With the holidays approaching, many of us are thinking about taking time off from work to be with friends and family, as well all the last minute shopping that needs to be done. The sad truth is that cyber criminals do not take vacations and may be looking at the holidays as yet another opportunity to steal and monetize consumer data. This is a problem facing nearly every industry, but retailers remain a top target for cybercrime. According to the 2019 Thales Data Threat Report-Retail Edition, 62 percent of U.S. retail organizations say that they have been breached at any time in their history, with 37 percent breached in the last year alone.
While retailers are a vulnerable group in general, they are particularly susceptible to harm during the hottest – and most lucrative – shopping weekend of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With Black Friday sales anticipated to break a record and surpass $12 billion dollars online this year – according to Adobe Analytics data – shoppers won’t be the only ones sniffing out the best deals this holiday season.
As we enter a new decade, attackers are getting more sophisticated in their approach – finding new avenues to strike. As the adage goes, hindsight is 20/20, but sadly, oftentimes remediation after a breach occurs far too late, and it’s difficult for retailers to predict the attacks of the future. As we inch closer to the next decade, here are some risks that retailers and consumers should keep their eyes on to remain safe this holiday season.
Data for Discounts – Is it a Good Deal?
Customer data is the latest embodiment of the classic Catch-22 of consumer-facing brands: they are valuable assets for a company’s business operations but come with a lot of responsibility for companies to protect and encrypt.
Consumers fork up gobs of data to retailers each year, who in turn, promise personalization and stellar deals, but do these retailers have the security to back it up? Customer data is particularly vulnerable this time of year during the hustle and bustle and as data becomes more valuable to hackers, but encryption rates among U.S. retail organizations are surprisingly low. In fact, according to the 2019 Thales Data Threat Report-Retail Edition, 36 percent or less of retail organizations polled say they use encryption for the vast majority of use cases studied. Ensuring privacy and encryption protections are in place is no longer just an option for companies this shopping season.
Mobs or Mobile Madness?
When thinking of Black Friday, visions of crazy campers staked out in front of stores often dance in our heads. But now, as Cyber Monday takes center stage and the presence of Black Friday apps swell, shoppers are increasingly ditching the in-store mobs for an easier – and more comfortable – shopping experience.
While these shoppers may dodge fights and frostbite by remaining in the comfort of their own homes – or wherever they may be – mobile apps also come with a variety of detrimental risks in the form of security attacks. Retailers must thoroughly review their security to ensure it is up-to-date, and that the strong security measures implemented on their websites translate to that of their mobile apps.
This holiday season, retailers need to make sure they have their eyes peeled for the next wave of risks and check that the proper protection and precautions are in place to deliver a positive shopping experience for consumers while protecting their data from the inevitable deluge of attackers.
With shoppers chasing the deals and cybercriminals following the money, below are some recommendations to help ensure this shopping season is not just merry and bright, but safe and secure.
- Fundamentals first: When it comes to data security, companies should start with the fundamentals – encrypt and control user access to sensitive data– and truly bake security into their brand.
- Modernize: Invest in modern, hybrid and multi-cloud-based data solutions for modern architectures.
- Do more with less: Look for solutions that allow you to do more with less. To keep costs and resource usage in line with IT budgets, while delivering the level of security needed, use a platform and service-based approach.
- Prioritize compliance issues: Compliance requirements often apply to very limited data sets – leading to strong protections for some sensitive data, but weak for others. Employ solutions that can help you achieve, and maintain compliance, while improving your security and managing your risk.
- Pay attention: Focus on all threat vectors – both internally and externally – and partner with a security vendor that can customize solutions tailored to your organizations’ threats.
When it comes to data security, start with the fundamentals – encryption and access management technologies are base level data security tools needed to secure sensitive data regardless of where it is deployed.