Challenges For Retailers’ Security Teams and How to Deal With Them

The rise of e-commerce is creating a myriad of cybersecurity risks for retailers. Cybersecurity must be a top priority as retailers adopt technology to enhance the customer experience.

Retailers store any personal information, including credit card details and purchasing history. This data can be valuable for cybercriminals if it is stolen.

Cybercriminals Target Retailers

Retailers are an enticing target for cybercriminals because they possess a wealth of payment card information. It includes email addresses, name and address details, and credit card numbers from customers’ transactions.

It means they have a high risk of data breaches, ransomware attacks, and phishing attacks. And if these attacks are detected, they can cost retailers their customer loyalty, business, and reputation.

These attacks are a massive concern for the retail industry, especially as consumers shift their spending online. Nearly a quarter of all cyberattacks are directed at retailers, making them a highly lucrative target for cybercriminals.

However, the challenge for retailers is that they need to strike a balance between robust security measures and operational efficiency. To do this, they must implement cyber security for retail to integrate seamlessly into existing operations and workflows and provide employees with comprehensive cybersecurity training.

Retailers must also be vigilant when dealing with third-party partners. Whether it’s an IT provider or a logistics firm, they need to assess the risks they pose to their business before they begin any business relationship.

Retailers Have a High Attack Surface

The retail industry is at high-risk for cybercriminals due to its large volume of data and extensive network of outlets, stores and websites. It makes it an appealing target for hackers and cybercriminals who can exploit vulnerabilities in retail systems to steal sensitive information and monetize stolen credit card data on the black market.

Attackers can use various techniques to compromise retailers, from simple social engineering ploys like email phishing to more advanced attacks. Most attacks are motivated by monetary gain, which is why they can cause significant damage to a company’s reputation and finances.

Hackers can also use stolen information to access networks of retailers directly (called credential stuffing). Ensuring networks are secure from intrusions is critical to a retailer’s cybersecurity program.

A significant challenge for security teams is managing a large attack surface, which is the number of potential vectors that attackers could use to breach a system and extract sensitive information. It can be challenging for larger organizations with multiple endpoints and vulnerable applications.

Retailers Have a Lack of Cyber Talent

In a world where cyber threats are increasingly common, it’s essential to have skilled cybersecurity professionals to prevent and mitigate damage. However, the cybersecurity talent pool is in short supply.

Despite the shortage, some strategies can help consumer products companies attract and retain cyber talent. For example, building cybersecurity programs in high schools and colleges can stimulate interest among young people who might otherwise not consider a career in the field.

Another strategy is to make security a “people-first” culture, encouraging employees to report suspicious behavior and practices. This approach will help keep security teams staffed with an all-hands-on-deck mindset rather than just one person managing everything.

Lastly, organizations should look for cybersecurity staff with a potent mix of technical and soft skills and adaptability to handle new technologies. This mix will enable cybersecurity team members to grow and thrive within their positions as new technologies emerge, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain and IoT.

Retailers Have a High Use of IoT Devices

A network of gadgets connected to sensors and can interact with one another is known as the Internet of Things (IoT). These sensors and connectivity devices can collect data on the physical surroundings to provide businesses with actionable intelligence.

Retailers already use IoT devices to serve customers better and create personalized shopping experiences. Whether it’s an automated checkout system or a robot employee that helps customers with their shopping, these IoT devices improve the customer experience and boost customer loyalty.

In addition to improving the experience of consumers, IoT can also improve business operations. One example is enabling retailers to keep track of inventory in their stores, helping them avoid stockouts.

Another example is using IoT to track product deliveries. It provides customers with real-time information about where their items are in the supply chain and how long they will take to arrive at their destination.

Additionally, IoT can be used to monitor equipment in a store and alert the retailer if anything isn’t working correctly. It can help improve operations and reduce expenses, as the equipment is better maintained and will last longer.

Retailers Have a High Risk of Data Breaches

Cybercriminals are eager to target retailers because they have vast customer data, including payment cards and personal information. Retailers must proactively secure customer data to prevent fraud and protect their reputation.

One way retailers can help secure their customers’ data is to ensure that they use only trusted vendors and don’t store sensitive information on insecure devices or in unprotected files. They can also implement a strong password hygiene strategy to help reduce the risk of password compromises and data breaches.

In addition, retailers should ensure that all sensitive data is encrypted while it’s being stored or transmitted. Encryption is critical because it can prevent inadvertent disclosure, mainly when data is transmitted over public networks.

At the same time, retailers must constantly reevaluate their sensitivity levels and readjust their data protections accordingly. For example, suppose a company determines that data classified as low-risk is now higher risk. In that case, the organization should consider revising its encryption policy and processes to help protect that data. Similarly, retailers should ensure employees have been trained on cybersecurity best practices and don’t disclose confidential or sensitive information to untrusted third parties.


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