Being proactive when it comes to protecting your small business against cyberattacks is in your best interest, especially as a retailer. Cybersecurity involves security prevention in more than just one way. Whether your business is online or a traditional brick-and-mortar store, you’re susceptible to cyberattacks and you want to make sure you stay educated on what to do to minimize your risks.
So, what exactly is cybersecurity or a cyberattack? Well, cybersecurity is the state of being protected against a criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this. Cyberattacks are an attempt by hackers to damage or destroy a computer network or system. Now that we've clarified a few things, let's dive into what you can do to protect your business.
As a retailer, you’re more prone to cyberattacks because you house a wealth of customer data. This doesn't mean you aren't able to still protect your business; it just means you have to take action now for the future. Getting started with preventative security measures ahead of time already puts you in a great place for protecting your business — you want to be sure you know what you can do so you don't remain or feel helpless. Staying informed on what you can do to protect your business not only helps with that but it will ultimately improve your customer experience and make you a more credible retailer. Your customers will know that they can trust your business to keep their information safe.
Below are some tips you can use to be proactive with cybersecurity.
1. Educate yourself. Learn about what cybersecurity is and take a free workshop to really get the basics down — trust us, it will be worth it in the long run.
2. Have a plan set in place. Once you’ve learned about cybersecurity, put proper steps into action of what to do in case of a cyberattack.
3. Increase email security. Be aware of the basic email security precautions, such as avoiding suspicious links or attachments. This is the quickest and easiest way to prevent a malicious email from getting through.
4. Include extra details when setting passwords. Making a complicated password is in your best interest. Your business contains sensitive data and you want to make sure it’s not easily accessible.
Get PCI Compliant & Maintain Your Status
There are other ways to make sure your customer data is protected, not only from cyberattacks, but protected in general. PCI is the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) requirements for merchants that store, process or transmit cardholder data. There are 12 core requirements and roughly 250 controls. Meeting the most important standard in the payments industry allows your customers’ payment details (and your business) to stay protected.
Being PCI compliant enables the allowed stored credit card information to be done so only through required security standards. Now, when you aren't compliant, it puts you more at risk and exposes you to heavy financial threat since it's a requirement for merchants who process credit/debit cards in person or online. But, this shouldn't worry you because compliance is simple. If you already accept EMV chip cards, you're most likely in good standing.
Adopt EMV Chip Card Payment Technology
Another way to protect your business is to adopt EMV chip card technology at your business. EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, is the technology behind that tiny microchip on credit and debit cards everywhere in the U.S. This chip has huge benefits when it comes to protecting against fraud for card-present transactions. It offers better data security than magnetic stripe transactions and makes counterfeiting a card next to impossible.
Not accepting EMV chip cards puts you at unnecessary risk for fraud and chargebacks. But with EMV chip card technology, it significantly reduces the chance of accepting fake cards and having any fraudulent activity. Choosing to accept EMV chip cards at your business grants you, as the merchant, the benefit of dual verification, protecting you from liability. Dual verification authenticates the person using the card is the owner, resulting in a reduced opportunity of fraud.
It doesn’t matter if your business is online or in a brick-and-mortar store, you are still at risk for cyberattacks. What does matter is how you take initiative as a business and prevent those potential risks from coming in and taking over your company. It’s important to not place all of your eggs in one basket with just one cybersecurity prevention measure, there are multiple ways to stay safe!