If there is one admirable quality about cybercriminals, it is their resilience. These individuals never give up on improving their craft. They have cyber security experts running around, trying to outdo them. But, hackers always seem to stay one step ahead in the game.
The outbreak of the Covid pandemic was a blessing for cybercriminals. Many businesses had to turn to online platforms to stay open. Within that time, there was a 600% increase in cybercrimes. The actual cost of damages as of 2021 could be as high as $6 trillion globally.
Data breaches are a major concern for any business operating online. Online jewelry stores can be a prime target for cybercriminals for one reason. They know that the stores cater to some high-net-worth individuals. After all, how many people can drop thousands of dollars to buy an accessory? Store owners must do all they can to protect such customer information.
Jewelry store owners collect a lot of customer information. They may store this on the cloud, physical servers, or desktop devices. Yet, without the right security measures, anyone can get access to it.
Concern for data safety has led to regulatory laws on the collection and management of information. The GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an example. It applies to any organization that may deal with customers within the EU.
Store owners can face harsh penalties if they violate security and privacy standards. There is no limit to the fine amounts, some reaching millions of Dollars.
Yet, industry regulations should not be the driving force. Jewelry store owners owe it to their customers to keep information safe. So, what can you do as a business owner?
Customer information plays a vital role in any business. There is the basic aspect of making communication with customers easy. And, another important factor is data for marketing. You can, for example, segment customers by their preferences.
Let’s take the example of customers who buy loose lab-created diamonds. Such have the clarity and brilliance of mined diamonds. But, they come in at a lower price point due to the production process. Cybercriminals might take interest in the buyers of such products as they obviously have enough money to splurge on extravagant pieces.
These criminals know that the store owners have access to the buyers’ pertinent and sensitive information, such as their credit card information. A breach will put them at risk. As such, you need to take on precautionary methods to protect your customers and your business.
When collecting relevant data, the trick is to limit the data points in the form. What is the point in asking for two or three email or physical addresses? If your transactions will be online, why ask for the country, state, or postal code? Remember, customers, are also wary of any company that wants to know too much about them.
Take a look around your store right now. You have an array of diamond rings, diamond tennis bracelets, and lab-grown diamonds. The one thing you have not compromised on is the type of security. There are cameras all over the store. You have all the pricey pieces locked away.
The same measures should apply to customer data protection. Please take the following steps.
- Invest in the best antivirus, anti-malware and anti-ransomware solutions.
- Enable firewalls as an extra precaution.
- Keep up with installing the latest software updates. You get all the latest security features at no extra cost.
- Backup customer information. In case of a breach, you still have access to the information. Consider storing the backup information in a location outside of your business premises. And, ensure that you encrypt the information.
- Data encryption is critical for stored data. Ensure the same if there is any information movement from one place to another.
- Strong passwords and multi-factor authentication is a must. It is also important that you change the passwords every so often. Remember to do the same for employees who have left the company.
- Avoid writing down passwords in notebooks or sticky notes. Saving passwords for online sites may seem convenient. But, it means anyone who has access to your computer can enter those sites. Yes, it is a small inconvenience to have to input login details every time. But, it can be an effective way to keep customer information safe.
Limit who has access to customer information. The best options are zero trust or least privilege. Anyone who needs to see the customer information must have the right authorization. Insider threats are a big concern when it comes to data security. An unhappy employee can decide to sell the information to other people.
In other cases, the breach may be unintentional. Phishing attacks, for example, occur when someone clicks on an email link. The challenge is that communication seems to be coming from a trustworthy source. The employees may not think twice about opening such. Consider it an investment to train all staff members on online and offline data security.
Payment processing comes under the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCCI DSS). It regulates the acceptance, processing, storage and transmission of the credit card information. The companies must ensure that all these occur in a safe and secure environment.
When shopping for POS systems or online payment processors, ensure PCI compliance. The product sellers take the necessary steps to install the right security measures.
Cloud storage is safer than having sensitive information on a physical device. A disgruntled staff member can copy files from your computer. Anyone who breaks into the store can take off with the hard drive.
Internet connections via wireless networks are also sources of vulnerability. Cloud Storage solutions offer a lot more data security. SSL security encryption on web browsers further enhances this.
Keeping customer information safe is an ongoing concern for any business owner. Any breach can have serious implications for the business. Customers may lose money if the criminals use the information for nefarious purposes.
For the business, it could mean a loss of reputation. Recovering from such can be very difficult, especially in the jewelry business. We have shared workable ideas on how to keep customer information safe. You have the responsibility to ensure utmost security at all times.
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