When is Black Friday?
It’s official – the countdown to this year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend is on.
Starting on Friday 26th November, Black Friday will likely signal the start of the busiest online retail weekend of the year as shoppers look to bag some Christmas bargains.
In fact, research shows that UK shoppers plan to spend an estimated £4.8 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases this year.
Why is cyber security so important for retailers during sales periods?
If you run a retail brand, you’ll no doubt be promoting discounts, increasing stock levels, and readying your business for the busy weekend already. A factor that is often overlooked, but is crucial in your preparations, is cyber security.
The busy sales period will present itself as a lucrative opportunity for hackers and social engineering scammers, so heightened IT security is a must.
Trustwave’s 2020 Global Security Report found the retail industry to be the biggest industry for cybercrime, accounting for 24% of all cyber-attacks. With the number of retail transactions accelerating during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, it’s likely these figures will increase unless brands focus on their security procedures.
How to protect your brand during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend
Here are 5 tips to help you keep your brand and customers safe this winter sale season:
1. Be proactive – We know when Black Friday falls, so this allows you to be proactive by preparing your IT security systems for the lucrative sales weekend. Keep your business’s data and assets safe by ensuring your IT security procedures and firewall are robust and fully up to date.
A firewall is an essential network security system that will protect your network against unauthorised external threats. Firewalls block access from unauthorised websites, log intrusion attempts and prevent malicious code from corrupting your IT system. Put simply, firewalls are your first line of defence against hackers. At Direct Voice & Data we offer a managed firewall service that will ensure your firewall is configured correctly and patched with the latest security updates to keep your retail business safe online.
2. Employee training – One of the most common avenues for cyber-attacks is phishing, which is a type of social engineering attack. Phishing occurs when an attacker, posing as a trusted entity, dupes a victim into opening an email that contains a malicious link or code. Phishing emails can be targeted at employees, so training your employees on how to identify phishing attempts will go a long way in protecting your retail business. Phishing emails often look very professional, but there are common indicators that employees can be trained to look out for. These include emails that contain:
- A fake invoice
- A link to make an overdue payment
- A request for you to confirm private details
- A generic greeting such as “Hi there”
- Bad grammar
- An unauthorised sender email address
Spam filtering software will also help in the fight against phishing emails. At Direct Voice & Data we offer tailored spam protection to reduce the amount of spam your business receives through our partnerships with leading security solutions providers.
3. Consistently monitor – Don’t wait for customers to tell you about scams that might affect your business – proactively look for them in order to keep both your brand and your customers safe. Frequently monitor the web and social media sites for brand mentions. This will allow you to quickly find and isolate any replica websites that are posing as your brand before they cause damage. Threat intelligence platforms are another way of aggregating and analysing threat data to support your overall IT security strategy.
4. Be ready to respond – During the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, peak sales will occur over a short period of time, so the cost of a security incident will likely be far higher than at other times of the year. As this is the case, you should ensure your response teams are ready to investigate any suspicious online activity. If something seems different, it should be investigated. Enquiries may turn out to be false positives, but if they are something more serious – it’s better to catch them early than risk losing sales and damaging your reputation.
5. Recovery – In today’s competitive business environment, any operational disruption or downtime will almost definitely result in missed sales and damage to your reputation. During peak sales season, the risks are even higher. With this in mind, the need for a robust back-up and effective disaster recovery plan has never been greater. This will ensure your business runs as usual, even in the event of an unexpected cyber-attack. At Direct Voice & Data we’ll work closely with you to understand the most critical elements of your infrastructure, and use our expertise to create an IT plan that includes the highest levels of data back-up and disaster recovery.
Why Direct Voice & Data?
With over 35 years’ experience of catering for businesses of all sizes, we offer specialist IT security and disaster recovery solutions that will help to keep your brand safe this sales period.
To discuss the security services we offer, please call our expert team on 0800 84 999 84 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on our IT Security services, please visit our dedicated IT services page.