A cyber-attack can, in reality, have a significant impact on any business. But when a business relies on its IT infrastructure to process orders and payments, the impact on a retail operation can have an immediate, and devastating, impact on sales and finances. Here we address some of the challenges facing the retail industry when it comes to cyber security and maintaining healthy IT systems.
Cyber security in retail
According to the 2021 Cybersecurity Census Report*, the retail sector in the UK experienced some 44 significant cyber-attacks over a 12 month period, amounting to one attack every eight days. The report brought to the fore that 77 per cent of retailers believe this is only set to spiral in 2022 as they become prime pickings for hackers due to the changing landscape of the industry.
Today’s retailers hold more valuable data than ever about their customers, employees and suppliers. Thanks to the new digital retail era, retailers have all kinds of intelligence on their customers due to the increasingly connected way of selling through apps, promotions, loyalty schemes, marketing and the numerous e-commerce payment technologies available – all of huge appeal to cyber criminals who view this data as a very attractive target with big bucks in sight. All this stored information and the rise in cyber attacked make cyber security in retail more essential than ever.
Retail data security in the spotlight
In order to maintain trust, retailers a have a duty to protect the personal information of customers and employees or run the risk of tarnishing a respected reputation. The biggest hurdle for those working in retail is a sheer lack of time to properly address retail data security; it’s a fast-paced industry dealing with evolving trends, campaigns, employee turnover, sometimes inadequate resources and constant customer challenges, so staying on top of your IT systems and how well they’re protected becomes more of an irritating necessity. And there’s always something more pressing on a to-do list!
In 2022, however, the retail landscape does not suffer fools gladly; sophisticated scammers are lying in wait for those who do not have the appropriate security tools and safeguards in place. It is simply no longer acceptable to overlook protection concerns – the financial risks could be nothing short of ruinous.
Cyber security threats in retail
In recent years cyber security threats in retail have been on the rise, there have been some really high profile retailers that have fallen foul of cyber security breaches, showing that even the biggest household names don’t always get their security tactics spot on. Back in 2021, retail giant Tesco saw their app and website hit downtime for an entire weekend after a hack attempt, suffering untold lost orders but, thankfully, not a loss of consumer data so it transpired.
Similarly, March 2020 saw high-street pharmacy Boots suspend its loyalty card payments, following a cyber-attack which aimed to use stolen passwords to compromise customers’ accounts. Fortunately, payment information was not accessed this time and loyalty card points were protected, but the disruption and time taken to get systems up and running again had no doubt caused its own damage – and that’s without considering the knock to customer confidence.
SOC cyber security (Security Operations Centre) – the solution?
Imagine if you didn’t have to worry about your retail cyber security, knowing experts were working 24/7, 365 days a year to protect you? SOC cyber security gives you just that; a fully managed, cost-effective security solution proactively detecting malicious or suspicious activity across three critical attack vectors: endpoint, network and cloud.
All your key assets and data are monitored continually, delivering:
- Proactive threat detection
- Security threat and intrusion monitoring
- Real-time threat intelligence
- Autonomous breach prevention
In a nutshell, managed SOC means around the clock peace of mind! All backed up with recommendations of how you can protect your business as technology and sophisticated scams evolve.
Cyber security for retail
If a fully managed service isn’t for your retail business right now, there is a whole menu of cyber security tools that will strengthen your defences and help protect loss of connectivity and data.
- Cyber security training & awareness – ensure your employees are all on the same page when it comes to security and potential vulnerabilities.
- Email security – world-class email protection.
- Dark web monitoring – have your credentials been leaked on the web? Discover your exposure and stop it in its tracks.
- GDPR awareness training – training your employees on current legislation reduces the risk of an unwitting internal data breach.
- Security penetration testing – reveal your network vulnerabilities!
- Phishing prevention – banish malicious emails and scams.
- Network inventory management – stay on top of your IT assets and their levels of protection.
IT and cyber security for retail
Customers put their faith in retail businesses to protect their data and use it positively to improve the overall customer experience and engagement process – this builds customer loyalty. Retailers need to have reliable and robust cyber security strategies that empower business, drive innovation and build customer trust.
Cyber security for retail will help you build your security shield. As well as cyber security solutions to match your budget, extensive sector-specific experience in retail store IT support will additionally make sure your retail IT systems are always functioning as they should be and look for any potential breach points. From cloud support to backup and disaster recovery – we can support in all these areas.
On the shop floor? Our mobile solutions provide retail organisations with mobile handsets and devices that will enable you to achieve a better customer transactional experience. Users can quickly and efficiently make payments on the move, source product information and check stock there and then, making for smarter shopping and happier customers!
Contact our cyber security experts today to make sure your retail business is safe, secure connected and protected with the latest technology.
Brand & Campaign Manager
Sonia Older is the Campaign Manager at Focus Group and a highly experienced copywriter. She boasts over 20 years of experience in content marketing and PR across multiple industries, and is the key driver of content and PR for Focus Group across all UK offices. Away from work, Sonia usually swaps keyboard strokes for ski slopes in the Alps with her family.