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For Retail Startups, Security is Paramount

We live in a corrupt world – there’s no other way of putting it. While there’s still plenty of good, it’s impossible to avoid evil. For entrepreneurs launching retail startups, it’s imperative to understand the risks young businesses face and create security infrastructures that mitigate threats and provide the best chance of being successful for years to come.

4 Ways to Better Protect Your Retail Startup

Retail businesses face a level of security challenges that many other businesses in other industries don’t have to deal with. Not only do retailers have to worry about cybersecurity and data protection, but they also have to be cognizant of things like burglary and shoplifting.

If you’re looking for a way to better protect your retail startup, there are four specific things you need to do.

1. Secure the Physical Premises

Let’s start with the physical security component since most people immediately skip ahead to cybersecurity. While there’s obviously a huge need for protecting your business on the digital front, you can’t ignore the need to safeguard your retail store, warehouses, and other physical buildings. Both shoplifting and burglary rates are as high as they’ve ever been; you have to be proactive.

Thankfully, securing physical premises is easier than ever before. There are a variety of easy-to-install indoor/outdoor cameras available on the market; many can be purchased for $100 or less. There’s no excuse for overlooking this line of defense.

You should also look into things like advanced motion detectors and fire alarms that detect issues and quickly relay information for swifter response times.

2. Protect Your Website

With your physical stores covered, the next step is to turn your attention towards website security – especially if you operate as a multichannel retailer and have an e-commerce arm of the business.

The first thing to look at is an SSL certificate. “When retailers or site visitors send information or data over the internet, it gets passed through multiple computers before reaching its destination server. At any point during this chain, it could get stolen if it is not encrypted with an SSL Certificate,” Caroline Ruhland writes for HubSpot.

You also have to think about things like firewalls, password integrity, and application gateways. If you don’t want to deal with all of these things on your own, hire a cybersecurity specialist to get you set up.

3. Encrypt All Data

Retailers collect lots of data on customers – that’s just the nature of business today. And while there’s nothing wrong with legally collecting information, you have to be sure you’re protecting that data. Otherwise, you could end up facing legal consequences and public backlash.

“Beyond cardholder data, retailers need to protect all sensitive data wherever it exists, and limit access to this data,” Gemalto explains. “Utilizing encryption and/or tokenization is the most effective way to secure data, even when a breach has occurred.”

4. Limit Access to Company Assets

The final suggestion is to consider limiting access to various company assets – physical and digital. If an employee or stakeholder doesn’t need access to something, don’t grant it. This might seem like overkill sometimes, but it’s an efficient manner of closing loopholes and reducing vulnerability. It’s a small step that can save you from serious trouble down the road.

Security Deserves Your Full Attention

You can’t overlook security in today’s business world – especially in the retail industry. Even a brief lapse in security planning or execution can cost you in terms of revenue, brand equity, and consumer trust. The question is, are you doing everything you can to stay safe? If not, there’s ample opportunity to improve.

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