In the midst of this surge of online purchases, companies are still doing their best to provide stellar service without compromising their security. This is a slippery slope for retailers, one that can help brands retain customers and inspire loyalty, or increase the risk of data breaches and a vast array of similarly damaging cyber security issues. The truth is, cyber security is not and never will be a “set it and forget it” type of deal, and brands need to embrace the learning curve of managing this sector to elevate security and experience in one go.
Being so specific, retail requires very industry-relevant solutions to the growing problem of cyber threats. Retailers are faced with changing customer needs, growing competition, changing customer behaviors in how they make decisions and buy online, and in all that noise, focusing on the right cyber security protocols can make or break your business. Here’s an overview of what every retailer needs to do in the upcoming period to ensure greater security in all transactions online.
Avoid unnecessary data storing
Retailers use customer data of all sorts, from behavioral patterns to previous purchases in order to understand how they can provide a better service next time or personalize the experience upon a next encounter. However, when it comes to financial transactions and the extremely sensitive data related to your customers’ credit cards and personal information – there is no justification for storing this type of data in your databases for longer than necessary.
In fact, the smartest way to go about your transactions is to avoid storing this type of data altogether. Even if there’s a data breach of your hands, you’ll then focus on rebuilding your security efforts, as opposed to worrying about the stolen information such as PIN codes or customer address information. Much like you want to protect your company’s sensitive information, you need to avoid storing your customers’ most private information.
Have experts tackle your cyber security
No retail business today can afford not to have a dedicated IT sector, and within it, at least one cyber security expert. Just like your support staff handles customer-related queries and issues, your cyber security experts need to be available at all times to manage, maintain, and improve all your security strategies. For your security to be effective, make sure your employees are trained and certified in the latest and most relevant cyber security methods for your business.
Encourage and enable your teams to take a relevant cyber security course that will equip them with the latest trends and solutions to keep your business safe. You need competent and skillful professionals managing your IT infrastructure, preventing cyber threats, and spotting security issues before they wreak havoc on your business.
Educate all other employees, too
Not everyone on your staff can be an expert in cyber security. You have marketers, inventory managers, social media managers, support teams, HR experts, and other employees who cannot possibly be versed in all things related to cyber security and your IT needs. What they can do, on the other hand, is learn about their own role in ensuring elevated security for your business and all customer transactions.
From the moment you select your employees, onboard them, all the way throughout the years they spend working with you – provide them with the knowledge on cyber security they can actually implement. Train and educate your staff on cyber security best practices, such as password protection, multifactor authentication, phishing prevention, system updates, and the like. Their awareness will greatly contribute to how your retail business operates and how secure all your interactions and transactions are.
Protect your POS from malware
Retailers partner with various third-party systems and solutions in order to increase operational efficiency across the board. That often means integrating their selling channels into a single, unified point-of-sale system, or POS for short, which is a highly effective way of doing business – but also prone to cyber security risks if not handled correctly from the get-go.
What happens most often is that cyber criminals will target credit card information used during purchases to then conduct their own fraudulent purchases with the same data. POS systems are prone to malware attacks when they don’t have the necessary levels of protection, so you need to make sure that all of your third-party integrations are properly secured.