Four ways retail businesses can stay safe online

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An overwhelming amount of retail business is now carried out online. It’s therefore more important than ever to ensure that your company is protected from cyber-attacks, so that you know both your own and your customers’ data is secure. Loss of customer data is particularly problematic for businesses, as it will put you in breach of GDPR and incur a hefty fine.

Thankfully, there are many steps that you can take in order to ensure that your business stays safe online – and they aren’t even overly expensive or time-consuming.

Back up your data

Much retail business is data-driven, so backing up and protecting this information is vital. In doing so, you’re protecting against the risk of physical damage caused by events like floods or fires, and you’re also ensuring that you won’t be blackmailed by ransomware attacks should your business become subject to such a threat.

Back up to either an external hard drive or the cloud. If you’re using the former, be sure the device you use is not physically connected to the original device, as this will negate the insurance of the back-up.

Using a VPN

Using a VPN from https://surfshark.com/learn/what-is-vpn has many benefits for the online safety of retail businesses. VPNs are designed to increase online anonymity and security. By encrypting your data, masking your IP address, and more, a VPN ensures that your online activity is neither tracked nor analysed by third parties. It also means your devices may be less vulnerable to attack by viruses or cyber-attackers, as they will find it harder to track your online activity.

If your retail business has area managers who have to travel frequently to visit stores nationwide, a VPN can be a great way of ensuring that they can conduct business online securely – even over free public wi-fi. Their own company liaisons will be secure from hackers, as will any customer data to which they have access.

Keep your anti-virus software up to date

It’s of paramount important that you ensure your company laptops and computers have the most up-to-date malware protection installed. One of the easiest ways to do so is to ensure that the automatic updates of the antivirus software on your operating systems is turned on (most will automatically have this function freely available, but you do need to turn it on).

Using a firewall is another great way of ensuring your retail business stays safe online, as is updating any software and educating staff on not downloading questionable applications.

Update your passwords

Updating your passwords every 90 days is a great insurance policy against attackers. Using two-factor authentication (2FA) is another strategy by which you can secure yourself against hackers, and if you can use different passwords for different services, this will also act as a good defence.

If your workforce is frequently out of the office and making use of devices for company work, be sure that these are password-secure. You can also use a mobile device management software in order to ensure that any lost devices can be tracked, locked, or wiped. Some even offer the ability to either erase any data on the device or retrieve a back-up.