Retail Cybersecurity: Prepare For The Craziness Of Cyber Monday

The stakes are high during the 4 shopping days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This long holiday weekend provides a substantial percentage of annual retail sales and is vitally important to the economy. But not everything is cheery during this shopping season. Wherever there is money to be made online, cyber criminals are waiting in the shadows ready to pounce. Black Friday and Cyber Monday present lucrative opportunities for hackers and scammers that are eager for online shoppers to pull out their credit cards.

A cyber attack can damage online retailers in many ways. Lost sales, lost merchandise, reputation damage, and legal actions are the tip of the iceberg if your business finds itself in the crosshairs of a hacker. The Black Friday shopping weekend poses undeniable cybersecurity challenges. Overcoming those challenges will make the holiday season more profitable for you business and safer for your customers. These super simple cybersecurity strategies don't require any technical expertise but will give you significant leg up on hackers looking to defraud your business. 

Security strategies for less cyber-savvy business owners during the holiday shopping season:

Implement two-factor authentication.

Always use two-factor authentication (2FA) for online ecommerce platforms (i.e. Shopify, BigCommerce, Salesforce, etc.). Yes, you’ve heard it before. Yes, it’s getting redundant. Yes, it is that important! Think of 2FA as the prerequisite to Cybersecurity 101. It is the minimum requirement to keep any online retail business secure. A brick and mortar store would never leave the doors unlocked after closing. Don’t leave your digital store unlocked either. Hackers employ sophisticated software that will crack your outdated “abc123” password in seconds.

Enforce address and credit card verification. 

Address Verification Service (AVS) is an automated program available to retailers that compares the billing address used in a credit card transaction against information the bank has on file. A surprising number of ecommerce platforms don’t require AVS or allow a merchant to make it optional. Adjust the settings on your account to ensure that AVS is administered on every transaction.

Keep a close eye on the small details. 

Attention to the minutiae will save yourself from headaches and admin hours down the line. Things like mismatched billing and shipping addresses for big ticket purchases or rushed international shipping may indicate fraud. Chargebacks, disputes and payment reversals can be painfully frustrating, but they can also be avoided. 

Look at the transaction data daily. 

You know your customer base and their basic buying habits. Be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary. Do your customers often buy 20 of the exact same item? Probably not. Do your customers often make multiple purchases with different credit cards shipping to the same address? That’s another “No.” A quick skim of the day’s transactions can reveal suspicious orders before processing, saving your inventory and time spent dealing with disputes.

Being a business owner doesn’t mean you're a cybersecurity expert. Cybersecurity is a complicated nut to crack, and the rush of holiday excitement and heavy traffic to your website can exacerbate things even more. Luckily, retailers have a number of resources available that can protect sales and fortify online operations. 

Cyber insurance is another basic security measure against the fraud issues plaguing retailers. It is a class of business insurance that covers retailers in the event of a hack, data breach, or system compromise resulting in data loss (client information) or financial damages. You are responsible for protecting client information like names, credit card numbers, and addresses. If that information is exposed when your website is hacked, you are liable. Cyber insurance will cover legal fees and judgements as well as any costs related to restoring operations. For businesses that experience a breach, cyber insurance can be the deciding factor that determines the ability to carry on or fold under a wave of legal woes.

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For more information, assistance, and helpful cybersecurity tools specific to online retailers, visit CyberPolicy or call (800) 590-7292. You can also explore a selection of personalized quotes and coverages using our quote generator.

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