How Can Retailers Avoid Data Breaches?

Technology has made business significantly easier in the retail sphere. However, along with all the advantages that come from the latest advancements are some very serious security risks that could put a company’s reputation and bottom line at stake. Unfortunately, every business is a potential target, which is why data security has never been more important.

In the past, retail stores only had to focus on physical security in their stores. Now, however, they also have to worry about cyber threats like data breaches. As e-commerce continues to grow in popularity, retailers aren’t the only ones enjoying new opportunities; hackers and others looking to do harm are also gaining new opportunities to exploit.

Verizon shows that 89% last year’s breaches were motivated by finances or espionage. Meanwhile, the average total cost of data breaches in America climbed from $6.53 million to $7.01 million in the last year. In addition to the financial costs, such breaches can cause irreparable harm as customers loose trust in a brand.

Preventive Measures and Early Detection Essential

What can companies do to avoid falling prey to such schemes? The damage increases the longer a breach goes undetected, which is why early detection is essential. Retailers should make sure there are no weaknesses in their infrastructure and make use of network segmentation and firewalls.

Two-factor authentication makes it more difficult for intruders to access networks. It’s also important for retailers to ensure that the Wi-Fi in their stores is not vulnerable to attack. It should be hosted on a network that is not connected to any of the systems that store sensitive data.

Retailers also need to look at their third-party suppliers. Cyber criminals don’t always target retailers directly. Many times, they focus on the weakest link, which may be a third party supplier that hasn’t made the investments in security that the retailer itself has. Retailers can create third-party assessment models to close this potential avenue of vulnerability.

Finally, after reviewing all this preventive and early detection technology, it’s important for retailers to devise a plan and set up an incident response team that is well-versed in what can go wrong and ready to act quickly should the worst happen.

This blog post was based off of a White Paper from Frost & Sullivan. Read the full White Paper here.

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