Industry • Best Practice

Your Beauty Biz Needs More Data Security Than You Think. Here's the 411

Learn the data security green flags to look for in a tech partner

The number of data breaches jumped 68% in 2021 — setting an all-time record and impacting nearly 300M people. With each passing year, cybercrime statistics blow past previous highs, an alarming reality that sends a clear message to any business that uses a computer: You must protect your data. 

But what exactly does that mean for beauty businesses? It means making sure your tech partners are committed to the strictest security standards possible. This article will provide a checklist of the essential security features you should look for in your providers.

They gotta be SOC 2 compliant

To achieve SOC 2 compliance, an organization must prove that it can safely and securely manage its customer data. This means submitting to a rigorous audit conducted by an outside evaluator who assesses that organization based on the Trust Services Criteria: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, privacy. Once the evaluation is complete, the auditor generates a report that organizations can share with external parties to provide insight into how they oversee and manage their information assets.

From medical data to financial information, clients trust beauty businesses to handle an enormous amount of personal — and valuable — information. This is why every tech partner you have must maintain the highest possible standards and processes when it comes to data security, especially if their solutions house client profiles, process payments, or handle sensitive information of any stripe. So make a list of all your current tech providers and check if they are SOC 2 compliant. And, if they do have one, it’s also a good idea to review their report.

What’s the sitch with their permissioning?

Permissioning helps ensure that information can only be accessed by the people that should be able to access it. Organizations with poor permissioning controls open themselves up to colossal security issues — no matter how much you trust your employees. 

To button up this area of your data security, make sure your tech partners support role-based permissioning on their platforms. Role-based permissioning is an approach to access control that allows organizations to calibrate the information and features their employees can use based on ​​the privileges of their given “role.” Organizations can create numerous “roles,” each defined by its access profile. The best tech partners will let you get granular when it comes to privileges, allowing you to make access distinctions between specific datasets, platform features, and more.

Investigate their PCI-certification

What is PCI compliance? Well, it stands for Payment Card Industry compliance, and it’s all about making sure that online and in-store transactions don’t compromise the financial information of cardholders. There are four merchant compliance levels, and PCI-Compliance Level 1, which applies businesses that process millions of transactions a year, is by far the most demanding standard. To run a secure beauty business, you need your POS and payments system to meet this standard. While you shouldn’t cut corners on any aspect of data security, you certainly don’t want to slip up when it comes to your client’s financial information. 

Our payments platform, Boulevard Payments™, is certified Level 1 PCI-Compliant. This all-in-one solution is subject to a meticulous annual vetting process that ensures our system provides stronger than bank-level security. In short, it’s completely locked down — giving you the peace of mind you want in this vital area.

Are they hip to HIPAA?

Med spas end up getting a wealth of information about their clients. It’s a massive responsibility, and it entails ensuring that all protected health information (PHI) you collect on your clients via intake forms, service notes, etc. are fully HIPAA compliant. Any tech that touches this kind of information in any way — whether that’s sending, receiving, storing, or editing it — needs to meet HIPAA standards. 

Unfortunately, many businesses do not adequately secure their clients’ healthcare information. According to the HIPAA Journal, nearly 45 million healthcare records were compromised in 2021 alone — the second-worst year on record. Incidents like these put clients at risk on multiple levels and significantly undermine, if not destroy, client-business relationships. Don’t take that risk. Make sure any relevant tech partner has set their system up to run HIPAA compliant.

How are they handling data storage?

Secure data storage is notoriously tricky. If your tech partners aren’t backed by one of the larger IT service management companies, they might have to spread their storage across several regions and availability zones. This represents a complex operational and data security challenge that can result in poor uptime and create vulnerabilities. 

To mitigate this risk, it’s recommended that your tech partners leverage the secure data storage services of established tech players like AWS. Data storage is simply not something you can afford to fumble the ball on, and the resources, robust coverage, and proven capabilities of the major web services firms will ensure your informational assets stay protected.

Boulevard: A tech partner you can trust

When you think about beauty business essentials, data security isn’t exactly the first — or even the fifth — thing to come to mind. And that reaction, while totally understandable, is a bit outdated. Our industry, just like any other, relies heavily on sophisticated technology to grow, so it’s important that we protect our data assets like they were our lifeblood: Because they increasingly are.

Boulevard’s salon management platform was built to support all the security features needed to keep beauty business data safe. From role-based permissioning to HIPAA compliance, it has every measure we’ve covered here — and more. To see what that level of security looks like for yourself, get a free demo today.

Boulevard was built to help your business achieve profitability at scale without losing an inch of sanity. See for yourself! Get a free demo today.

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