The holidays are here, and everyone is rushing in to your store, taking advantage of sales and picking up gifts for loved ones. You’re relatively sure that you’re prepared. After all, you’ve hired extra help for the in-store rush. You have extra merchandise on hand, especially of those vital sale items. What more could you need? As the holiday rush increases, however, you don’t want to discover that you’ve missed out on one vital component of your preparations: cyber security.
1. You’re handling more financial information than at any other time of the year. There are more people coming through your store, and more of them are buying things. Specialty stores and big box stores alike are doing more business, sometimes even with people who wouldn’t set foot through their doors at any other time of the year. That’s great for business. It’s not so great if your existing cyber security fails and you find yourself in the position of having to let all of those customers know that your store has allowed their financial information to be compromised.
2. Your clients aren’t watching their accounts as closely. They’re doing a lot of shopping, and they might not notice as quickly if a small sum falls through the cracks. Many thieves don’t drain accounts for huge purchases all at once; instead, they make $1-2 withdrawals here, $10 withdrawals there, to keep their victims from noticing. That means that around the holidays, when they’re making more purchases and don’t have the time to compare them as frequently, scammers and thieves can run off with more of their money before it’s noticed.
3. Potential scammers become more desperate around the holidays. Like the rest of the population, hackers and scammers need more money around the holiday season. They have gifts to buy, decorations to put up, and elaborate meals to put on the table. That means that they’re more likely to give in to the urge to attack your system.
4. You’re collecting more client information than you would at other times of the year. Do you track your customers’ browsing history? Keep an eye on their spending habits? If that data is stored online, it’s of interest to potential hackers–and this time of year, you have more of it than any other time.
5. This is the worst time of year for your website to be locked down, even for a matter of hours. Every moment that your website is down as a result of a cyber attack is potential sale lost. Customers will go to other websites and find other means to get the items they’re looking for, which means revenue that you won’t be able to reclaim. Not only that, customers who are satisfied with the store where they purchased those items will be more likely to visit them instead of you in the future, especially if they remember your store as one that created difficulties for them during their busy holiday shopping.
Updating your cyber security for the holidays is critical. Ensure that your customers and their vital data are as protected as you can make them to keep your holiday traffic coming and your sales information confidential. One cyber attack might not be enough to ruin your business, but it can put a serious dent in it at a time of year when you should be experiencing higher profits.