Data breaches in the world of hair and beauty

Data breaches

Data breaches are every business owner’s worst nightmare. They come in all shapes and sizes – from misplaced information that has fallen into unauthorised hands, to someone who deliberately tries to steal data. But thankfully, in today’s day and age, data breaches are not as common as they once were. With advancements in technology, data security has come a long way – however, some businesses fail to stay with the times, which often results in disastrous consequences. We’re talking about the world of hair and beauty. But how exactly do data breaches happen in this industry, who can be affected by them and how can one prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place?

How do data leaks happen?

Data breaches, also known as data spills and leaks occur at the most unexpected times – when you’re treating a client, out on a quick lunch break and even when you’re checking your appointment calendar. The worst part about them is that by the time you notice your sensitive information has been compromised, some time has passed and chances are the culprits are long gone. Although salons, spas and solo specialists are taking precautions to avoid leaks from happening, there is one gaping hole in their data security that is oftentimes overlooked – reliance on ineffective data-keeping methods. That’s right, sticky notes, customer cards, paper appointment books and electronic devices without password protection are at the root of your leaks.

But how exactly does a piece of paper compromise your entire business? It’s simple, you forget to put away your notebook, client card or sticky note and an unauthorised person has a quick gander at it – and you’d be fortunate if it ended at that. Now put yourself in this situation – one of your employees is planning on opening their own business. They’ve been gaining a positive reputation with clients at your salon but now it’s time to start on their own. While you’re perming a client’s hair, they pop open your customer list and take pictures of their contact information with their phone. Time passes and your employee breaks the news to you of their resignation. They then open their own business and take away your clients. What’s worse, those clients might pay you a visit and demand to know just how their data fell into the hands of a stylist who no longer works in your salon.

If you’re located in the UK and the EU, it can get much worse. By now you’ve probably heard about the GDPR – this regulation enforces data protection and privacy, giving your customers control over their data and how it is used by businesses entities such as yourself. By failing to keep customer information secure, misusing it, or not notifying them that their data is being collected can result in fines and the complete restriction of customer data collecting. You can find more information pertaining to the GDPR on the GOV.uk website.

Who can be affected by a data breach?

Although we constantly hear about customers being affected by breaches, your staff and your business as a whole are also in the mix. Employees play an integral part in your business’ daily functioning, but their information can also be leaked if it is not secured properly. Staff work reports, commission rates and even individual sales and tips are at risk of falling into the hands of clients or untrustworthy staff members. All it takes is leaving out your staff data in the open, or losing your files on the way to work. And since your business handles staff records, you may be held accountable if they are leaked. Just like client and staff data, your business information is also at risk of being compromised if you utilise insecure methods of storing it. Things like your monthly income, stock value and cash inflows are data that you absolutely do not want falling into the wrong hands – especially into those with malicious intentions.

How can you prevent data leaks?

Storing your paper records in a safe is one way to do it, but let’s be real here, would you put your files back into your safe after every time you’ve finished with them? Now that doesn’t sound too convenient. What you could do, however, is to get a truly secure solution – a digital and GDPR-compliant hair and beauty software. With Versum, you not only secure client information, but also staff data and as well as your sensitive business numbers. Here are a few unique features found in Versum:

  • Customer contact details protection: This feature enables system administrators (the business owner and anyone else assigned the role) to control and restrict employee access to customers’ telephone numbers and email addresses. It will hide all customer telephone numbers and addresses from employees who lack the right to access this information. The administrator can set a maximum number of customer contact details which can be viewed by an employee during a given day (e.g. maximum 10 customer records per day). You can read how to set it up here. 
  • User roles: As the administrator of your Versum account, you can assign staff access levels in order to protect customer, staff and your own business data from peering eyes. The levels begin with the administrator (who has access to all data), receptionist, employee extended access and employee basic access (least access). More on these levels can be found here.

Making sure that your data is secure should be your number one priority when it comes to effective business management. Just one breach can significantly hurt your business. Choose a solid hair and beauty business system that’ll ensure you top tier data security – grab your free Versum trial today!

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