The 2020 Academy Awards – a night of glamour and excitement, a night of Oscar presentations and acceptance speeches. A night that captivated 23 million-plus viewers and thrilled its guests, its award winners, and all the people involved in the show’s preparations from the directors and producers to the camera operators and set designers. And let’s not forget the beauty experts; the fashion designers, the hairstylists, the makeup artists and others that worked behind the scenes to make the stars look amazing. Of course, the opportunity to be a beauty expert to the stars is limited to a select few; most small business beauty store owners won’t get to experience that opportunity or win an award for their beauty expertise. However, there is an award that all beauty store owners can win. In fact, in some ways it’s more important than an Oscar; it’s a cybersecurity for beauty business award.
Never heard of it? Well, it’s time you did. Granted, the award category isn’t quite as dazzling as best picture or best actor, and it’s a virtual award so you won’t be going home with an Oscar if you win one, but don’t be fooled; its benefits are far more tangible than you realize. Winning this virtual award means your beauty business is safe from cyber-attacks and hackers. Think that’s not important? Then consider this: according to smallbiztrend.com, 43% of all cyber-attacks target small businesses. Indeed, no business is too large or too small to fall victim to a data breach, and no industry vertical is immune to attack. Making matters worse, is that 60% of small businesses fold within 6 months of an attack.
How to protect your beauty business
Got your attention now? Great! Now that you understand the importance of protecting your beauty business from hackers, let’s take a look to see which of the cybersecurity measures listed below you’ve implemented and can check off.
A powerful business antivirus. All businesses need a powerful antivirus solution that provides endpoint protection so that all its computers are secure. The antivirus should be intuitive to use and easily managed, preferably from a single console. It should also have minimal impact on system resources, so that background scans do not impact system performance, and it should offer 24/7, real-time protection. Moreover, it should have important privacy features such as browsing protection, so employees don’t browse malicious URLs; camera and microphone protection, so no one spies on private business conversations; anti-tracking features, so your employees’ browsing activity isn’t tracked; anti-phishing protection, so your employees don’t click on dangerous links or download harmful attachments; and ransomware protection to prevent your business data from being encrypted and then held for ransom.
Safe password practices**.** All businesses should adopt and enforce a set of strict password policies, such as requiring passwords to be at least eight characters long, and making sure that all passwords are unique.
Cybersecurity awareness meetings. Secure businesses also must make sure that their employees are kept up-to-date on the latest cyber-attacks and penetration methods so that they’re always on the lookout for potential breaches. Employees should be kept abreast of ransomware and phishing techniques, so they know what to look for and how to avoid them, and they should be taught and expected to follow strict password policies.
HTTPS instead of HTTP. HTTPS and HTTP are systems for transmitting and receiving information across the web. However, only HTTPS is secure, so in order for your business website to be able to transfer confidential information securely, it must use HTTPS. Similarly, you and your employees should only perform transactions on websites that use HTTPS.
Software updates**.** Believe it or not, software updates have a purpose beyond just being annoying; they often contain patches to software vulnerabilities that hackers have found a way to exploit. Bottom line? Don’t ignore software update notices. They could have just the patch needed to keep you from being hacked.
Limited access**.** This is a security measure that is often overlooked, but is nonetheless a very important part of keeping your business data safe. Your employees should not have access to all your business data and information, and they should not be able to install or remove software without your permission. Employees should only have access to the data and the systems that they need to do their jobs.
And the winner is…
Your beauty business! But only if you’ve checked off all the cybersecurity measures listed above. If you have then you’ve earned that virtual cybersecurity award. More important than receiving any award, however, is knowing that you’re keeping your business data private, your customer information secure, and your business safe. And in the digital age, that’s totally a win.