Smart Cards & Point of Sale Terminals......How Will They Affect You?

Although major U.S. banks have been rolling out new, secure smart chip debit and credit cards for months, users have yet to experience the impact of this. Experts say typical consumers will get confused and may even be hesitant when first attempting to use these new smart cards. The new smart-cards contain a PIN (personal identification number) and a computer chip that can be read by a new point-of-sale terminal.

As a result, customers may choose to rely on the less secure magnetic stripe also on the new cards for in-store purchases, or customers may turn to mobile wallet alternatives such as Apple Pay or the upcoming Android Pay. This method will allow them to skip the credit and debit card experience altogether. The PIN and chip concept may be confusing to consumers because they are so familiar with the magnetic stripe method.

Smart cards are much more secure than magnetic stripe cards. According to the Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) Connection website, there are currently more than 3.4 billion chip cards in circulation that are widely used in 80 countries outside the U.S.

Smart cards are embedded with a computer chip that is read by a new generation payment terminal. As with older cards, payment information is transmitted electronically over a payment network to confirm a customer has available credit or funds in a debit account.

There are a few reasons that consumers might get confused or give up using the smart cards. First, it takes longer by at least a couple of seconds to make a payment with a smart card rather than a magnetic stripe card. Also, the payment confirmation will vary by the type of payment terminal or a store's required payment procedure, which could cause confusion. Some new terminals that are designed to handle smart cards will emit a beep that a transaction is complete, while others will flash a light or a text message on a screen that signals approved. In some other cases, a store clerk will verbally confirm that the payment is complete, which will depend on whether the sales clerk has received proper training. The current deadline for the new smart card is October 2015; however gas stations have until October 2016.

Although the new smart cards may be confusing to users they offer a lot of great benefits. Some of the benefits are the following:

·         Consumers will experience peace of mind knowing that their card information is secure. They will also be able to use cards anywhere in the world.

·         Merchants will realize fewer fraud-related charge-backs due to stolen cards and skimming. They will also increase customer satisfaction with their international patrons. And they will be ready for the future of mobile wallets and other innovations.

·         Card issuers and payment processors will benefit from a reduction in counterfeit card fraud.

Here at Software Solutions, we’ve researched computer integrated EMV readers and in our opinion the market is severely lacking in hardware and software. We’re expecting major issues with vendors such as restaurants. Are you ready for this big change in charging items? How do you think this will affect you when you make purchases?


The Release of Windows 10

On July 29, 2015 Windows 10 is set to be released. This release of Windows 10 comes with Microsoft Edge, an all-new browser that’s built to give you a better web experience. With Windows 10 you can write or type notes directly on webpages and share them with others, read online articles free of distraction, and save your favorite reads for later access. Also with Cortana enabled, you get instant access to key actions like making reservations or reading reviews without leaving the page you’re on.

So I’m sure you’d like to know what’s new in Windows 10. Windows 10 has the following new features:

  • New start menu. The new start menu looks like the old start menu. It brings some features from the Windows 8.1 start screen, such as live tiles, and can be re-sized.
  • The Windows 8 task switcher has been removed. There is now a new task view so users can switch between virtual desktops.
  • A new snap assist feature helps you snap windows. This feature also helps users work out which way is best to snap apps to. You can snap windows into new screens and tile Windows.
  • The command prompt is now getting keyboard shortcuts.  Now you’ll be able to paste in your commands.
  • An improvement to Windows Explorer. A new home location is the new default view in Windows Explorer. There’s also a share button on the Windows Explorer task-bar.
  • Windows 10 Universal Apps. Windows 10 will be able to run on all devices from phones to servers and there will be a single app store across the lot.
  • Universal apps now float on the desktop. The new Universal apps also work on the desktop and float in their own Windows.

In addition to the features listed above, Windows 10 also starts up and resumes fast, has more built-in security to help keep you safe, and is designed to work with software and hardware you already have.

If you currently have Windows 7 or 8, you will be entitled to download Windows 10 free of cost for 1 year, however if you don’t have neither Windows 7 or 8 then there will be a charge for the new release. Upon the release of Windows 10, Software Solutions will install it on various machines in our office with hopes to have it fully deployed in September. 

Google Moves Its Corporate Applications to the Internet

Google is taking a new approach to enterprise security by moving its corporate applications to the Internet. By doing this the internet giant is shifting away from the idea of a trusted internal corporate network secured by perimeter devices such as firewalls to a model where corporate data can be accessed from anywhere with the right device and user credentials.

The new model called the BeyondCorp initiative assumes that the internal network is as dangerous as the Internet. Access depends on the employee’s device and user credentials. Using authentication, authorization and encryption, the model grants employees fine-grained access to different enterprise resources.

Analysts suggest that this type of model is needed due to the number of employees that use clouds and mobile applications. “A lot of companies can learn from Google’s aggressiveness,” said Jon Oltsik, senior principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, an IT research firm. “There’s not a company anywhere that won’t have to develop something like this,” he said.

Google is currently migrating to the new approach and in the future intends for the entire company to utilize this model. According to a Google spokesman, so far about 90% of corporate applications have been migrated. With the new model access depends solely on the device and user credentials, regardless of the employee’s network location. Therefore, employee access is treated the same whether the user is at a corporate office, at home or in a coffee shop. This method does away with the conventional virtual private network connection into the network. It also encrypts employee connections to corporate applications, even when an employee is connecting from a Google building.

This new enterprise security architecture is a sharp departure from the way many companies currently configure security. Many companies depend heavily on firewalls to prevent unauthorized internet users from accessing private networks such as intranets, while this one won’t.

In your opinion do you think cloud based stuff is safer than in house stuff?

MEET THE TEAM. Got A Complex Computer Problem....We've Got the Team To Fix It.

Elizabeth Saroglou

Elizabeth Saroglou is part of the team that’s been employed with Software Solutions since 2014. Elizabeth currently has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. While earning her BS in Computer Science, she worked at a company creating administrative software for school districts to submit special education data for federal funding.  Elizabeth started as an intern but had many promotions from Technical Customer Support Rep, to SCRUM Master and Senior Programmer while employed there.   

Prior to joining Software Solutions, Elizabeth led the Technical Product Support team for a Suite of Web-based aircraft maintenance applications used globally by the business aviation community.  This included coordinating eight people to support six customer facing products and four internal applications.  These products ranged from legacy ASP Applications, to ExtJS and MVC.  During this time she designed and implemented a new process for organizing and tracking customer requests which helped prioritize all reported issues for timely resolution.   


Elizabeth has extensive knowledge of writing complex queries in Oracle and MSSQL.  She enjoys participating in all phases of the development cycle that requires strong analytical and problem solving skills to help develop and grow products.


With our awesome group of team members, Software Solutions can solve all of your computer problems. Got an issue, give us a call (631) 738-2553.