24 May Cyberattacks target the retail sector more than any other industry
While technological innovations have immensely grown customer convenience, operational efficiency and commerce possibilities, they are not without their own challenges. This is especially the case in the retail sector. E-commerce, online shopping, cashless transactions and convenient payment options may boost consumer trade, but such systems come with their own needs for management, maintenance and proper monitoring and configuration.
24% of Cyberattacks Target Retailers
Retail businesses venture into digital transformation to improve their value offering and efficiency so as to remain competitive. However, this generates a complexity of and dependency on the IT ecosystem. And without proper knowledge and maintenance of new technologies, a reliance on unfamiliar and misconfigured systems may lead to an increased risk of data breaches. This is because, the wider the adoption of digital systems, the greater the attack surface becomes. At the same time, an operational reliance on those systems and the value of information stored and processed within them, present opportunities, and strong incentives, for threat actors to exploit them.
Typically, the digital risks faced by a retail business utilizing even the minimal in digital technologies can be broken down into three types:
- cyber-threats, by external threat actors, using digital means
- insider threats, by internal threat actors, disgruntled employees, saboteurs, and even negligent staff
- third-party threats, by outsourcing of digital services (e.g. cloud services)
The business impact of a data breach
Should a digital attack be successful, a retail organization faces interruptions of its business continuity, causing sales losses and even irreparable reputation damage. Its brand value, reputation and trust may drop significantly when customers’ personal information, such as addresses, purchases and payment details, are stolen or exposed by threat actors. And since data security is bound by relevant regulatory frameworks, the legal ramifications that follow a data breach in a retail organization can be hefty, especially when the organization involved hadn’t taken adequate measures to prevent such a breach.
So, how do retailers protect their businesses?
Retailers owe it to their brand investment and to their customers to secure their entire digital operations process. Information security is no longer simply a compliance issue where the bare minimum is enough; in the digital era, a retailer’s business viability depends on the proper safeguarding of valuable information and sensitive data processing.
To address the above digital risks, retailers may consider those four focus areas:
- Data Governance & Privacy
- Business Continuity
Ultimately, a retailer’s overall business strategy must now include information security, if it is to remain viable while securing its investment. With its many points of sale and supply chain nodes in the crosshairs of threat actors, the retails sector is called to collectively lead the charge towards a cyber safer world. This is why retail businesses, from e-commerce to supply chain, have come to recognize the importance of information security strategy and management as part of their overall business agenda.