The Holiday Season Draws Closer: How to Keep Customer Data Secure

In no time at all, Cyber Monday and Black Friday will be upon us – that means consumers will be jumping on their computers or heading to stores to shop for the best deals on products they’d like to buy. Unfortunately, what should be the most wonderful time of the year both for retailers and consumers also signals the increased attempt by cyber criminals to gain access to shoppers’ data.

Data breaches are a dime-a-dozen nowadays – threatening consumers’ privacy and wreaking havoc on a retailer’s brand image. The holiday shopping season, with its wealth of customer data, presents a good opportunity for criminals to explore and execute breaches.

We’ve prepared some tips to help ensure your business is not the latest to experience the negative impacts of data theft or loss.

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Study and implement the UK’s 2018 Data protection policy

The UK Data Protection Act 2018 has increased the compliance requirements surrounding how data must be protected, used and stored.  It is important you meet these requirements – failing to meet them makes you vulnerable to attacks and can wipe out profits due to loss of customer confidence or substantial government fines being levied against your business.

Take time to assess your company’s risk exposure and fill the gaps

It’s imperative you run a vulnerability evaluation on all your systems and platforms, company devices and assess the threat risk to each component. Where resources and time are limited, concentrate on dealing with the largest threat risk first. Cyber-criminals often seek quick targets and get off quickly from targets requiring more efforts.

Encrypt your Data

Encrypting your data is the foundation of any cyber security solution.  With key management and a comprehensive encryption solution in place, whether you back up your customer data in the cloud or in store it on the enterprise, if criminals ever get their hands on the encrypted data, it would be unreadable and useless to them.  

Simplify your data security efforts

Relying solely on the encryption solutions provided by the operating system or your device manufacturer is not a good idea.  While the native encryption serves their own devices well, the operating system can benefit greatly from the encryption solutions provided by independent Software Vendors to unify and manage encryption efforts across the enterprise. Managing too many solutions independently gives you more work and more potential points of failure in your data security efforts.

Involve your employees at every level

The employees are the weakest point of any corporate data security plan. Shadow IT applications, sharing of PINs and passwords, the failure to recognize malware scams or lost laptops can create a data breach loophole in your organisation. Engaging and training your employees regularly helps prevent and eliminate these loopholes. Let them know the security solutions and steps you have put in place across the organisation. Ensure the organisation is protected against accidental or intentional employee missteps by implementing solutions that are both transparent to the user and prevent tampering by unauthorized users.

Implementing the tips will make you more secured from data breaches and theft this holiday and beyond.