cybersecurity tips for retailers

Advances in technology allow small retailers to reach new markets and grow their footprint quickly. They become more efficient and productive when using computer-based tools. Plus, the variety and effectiveness of cloud-based applications and digital marketing platforms allow them to be competitive in today’s global marketplace. But, there is a downside to this because these tools also open them up to severe risks.

Planning for Cybersecurity

Since the internet became an integral part of retail businesses, theft of digital information is as big of a threat as physical theft. Every business needs to be responsible for creating a culture that embraces a plan to defend against online threats. This should also include preventative measures for physical threats from within the company or other bad actors.

7 Cyber Security Tips

Creating a cybersecurity plan requires a lot of scrutiny regarding employees and everyday operations. Every aspect of the business contains windows of opportunity that need to be monitored or closed completely. These may involve additional resources for protection, while others establish guidelines and policies.

The following cybersecurity tips for retailers offer some insight into how a small retailer can protect their business, and more importantly, their customers.

1. Employee Training

Employees are the frontline of defense. Establishing basic polices and best practices guides them through the appropriate usage of technology. Through these, they will understand how to handle and protect the company, customers, and themselves from harm. They also need to be aware of consequences for bad behavior or violating company policy.

2. The Latest Technology

Cybersecurity threats have become more sophisticated. Older computers and software are not able to defend against these threats. This requires companies to upgrade their systems, or else they remain vulnerable to attack. Also, no system should have any software or applications installed unless fully vetted and approved.

3. Advanced Firewall for Internet Connection

Having a firewall is the best defense against cyber intrusion. It prevents outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Plus, retailers need to be aware that there should be a robust firewall in place wherever they work—at home or a coffee shop.

4. Mobile Devices

The portability of mobile devices creates a significant challenge. Someone can simply walk away with a device and have access to confidential information, passwords, and access to customer data. Password protection is essential, as well as geolocation, in case one gets stolen. A procedure should be in place for reporting a stolen device and resetting all passwords.

5. Real-Time Data Backup

Cyber attacks don’t always steal information. They can also disrupt or damage physical systems. Retailers should use cloud-based applications for real-time backup of data, especially for their point of sale and inventory management systems.

6. Physical Access

Restricting physical access to computers and mobile technology will limit risks. Only trained employees should be able to use these systems. Another way to ensure tight security is to have separate user accounts for each employee. Their access to certain types of data can be restricted to their specific job.

7. Consistent Updates

Passwords need to be changed every three months. Some applications provide, but do not require multi-factor authentication. This adds an added layer of security, especially if a mobile device is stolen. And finally, updating computer operating systems protect vital data from attacks.

A Good Plan Evolves to Meet the Threats

Every cybersecurity plan needs to be flexible and evolve with different levels of threat. This requires some vigilance and staying on top of the trends, but doesn’t involve a lot of work. Just some basic research and reading up on the topic will keep you ahead of the curve.

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