In late 2015, music distributor TuneCore announced it was the target of a security breach that ultimately compromised some of its customers’ personal information. Fortunately, no music files were compromised. But TuneCore admitted names, email addresses, passwords, and mailing addresses were exposed.
You may think that would never happen to your music business, and breathe a sigh of relief that your own system doesn’t store customers’ financial info. But TuneCore customers had their mailing address, bank addresses and last four digits of their credit cards on file. It’s really not that difficult to take the leap and connect that information in order to make fraudulent purchases and steal someone’s financial identity.
Musicians owe it to their fans to produce compelling music and put on an amazing show. But they also owe their fans protection and transparency to potential compromises going on. Your fans will love you even more if you show how much you care about their well-being and do everything in your power to prevent them from getting hacked.
Move to the cloud
Your music business is mobile, so why are you keeping everything locked down in laptops, USB sticks and drives? Keeping up with multiple devices, files, photos, videos and contracts can also lead to sensitive information being lost and human error. Streamline your business and move it to a reputable cloud storage provider. Or choose a system that can automatically back up your devices.
Access your files from anywhere, automatically sync up any changes, and add band members, managers and assistants for multiple user access. Tech novices will appreciate that it’s a set it and forget it solution to keep files safe, while providing mobile access.
Upgrade your POS
Fishing out a magstripe plugin reader from your pocket and plugging it into your smartphone to sell T-shirts may have worked fine in the past. But as of October 2015, businesses are now liable for customer data breaches and compromised credit cards if they’re not using an EMV chip reader devices. It’s not as scary as it sounds if you choose the right POS, and your fans deserve financial protection when buying your merchandise.
Square’s contactless reader can accept both NFC and chip cards or Apple Pay. It’s still pocket sized and works with the Square app which can take care of payments, tipping, inventory and generate financial reports so you know what’s going on with your business.
Use a monitoring service
Musicians typically get into the business to create music, not worry about identity theft and managing the delicate nuances of a business. But your band is still a business. Rely on a monitoring service like LifeLock to alert you when credit is taken out in your name, raise the red flag for suspicious activity and even help restore your credit if it’s compromised. Take the responsibility to brush up on the latest phishing scams, tips and malware warnings by following LifeLock’s Facebook or Twitter page. It only takes a few minutes a day to empower yourself and stay in the know to protect your fans. They’ll appreciate you even more for it.
Monitor your platforms
Now that you have an identity theft monitoring service in place, start monitoring your own platforms. From your social media accounts to online forums, see what your fans are talking about. You may discover a few people who are all complaining about having their credit cards compromised after attending a recent concert. Send out a warning to other fans and ask your manager or attorney to look into it and take swift action. You may also uncover phishing scams directed towards your fans that can be shut down before they escalate.