During last week’s State of The Union, President Barack Obama didn’t give a detailed listing of policy proposals in his first speech to a Congress. Instead, he outlined his rationale for an agenda that reflects a shift in the final two years of his presidency.  One of those policy proposals having an impact on beauty retailers is data security.  Securing consumer data is key as retailers continue to aim for an omnichannel strategy both online and in the store.

From Neiman Marcus to Target to Home Depot, retailers have suffered very public data breaches affecting millions in the last three years and have moved toward actively making efforts to improve data security balancing their desire for customer data with increasing political and legislative pressure – both in the US and Europe.

During the recent National Retail Federation’s 104th Annual Conference, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) suggested that giving the ability to use some tracking technology needs to be balanced with security concerns and risks of data breaches. Welch also suggested that he wants to “improve security and privacy without putting a handcuff on retailers.”

Likewise, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) suggested that one solution is for the federal government to “come up with a standard for fighting data breaches”. She added, that “you can’t have a retailers dealing with 50 different standards, so the challenge for us is to come up with a standard that’s simple and straightforward for the retailers”.

Why It Matters To Beauty Retailers

As protecting customer relationships are important, building and maintaining trust in an omnichannel marketplace is a real challenge and one that retailers tackle head on by investing in new technology that provides value but also protects customers from fraud and data theft.  While, retailers account for just one in 10 data breach incidents, financial institutions account for more than a third according to a recent Verizon report. However, data thefts committed against retailers draw the biggest headlines.

Beauty retailers must make this a priority issue to combat criminal threat to their customers and their business operations. Securing data will involve a balance of prevention, detection, remediation and communication. And as stores continue to embrace mobile, putting plans into place to remotely and securely manage their entire mobility ecosystem will prove most beneficial.

Likewise, taking steps now to put new systems into place now will ensure compliance with federal legislation once enacted into law.

1938 is the online magazine blog for Well-Kept Beauty, formally entitled Primer.

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