The retail sector continues to struggle with ever-evolving cyber threats and cyber risk. A survey earlier this year by the global consulting firm BDO found that privacy concerns related to data breaches are considered a top risk by retailers, tying for the No. 1 spot with general economic conditions.
Just two years ago, cybersecurity was eighth on the list of those risks — an indication that retailers have become increasingly concerned about their abilities to protect against data breaches.
As the holiday shopping season looms, merchants can no longer afford to miss the signs that their business is vulnerable to data breaches. As seen during the Target breach, a cyber attack could result in much more than financial costs and loss of business during the busiest time of the year. It could damage consumer confidence — leading to a loss of customers.
Do You Recognize the Signs of Cyber Vulnerability?
Security breaches on retailers have risen in the last couple of years. The sector now tops finance as the industry most targeted by cyber attacks, according to the NTT Group’s recent threat intelligence report. Yet IT practitioners overestimate their breach-detection capabilities — mistakenly believing they can detect a breach in a week or less. In reality, detection could take months or even years.
At the same time, retailers are not keeping up with technology tools or fully deploying the tools they have. If your organization overestimates its ability to detect breaches while not investing in the right technology, these are two signs that the company is at risk.
Consumer surveys continue to show that privacy is still a major concern. In one recent survey, KPMG found that about one of every five consumers would stop shopping at a big-box retailer if a breach were to expose their personal information. Nearly 70 percent would not shop at that retailer again if the company didn’t have a solid plan to prevent future attacks.
Steps to Better Cyber Posture
Retail companies can’t afford the cost and exposure that can result from a data breach. Steps to take include:
- Threat awareness: Learn about the risks and threats that are common to retail environments. Know how to recognize them and prevent them from breaching your network and getting at your data. POS malware continues to plague the industry, while phishing attacks are frequently used for harvesting login credentials.
- Employee education: Antivirus tools and email filters are effective only to a degree; so make sure your employees are part of your defense strategy. Conduct regular training about cybersecurity hygiene and educate your employees about the latest phishing scams and other tactics.
- Technology tools: Ensure you’re using technology to your best advantage and deploy a platform that offers multiple layers of protection, woven together on a cohesive platform. To respond to threats effectively, you need a comprehensive strategy that combines advanced malware protection, threat intelligence sharing and centralized management.
Infogressive can deliver best-of-breed solutions to decrease your risk of cyber attacks. Our approach is built around cohesive managed services and products that gives you the visibility, ease of management and intelligence to respond more effectively to threats and reduce your cyber risk.