5 Steps to Preventing a Data Breach Disaster
With retailers across the globe transitioning to electronic payment options for their customers — most notably the recent launch of Apple Pay — many are starting to wonder if cash payments could soon become a thing of the past. According to the 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study, this increasing card-based payment trend is being driven by five major factors: new technological and financial innovations; changes in consumer and business financial behaviors; the evolving business cycle; regulatory developments; and population growth.
With such a heavy reliance on e-payment options comes the increasing risk of a potential data breach, however. Take for example the highly publicized incidents involving major U.S. retailers like Home Depot, Target and Michaels, which have all fallen victim to the likes of advanced hackers. As a result, enterprises around the world are beginning to wonder, "Is anyone safe?"
If retailers want to keep both their customers’ financial data as well as their brand reputation out of harm's way, it's imperative they take the right steps in protecting vulnerable information. Below are five critical steps that retailers need to be taking to keep their customers’ financial information safe from a potential breach:
1. Know exactly where your business is being conducted. The majority of retail brands have their customer data spread out across multiple locations, whether it be at the company's corporate offices, at specific retail store locations or within the brand's online portal. Because of this, it's critical for retailers to understand how and where customer data — especially payment information — is being accessed, handled and, most importantly, secured.
2. Recognize data at rest. As mentioned above, retailers are constantly storing information in multiple locations, usually for the customer's convenience. However, data that's being stored on portable devices such as laptops or archived on servers is often forgotten and, as a result, becomes a prime target for hackers. Retailers must encrypt all data at rest. By doing so, there's little to no concern should a device be stolen or lost.