You can’t make this stuff up. One Sunday last year, Gillian Franklin, owner of Heat Group, one of the world’s largest cosmetics brands, logged on to her business from London only to discover that all of her documents and files were gone, just gone. In their place, was a ransom note demanding a $40,000 Bitcoin payment for their return. And although Franklin said she would have paid the ransom in a ‘flash’ to get her files back, as it turned out, there was no point in doing so. The hackers had inadvertently deleted some of the files they’d stolen making a ransom payment a moot point. Although the Hackers managed to shoot themselves in the foot with that attack, its impact in terms of downtime, lost business and lost information was still devastating for the Heat Group. It ended up costing the company $2 million and nearly put it out of business.
But it’s not just the major beauty companies that are targeted by hackers
Smaller beauty companies, such as hair salons and nail salons, have experienced cyber-attacks too. The fact is that while there is a tendency to assume that hackers won’t attack small businesses, making that assumption is not only wrong, but could also be dangerous to small business owners. Hackers don’t discriminate. If there are ways to profit from hacking small businesses, they will hack away, so owners of beauty salons or services need to be cyber vigilant too. Actually, what they need are cyber beauty hacks to fend off hackers.
Cyber beauty hacks 101
Whether they’re giving their customers a mani-pedi, a facial, or a haircut, in order to run their businesses well, beauty salon owners need to focus on giving the best service possible, not on whether their business data is secure. After all, for most salons, excellent service is key to their success and if they can’t give that killer facial, or that ultimate hair style, or that perfect eyebrow contour because they’ve been hacked or are worried they might be hacked, they can’t run a successful salon.
Fortunately, we have some great cyber beauty hacks to keep beauty businesses in tip-top cyber shape.
- Install a small business antivirus. An antivirus solution is your best chance of avoiding a cyber-attack. It’s essential to uninterrupted Internet use and computer and data safety. Look for an antivirus that provides powerful endpoint protection so all of your business computers are protected, browser protection so no one at your business browses to malicious websites, protection against phishing so no one clicks on malicious links or opens malicious attachments, and ransomware protection so hackers can’t encrypt your files and then demand a ransom payment for their return.
- Learn the lingo**.** Don’t underestimate the importance of knowing a little cyber terminology. It will help you avoid fraud and feel less like you’re traveling to a foreign country when you’re trying to make your business cyber secure.
- Stay informed. Complacency and indifference leaves your business vulnerable and many cyber incidents are caused by people ignoring cybersecurity advice. Part of having a secure online presence and protecting your business’ privacy means staying informed about the latest threats and updates that could impact your business.
- Ensure employee training and awareness. Your employees must also stay informed. They need to understand and be aware of the threat that cyber-attacks pose to your business (and consequently their livelihood), and strictly adhere to your company cybersecurity policies.
- Keep your software up to date. Those annoying software updates you’re always being asked to run? Don’t ignore them! They’re critical to your business’ cybersecurity. Cyber criminals and hackers are always hunting for software vulnerabilities. Software updates provide patches to these vulnerabilities.
- Use strong passwords**.** Hackers love their brute force attacks, which are attempts to crack passwords in order to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. Following recommended password protocols such as making passwords at least eight characters long, not reusing the same password, and using two-factor authentication, make this type of hack infinitely more difficult.
- Limit access. Limiting access to your data to only those who absolutely need it, including your suppliers and vendors, is another crucial security measure. And don’t forget to verify that your vendors and suppliers have their own cybersecurity measures in place before sharing any of your business data.
Reputation is in the eyes of the beholder
Like beauty, reputation is in the eyes of the beholder. Delivering excellent service and customer satisfaction will give your salon a golden and beautiful reputation in the eyes of all your customers. Being distracted by worries that your business might be hacked or worse yet, actually being hacked, will not. By following the cyber beauty tips described above, you’ll make your business cybersecure, so you can make your clients beautiful.