Cybersecurity protection: Retail style

In recent years, retailers have become all too familiar with industry peers experiencing massive cyber incidents and the financial (and reputation) repercussions that come along with those incidents. In fact, retailers have seen a record 1,093 data breaches last year­­–up 40% year over year.

For many cybercriminals, retailers are the golden prize because of the wealth of customer information stored on their networks. With all sorts of new types of data being collected such as shopping habits and purchasing patterns, the sensitivity of information is something retailers have never possessed before and data criminals are interested. Typical retail cybercrime involves hijacking credit card account data, however, criminals are now equally as interested in acquiring personal data like names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.

Here are numerical examples of the cybersecurity risks facing retailers today:

  • $172 – The average cost of a data breach per record — for instance, one compromised credit cardfor the retail industry in 2016.
  • 15 million– The number of identity fraud victims in the U.S. in 2016.
  • 19%– The percentage of shoppers who say they would stop shopping at a retailer that falls victim to cyber hackers, even if the company takes steps to fix the situation.
  • 5,925– The number of e-commerce websites infected with malware by the end of October 2016.

What’s the solution?

While the stats can be scary, there are things that retailers can do to combat cyber attacks and keep their information safe.

 1. The right employee(s:) New security innovations are designed to protect retailers’ data and clients’ privacy all the time. However, every year cyber criminals get smarter and their attacks more ruthless as they keep up with the new security trends. Therefore, building a more secure retail business begins with smart personnel decisions hiring the right people who understand the constantly changing landscape and how to make the organization as safe as possible.

2. The right framework: Retailers should set in place the right sustainable frameworks for data governance and security, crisis management procedures and IT architecture, which all combine to achieve a successful security system.

3. The right security: Securing payment technologies available to consumers through every channel and across every location, country or region is vital. Additionally, implementing analytics-based security tools for incoming data and each network connection, including those of suppliers, contractors and vendors also is a key step into make the process more secure.

In the end, examining and tightening measures in these areas will result in a holistic and comprehensive security model. Additionally, understanding where your organization is most vulnerable and  having a plan in case your organization is hacked is also extremely important and a smart way to stay ahead in the retail industry.


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UMSA Org About UMSA Org

UMSA (Upper Midwest Security Alliance) is an alliance of security and risk-related organizations. As a nonprofit founded in 2004, UMSA serves business, government and education professionals in the upper Midwest, collaborating with professional associations, educators and industry-leading companies to provide professional development opportunities that contribute to a stronger security foundation for organizations.

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