From General Motors to Cambridge Analytica, cyber hacks and the aftermath of data breaches have made the headlines again of late. Every industry has had to try and stay ahead of the hackers as the world increasingly relies on software for everything involved in the transaction of goods and services. The alcohol industry has been no exception with the likes of E & J Gallo, Molson Coors, and the Campari Group falling victim to cyberattacks. But while the largest names receive all the media attention, it’s smaller, often family-owned businesses that need to pay close attention. As Verizon, a telecommunications and mobile network provider, states in its most recent report on data breaches, “When cybercrime makes the news, it is typically because a large organization has fallen victim to an attack. However, contrary to what many may think, very small organizations are just as enticing to criminals as large ones, and, in certain ways, maybe even more so.” While large organizations may have more data and name recognition, they also have more resources to combat cyber threats. Small businesses often lack the same level of awareness and safeguards to protect its information and that of its customers.”
The wine and spirits industry is especially well-known as a laggard in adopting technology, broadly speaking, and implementing cybersecurity measures is no exception. Many replaced the back office with shelves of binders containing years of customer information on paper with spreadsheets contained on a company laptop – customer data, credit card numbers, business information all available behind a single password.
Meanwhile, alcohol producers and retailers often store more data than other types of sellers to operate club and subscription offerings to their customers. Moss Adams, a consultancy with focus on wine, beer, and spirits, draws particular attention to wine club membership databases not stored via a cloud service as a significant and perpetual problem. “[I]f a winery stores its wine club membership database on a single company laptop that is lost or stolen, a hacker need only gain access to the computer itself to access the company’s bank information, membership demographic information, and customer cardholder data. These breaches are especially damaging if the company hasn’t replicated its membership database to another source.”
Luckily, solutions to this problem do not require complexity. First, rather than be fearful of cloud-based databases, the difference comes when choosing the right one. Ask the tough questions about data security. Antiquated systems lack the newest forms of internal cybersecurity, so simple due diligence by business owners and managers when purchasing new software can make an impact. Particularly for payment processing, universal standards exist such as Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards exist to aide in evaluating the security of these systems. Second, Moss Adams recommends alcohol producers consider the level of integration between software programs they utilize. “When a company’s payment and data-management processes aren’t integrated, it can create opportunities for error and inefficiency, increase the risk of a cyberattack, and decrease the effectiveness of your incident response plan efforts.”
Wineries, breweries, distilleries, and retailers prioritizing the two points above – payment security and level of integration across system – ought to lean on the tools Vincipia provides. Partnered with Square, Vincipia leverages Square Payments, which ensures PCI compliance across the board. Square adheres to industry-leading PCI standards to manage its network, secure its web and client applications, and set policies across the company. Square’s integrated payment system tokenizes data once it reaches its servers. Plus, Square monitors every transaction from acceptance to payment. And unlike older business management platforms in the alcohol industry, Vincipia embraces the future of integrated systems not only as a way to grow efficiency, but also ensure security. To find out more, visit www.vincipia.com.