted payment gateways, which afford you the same functionality with a frac- tion of the risk. 2. Utilize compliance-related tools to ensure that data

are secure. It’s easy for us to look at compliance as a hindrance to our

business practices. The reality is that most compliance was writ- ten to help you have a litmus test to the security of your data. Such items as “internal penetration” testing and regular network scans can he lp you audit and gain visibility into the legitimacy of your technology provider and services. Often, on the first pass, even the strongest IT departments learn where their weakest points lie with compliance-enforced tests of their technology. 3. Don’t go at it alone. Once you’ve established a baseline for compliance and have

Parking Today

security in the world could still result in a breach. To protect your business and your name, the best line of defense is to audit your processes and transactions regularly. While your focus may not be technology, you know your business and when something seems “different.” By auditing and logging your process and changes to your business, you hold your business account- able and provide an audit trail should you ever need to trace a transaction. Many technology vendors

in the parking industry pro- vide ways to customize reports that give you analytical data into the day-to-day workings

of your business. Look for occurrences such as strange log-in times, multiple transactions that don’t match the books, and any- thing that just seems out of the ordinary. Your business intuition will often serve you well. 5. Establish lines of responsibility with your partners and

service providers. It’s important to clearly understand when data security is in

your hands, and when it’s in the hands of your technology provider. Open up with clear dialogue and ask important ques- tions such as, “Where is my customer’s data held? How do I cre- ate and assign users? How is the information transmitted? Is this piece of equipment something I manage or do you manage it?” Understanding the answers to those questions upfront can save you from a surprise later. When adopting data security practices, think about what

it really means to your parking organization. Taking a proac- tive, rather than reactive, approach will pay off tremendously long-term. In addition, rely on your vendors and business partnerships

to help share the burden of customer and data security. Today’s providers offer solutions and services that will make you sleep better at night knowing that you’ve implemented a solution that keeps you and your customers safe.

Grant Dawson, IT Network and Systems Analyst at T2 Systems, and Carol Pferrer, its Product Manager, can be reached through

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