Omnichannel approaches to sales and marketing have proved to be unbeatable in giving customers a seamless online experience. Omnichannel retailers incorporate multiple methods of shopping, which can include having a physical shop, online store, social media interactions, phone sales, etc. Customers prefer when placing orders is this easy, which is the major reason why most retailers have embraced this technique.
That being said, this shift to an omnichannel approach doesn’t come easy. While it helps expand and solidify your customer base, you may fall short on data security. And with 24% of all cyberattacks targeting the retail sector, it’s more important than ever for companies to grasp the potential cybersecurity challenges.
The Challenge of Data Security for Omnichannel Retailers
The retail sector holds many sensitive customer data, including credit card information, email, and phone numbers, customer PII, etc. Any data breach can cost businesses millions of dollars on top of legal repercussions. Customers also lose confidence in victim companies, with businesses facing an average 46% drop in sales profits after a data breach. And the omnichannel approach has only made retail businesses more lucrative targets..
But what makes businesses more susceptible to attacks? Here’re the common elements:
- Weak passwords.
- Non-encrypted communication channels.
- Unsafe local and cloud storage.
- Unpatched or legacy technology.
- Unsecure networks.
- Lack of cybersecurity awareness amongst employees (human error).
- Poor system configuration.
- Malware-ridden files or websites accessed on the network.
Seeing how big a risk data breaches pose, it’s only sensible for companies to incorporate every defensive measure possible. Shoppers value privacy just as much as they value a seamless, personalized experience.
How to Secure Omnichannel Data
There’s no set way to secure multiple data channels. A proper cybersecurity strategy with various elements should be your go-to. For reference, here are a couple of ways how omnichannel retailers strengthen their data protection.
Encryption and Tokenization
Omnichannel data is as sensitive as it is enormous- it can’t be saved in a readable format. Advanced encryption technology should be used to keep user metrics and cross-platform communication safe. Likewise, encrypted tokens will aid in protecting payment information.
Collect Relevant Data
An effective way to better omnichannel data security is by collecting fewer data. Yes, you heard it right- more often than not, retailers collect unnecessary data. This can include phone numbers, addresses, and even income details- they don’t contribute to personalizing the end-user experience. Customers also can just save this data in their browser for automatic input.
Remember that if you only keep mission-critical data like name, ad preference, shopping history, card information, etc., you can better protect these files.
Restrict Data Access
Not every department and every employee needs access to all information. Data access privileges should be restricted across a network to reduce lateral movement risks, making it difficult for hackers to travel between PCs. Thus you automatically become an unappealing target.
Robust authentication in cross-platform operations is a brilliant feature when used to your advantage. Consistent single sign-on authentication on every login makes identifying users easier for your systems. This can be paired with machine learning algorithms that study behavioral biometrics to block suspicious activity.
Educate Workers and Users
Most data breaches stem from human error. Employees must be educated in cybersecurity best practices to spot data phishing attempts. Similarly, informing customers of what data you collect and letting them customize their privacy measures can make them more mindful of how they share personal information, reducing errors from their end.
The bottom line is: if you have sensitive customer data, you have to hold it really close to your heart. The importance of data security for omnichannel retailers can’t be overstated.