How protecting customer data is vital for success
Small-business owners not only have to worry about keeping their doors open on a daily basis, they must keep pace with market demand, outsmart their competition and oversee back-end operations - all while making sure their customers are happy.
The latter duty may be the most challenging for local merchants, seeing as consumer needs are fluid. However, in today's information age, analytics are helping shed light on who thier customers really are and what they want.
Data protection is paramount
With access to customer data comes great responsibility. If a business is going to collect sensitive information, it must prioritize security. In the wake of recent high-profile data breaches at major domestic retailers, customers want assurances that their data is safe. If not, retention can suffer greatly.
A recent study conducted by cloud software firm HyTrust found more than half of consumer respondents will take their business elsewhere after a compromising cyberattack on the places they shop. Any personal information, such as addresses, social security numbers, credit card details and even contact information all fall under the umbrella of sensitive data. Another 46 percent felt a business should be classified as "criminally negligent" once a breach occurs, with most saying that company should be held responsible for financial damages.
While the HyTrust results are poignant, the need for enhanced data security is even further escalated when you take into account that data breaches are on the rise. Separate information compiled by the Ponemon Institute revealed that 43 percent of companies surveyed said their organization experienced some type of breach in 2014, which represented a 10 percent increase year over year.
These breaches aren't going unnoticed, either. The New York Times dedicated more than 700 articles to cyberattack-related incidents in 2014, a Verizon data breach investigation said. Of the 700 million compromised records the study examined, the financial loss resulted in an estimated $400 million.
Partner with a trustworthy organization
Small-business owners likely won't face financial losses in excess of $400 million, however, Verizon's investigation just helps put things in context. Regardless of the size of your merchants’ business and what industry they operate in, no company is impervious to a breach, which highlights the importance of partnering with a trustworthy payment processor.
Further Verizon results found 91 percent of hospitality and accommodation industry breaches were at the point of sale. If your merchants’ business models are predicated on consumer revenue, it's critical that you bolster their POS infrastructure and overall network security. By partnering with a trusted payment processor and merchant acquirer, you can have more peace of mind that you are taking the right steps to protecting your merchants’ customer data. These third-party solutions prioritize security at the point of sale through continual monitoring of data and upgrading software on their cutting-edge terminals and hardware, thus lightening the load for local small-business owners.