How to keep customer data safe this Black Friday

Black Friday is just around the corner. While shoppers across the nation are beginning to think about scoring the best deals for this season’s hottest holiday gifts, retailers should focus on keeping their customers’ information safe.

It’s no secret that this unofficial holiday is a gold mine for hackers and cybercriminals around the world. Remember the 2013 Target breach, in which more than 40,000 debit and credit cards were stolen? The massive attack affected shoppers (and the retail space) for more than a year. Unfortunately, things haven’t been consistently looking up for the retail industry since then.

Retailers suffered 24 percent of the approximately 650 security attacks reported in California between 2012 and 2015. While 2016’s numbers aren’t out yet, it doesn’t seem like we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Eddie Bauer, for example, experienced a large-scale breach in August when it was infected with malware.

To avoid becoming the victim of the next big data breach, here are a few tips to keep customers safe this Black Friday.

Know what’s living inside your data.

If you were to take a look a look at your data today, would you be surprised at what you find? Believe it or not, most IT pros have no idea what information they’re responsible for. This often includes personal information like addresses, credit card and Social Security numbers, and more.

The first step to preventing a breach is being data aware. When you don’t know what you have, it’s hard to predict a potential security breach.

Get employees on board with your security plan.

Every single one of your stakeholders (customers, investors, employees, etc.) is at risk if your most sensitive data is compromised. Because of this, your IT team shouldn’t be the only one’s concerned with data protection and security. Everyone within your organization should share the responsibility.

There are three steps you can take to ensure employees are on board with the organization’s security and risk management plans:

  1. Keep your employees in the loop when it comes to security news and research.
  2. Because most people learn from example, make sure the C-suite and top-level executives are also involved in the security conversation.
  3. Continuously revise your security program based on employee feedback and the threat landscape.

Don’t settle for a quick fix.

Bandaging issues with a simple software solution isn’t going to make all of your security problems disappear. To avoid trouble down the road, invest in a system that provides analytics with security and governance features, and constantly evolves with changing threats. With new compliance laws going into effect every day, a vendor who can keep an eye on your growing data and provide guidance to ensure your security and compliance is key.

To prevent a security breach this holiday season, learn what’s hiding in your data.

  Like This
Andrew Hay

Andrew Hay

With over 15 years of data security experience in various roles inside organizations as well as advising them, Andrew serves as the chief information security officer at DataGravity. He is responsible for the development and delivery of the company’s comprehensive data security strategy. Prior to DataGravity, Andrew was the director of research at OpenDNS (acquired by Cisco) and the director of applied security research and chief evangelist at CloudPassage.