The Importance of Cyber Security in Retail
Retailers need to understand that data is the backbone of their businesses. It enables them to provide personalized experiences and maximize return on investment.
However, a single cybersecurity breach could cause a brand’s reputation to tank, leading to a loss of sales and profits.
Retailers face security risks: point-of-sale hacks, rogue employees, and supply chain threats. Here are three critical retail security strategies to bolster their protections.
Secure Your Network
Retailers are a rich data source, making them attractive targets for cybercriminals. Retailers must implement robust security measures to safeguard their networks against potential breaches on their point-of-sale systems, supply chains, and IoT devices.
Cyberattacks in retail can have significant financial consequences for retailers. The cost of responding to a breach, paying for credit monitoring services for affected customers, and loss of revenue can quickly add up. Furthermore, a data leak can damage brand reputation and customer confidence in a retailer’s products and services.
The rise in cyber security budgets and staff numbers indicates that retailers recognize the importance of protecting customer data. However, the sheer volume of threats, from ransomware and phishing to POS system vulnerabilities, insider attacks, and supply chain cyber threats, can make it easy for cyberattacks to slip through the cracks.
It is not just the retail industry that needs to focus on improving its security posture but also the countless third-party companies that work with retailers. The security of these third-party vendors is a crucial concern for retail organizations because one data breach at a single partner can significantly impact the entire industry.
In addition to establishing strong network defenses, retailers should consider consolidating their data protection. Storing data in a secure location is necessary to minimize the risk of breach and streamline management.
Companies should also invest in comprehensive cyber security for retail that includes firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, antivirus software, and antimalware solutions. Additionally, they should ensure that these solutions are updated regularly to provide the latest defenses against emerging cyber threats. Finally, retailers should improve their security analysts’ workflow and efficiency to handle the growing number of alerts generated by their cybersecurity tools. The typical response to this challenge is to create more rules in security technologies and tune them to produce fewer false positives. However, this can lead to analyst burnout and an increased vulnerability to attack. To improve their effectiveness, retailers must look at how to support their teams under pressure better and help them spot an attack early on.
Protect Your Data
Retailers need their customers’ personal information (PII) to improve customer service and build loyalty. Nevertheless, they also have a responsibility to protect that data. If they do not, it can have serious consequences. Hackers and cybercriminals love PII, which drives many attacks against the retail industry.
Whether stealing credit card numbers, gaining access to point-of-sale systems, or infiltrating other IT and software systems, they can use the data they acquire to sell on the black market or for other crimes like ransomware, spam campaigns, and financial scams. Nevertheless, these are just the tip of the iceberg regarding threats faced by retailers.
In addition to the threat of breaches and theft of PII, retailers must consider the security of their supply chain and third-party vendors. They must ensure their infrastructure is secure, especially in cloud environments.
Another area for improvement is that retail employees have a higher turnover than other sectors, which means that cybersecurity best practices can too easily slip down the priority list. It is perilous in an industry that relies on a large workforce of seasonal and part-time workers.
The Importance of Cyber Security in Retail
The digital revolution has opened up new avenues for retail businesses to grow and cater to the needs of their consumers. However, it has also brought fresh challenges that must be tackled equally. From e-commerce to intelligent stores and online ordering, there are more ways than ever for consumers to connect with retailers online, which creates an even bigger target on their backs for cybercriminals.
In the rush to embrace new technologies and provide better customer experiences, some retail businesses need to pay more attention to their cyber security. The cost of this mistake can be steep in terms of lost revenue and the reputational damage resulting from a breach. However, retailers can bolster their defenses against cyberattacks and ensure that the data they collect is secure with a small amount of extra effort.
Train Your Employees
Retailers must ensure that their employees are aware of cyber threats and how to spot them. It will help to reduce the risk of a data breach and the subsequent financial loss. The best way to do this is to run regular training sessions to educate staff members on the latest threats and how to recognize them. It will make identifying suspicious behavior easier and responding quickly to a threat.
Point-of-sale (POS) attacks are a significant concern for retailers, as they can steal credit card details from the terminals. This attack is commonly caused by memory-scraping trojans that infect IT and POS systems to harvest information illegally and transmit it to cyber thieves. Cyber attacks like phishing and ransomware are, unfortunately, quite common. These attacks can pose a severe threat to your business, potentially resulting in the theft of valuable customer data and intellectual property. Your competitors can then use this information to gain an unfair advantage. Taking proactive measures to protect your business from these attacks is essential.
These attacks can be highly costly to retailers, as they not only face a loss of revenue but also a loss of consumer trust. The damage to brand reputation can be irreparable, and it may take years for a retailer to regain consumer confidence. Retailers need to invest in their cybersecurity measures and work with industry stakeholders to prevent these attacks from occurring.
One way to do this is to invest in a fully-fledged network security solution that protects against all cyber threats. Maintaining up-to-date firewalls, intrusion prevention/detection, antivirus, and malware protection is essential for effective defense against contemporary threats.
Another way to protect against cyber threats is to consolidate data protection. It means ensuring all customer data is stored in a single location rather than dispersed across different systems. Data management and security are significantly simplified, with a minimized risk of potential breaches.
Retailers should work with a partner that can offer managed network security solutions that provide comprehensive protection against all cyber threats. By working with a trusted provider, retailers can ensure that their networks are protected and have access to the tools they need to identify and respond to cyber threats.
Delete Unwanted Files
Retailers deal with sensitive data daily, from personal information to images of products. While the industry has evolved and changed recently, cyber attacks against retailers are a constant threat. Cyber attackers know that the tight integration of technology in retail is a perfect way to gain access to critical business systems, such as point-of-sale (POS) and inventory management, to steal data.
Retail businesses risk being targeted for credit card fraud, ransomware, and identity theft, mainly because their data is precious. It is not uncommon for a retail hack to expose personal information, increasing fraudulent activity or even extortion threats. The costs of these attacks can add up quickly, and trained security staff is hard to find and retain.
According to the 2022 Thales Data Threat Report: Retail Edition, 45% of retail respondents reported that their volume, severity, and scope of cyberattacks had increased over the past 12 months. POS systems are often the first point of entry for cybercriminals. POS malware can record every swipe of a credit or debit card and sell it online before customers know they are being scammed.
The industry also faces a host of specific threats specific to retail, including memory-scrapping trojans that can harvest data from unencrypted POS systems. While the theft of POS data has dropped since the introduction of chip-encrypted cards, this type of attack remains a threat because many legacy systems are not updated with newer technology.
As a result of the growing threat landscape, retailers need to enhance their security solutions with advanced protections. These include firewalls protecting network traffic between apps, threat intelligence identifying and prioritizing threats, and secure cloud-based data storage that provides encryption and access controls. With attacks rising, skilled security staff hard to find and retain, and the cost of a breach high, it is clear that the time for enhanced retail cybersecurity is now. Luckily, there are solutions available to meet the challenge.