As customers are beginning to demand faster checkout and order fulfillment times as both online and offline, retailers are increasingly under fire to keep up with the expected service demands all the while keeping the customer’s sensitive information safe. They must also keep their own information free from cyber criminal activity. One recent report from Thales eSecurity says that as many as 95% of all retailers will use sensitive data connected to the Internet of Things, mobile payments, and cloud data storage this year, and will be under increased risk of a data breach. Fifty percent of retailers have experienced a data breach in the last year, which is a sharp increase from the previous year’s 19%. So how does a retailer keep it all safe?
Stay in the Know – Many retailers are so busy running the day-to-day activities of their business they may not spend much time reading and researching about the cyber threats that now exist. Many of the threats to the sensitive information contained in a retailer’s systems today were not even thought of several years ago. More than ever, small retailers have to keep up with the latest information about cyber crime and threats they may face.
Assess Your Protection – The best way to protect a retail business is to not only be aware of the cyber crime they face, but to implement a strategy to protect the business and the customers the business serves. The only way to know what kind of cyber protection you need is by assessing the IT tools in your arsenal. This should be an ongoing task and should be done yearly, if not more often. If you haven’t done a thorough check of the cyber security systems you use in the last year, you could be at serious risk of a data breach.
Get the Tools – Retailers need to reach out to vendors that offer the latest data protection technologies. Just because your current system is “compliant” does not mean you are safe from a breach. Tools such as tokenization and encryption provide the greatest amount of protection in the ever-changing world of cloud-based data and payment technologies. It may seem over-kill for a small retailer to use such security systems – until that retailer has had sensitive information stolen, resulting in angry customers who want to know why you didn’t keep their information safe.
Data breaches are the new reality for all retailers. As time goes on, the criminals will only get more aggressive. As fast as new security protection is developed, they will find a way to get around it. Staying on top of the latest threats and keeping your IT systems fully cloaked in the latest security technology is the only way to make sure you are protecting your customers and your business.