SecurityCents Blog

Insights on payment data security, payments news and trends



If you are a responsible car owner… or if you’re a dad, you probably wouldn’t consider allowing extensive mileage to build up on your car, or your child’s, without getting an oil change.

If you own a cell phone… or if you’re a teenager, you wouldn’t be caught dead with a cell phone that is several years old. Upgrading on a regular basis is the norm, and the public looks askance at anyone carrying a flip phone.

Yet I often run across hotel and restaurant operators who have not upgraded their PMS/POS systems in years. 4 years! 5 years!! 10 years!!! And they are running the same hardware and software as the day they bought the system.

There are 3 reasons why this is a very risky practice: Security, Feature Benefits, and That Other Thing.

Software upgrades often include the latest security elements, protecting cardholder information. That old system, which has not been upgraded in years, can be putting your customers’ credit card information at grave risk. We are reminded daily in the news, and by advertisers, that identity theft is a very prevalent thing, and the credit card carrying public grows increasingly vulnerable with each passing day. Upgrading software regularly helps to protect your most valuable asset – your customers.

Another reason for upgrading systems is that there are usually product enhancements inherent to the upgrade. Features you may not have even been aware of could offer great benefits to you and your customers.

Lastly, there is that dreaded THING OF WHICH WE DO NOT KNOW looming on the horizon. No one had any idea of what EMV was until it was thrust upon us. Many merchants found themselves in the unenviable position of not only needing to upgrade to EMV, but also needing to upgrade their existing PMS/POS software and possibly hardware. Those who had been regularly attending to the health of their systems had a much smoother transition to EMV than those who did not. The TLS 1.2 initiative was another example of something we never heard of until the time came to be compliant. Those who were up to date had little trouble meeting the requirements, while those who hadn’t touched their system in years were faced with a time consuming, and expensive, “science project”.

So, if you’re a responsible business owner, do yourself a large favor and keep your systems upgraded so you have the latest level of security, the latest features, and some insurance against that THING OF WHICH WE DO NOT KNOW.

In short – CHANGE THAT OIL!!