Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the start of the festive season for many stores, as well as the biggest shopping days of the year. But while past Black Fridays have seen crowds of shoppers scouring the shelves for the best deals, current lockdown restrictions mean that pretty much all of us will be doing our shopping and saving online. This puts more pressure than ever on ecommerce businesses to deliver not just a smooth digital service, but a safe one too.
Because Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also important dates in the calendars of hackers and cybercriminals. With customer data constantly on the move between databases as purchases are made, businesses must ensure that their cybersecurity is up to scratch if they want to protect both themselves and their customer base.
Be aware of the risks
Arming yourself with the necessary knowledge the best first step you can take when it comes to getting through Black Friday weekend safely. Understand what forms cybercrimes may take so you can spot red flags if and when they arise.
For example, in past years phishing attempts alone have risen by 336% around Black Friday. This includes text, email and social media scams targeting customers looking for a deal. Other possible threats include malware, ransomware, viruses and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
Start making preparations early
Don’t wait for Black Friday to roll around before worrying about cybersecurity. Now is the time to start putting the necessary measures in place. Start early means you can focus on your sales and marketing when the weekend itself arises, confident in the knowledge that you’re already doing everything you can to support data protection.
Protect card data with PCI DSS compliance
PCI DSS compliance is something ecommerce businesses should be aware of all year round, but if you were ever going to revisit the requirements, than the build up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the time. By meeting PCI DSS compliance standards, you are essentially enforcing best practice when it comes to protecting customer card data. At a time when so much card data is being transferred, this is extremely important.
Put your defences to the test
As part of PCI DSS compliance, you may need to put your wider cybersecurity defences to the test. This may involve services such as vulnerability scans and penetration testing, the latter of which works by mimicking the actions of hackers in order to highlight weak points in your business before an incident occurs. This allows cybersecurity experts to explore your ecommerce site and recommend necessary improvements before these weak points are manipulated by hackers.
It may also be necessary to install more robust firewalls on your site, and to revisit your disaster recovery plan. Acting early gives you plenty of time to do this.
Remember: communication is key
Don’t keep your customers in the dark about your cybersecurity efforts. Let them know that you take the threat of cybercrime seriously by informing them of the steps you are taking to protect their data. You can also educate them on the best practices necessary in keeping themselves safe over the Black Friday weekend, including how to spot a phishing attempt.
Businesses shouldn’t have to choose between a sales focus and a cybersecurity focus. It’s important for brands to remember that putting the right security measures in place can actually benefit your reputation with customers, giving you the upper hand against competitors.