Understanding how cybersecurity is set to impact the retail industry

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The retail industry is constantly evolving, and technology has played a significant role in this change. One of the most notable advancements in the retail industry is the use of digital signage. This technology enables retailers to produce interactive and captivating content that draws in customers, boosts revenue, and fosters long-term customer relationships through tailored content.

However, with the integration of technology and data, the retail industry is also facing an increased threat of cybersecurity breaches. For example, Sportswear chain JD Sports recently suffered a security breach leaving 10 million customers at risk due to stored data being stolen. The more technology is integrated into retail solutions, the more potential threats will be uncovered. Retailers will need to embrace cybersecurity and understand the threats posed to them while they continue to enhance experiences for customers.

The power of technology in retail

According to our research, 67% of marketers are planning to invest in creating engaging in-store experiences using digital signage. This technology has gained popularity in the retail industry in recent years and allows retailers to create dynamic and engaging content to attract customers and increase revenue.

Digital signage can be an effective tool for establishing long-term relationships with customers through personalised content. By using technology to connect with customers, whether they are shopping for products or seeking a social experience, retailers can create valuable relationships that benefit both parties over time. Customers have the flexibility to start their shopping journey online and finish in-store, or vice versa. They have the power to make their own experiences, whilst retailers have the power to make those experiences better.

Digital signage adds another string to retailers’ bow. It is an additional technology that retailers can use to integrate information across all channels. By using it for data collection and analysis, retailers can gain insights into customer behaviour and preferences which can be used to optimise their marketing strategies and enhance the overall customer experience.

In addition to the rise of digital signage, the retail industry has been greatly impacted by the growth of data and analytics. Retailers now have access to a wealth of information including visibility into supply chains, inventory status, and detailed customer insights, among many other things. However, with an abundance of data and variables, this also increases the potential for security breaches, making it important for retailers to have proper measures in place to protect the large attack surface that comes with this increased data and activity.

This has caused a need for advancement in cybersecurity. Data is stored in various locations that must be protected, requiring cybersecurity measures with visibility and detailed access controls to ensure that authorised individuals have access to the appropriate information at the appropriate time.

The Retail Cyber Security Landscape

The retail sector faced a record number of ransomware attacks last year, with a 75% rise compared to the previous year. Specifically, 77% of retail companies were affected by a ransomware attack in 2021, up from 44% in 2020.

The retail industry is seeing a growing emphasis on cybersecurity innovation. Retailers gather valuable information such as customer data and payment card information, making them a desirable target for cybercriminals. The rise of contactless payment methods and increased e-commerce options has expanded the potential for attacks, making it more challenging for retailers to safeguard customer data.

The rising threat of ransomware is a worrying trend for retailers. Cybercriminals take advantage of weaknesses in retailer networks to install ransomware, encrypt systems, and halt transactions until the retailer pays a ransom. This results in substantial financial losses and harm to the retailer’s reputation.

In 2023, retailers are increasingly investing in cybersecurity as a response to the growing threat of ransomware. According to the CISO Benchmark Report from the Retail & Hospitality Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RH-ISAC), 70% of CISOs anticipate that their budgets will increase again this year.

The rise in budget and personnel indicates how cybersecurity has become a vital aspect of business operations in many retail companies.

Why this is important

Data leaks can result in significant financial costs for retailers. The cost of responding to a data breach, such as hiring a forensic investigator, notifying affected customers, and providing credit monitoring services can be substantial. According to the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach in retail can be up to $3.28 million. Additionally, retailers may face legal costs if they are sued as a result of a data leak. Furthermore, the loss of revenue and the damage to the company’s reputation can also have a significant financial impact on the company.

When sensitive customer information is exposed, it can lead to a loss of trust and confidence in the company, which can harm the company’s reputation and negatively impact sales. Additionally, retailers may also face legal consequences if data breaches occur, and they can be held liable for any harm caused to customers as a result of the data leak. To mitigate these risks, retailers must implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect customer data, and have a plan in place to quickly respond to any data breaches that may occur.

Lack of cybersecurity training can create significant problems for retailers. Without proper training, employees may not be aware of the risks associated with handling sensitive customer information, and may unknowingly expose the company to data breaches. Additionally, without training, employees may not be able to recognize phishing attempts or other cyber threats, which can lead to malware infections or other security breaches. Furthermore, lack of training in cybersecurity can limit the ability of employees to respond effectively to cyber incidents and data breaches.

The bottom line

The retail industry is seeing the benefits of digital signage in terms of creating engaging in-store experiences and building relationships with customers. However, retailers must also be aware of the growing threat of cyber attacks and take the necessary measures to protect customer data. Investing in cybersecurity is becoming a vital aspect of business operations for many retail companies.

Retailers must implement robust cybersecurity measures and have a plan in place to quickly respond to data breaches. Additionally, providing proper cybersecurity training to employees is crucial to mitigate the risks associated with handling sensitive customer information.

While technology has brought many opportunities for the retail industry, it also brings with it new challenges that must be addressed to ensure the safety and security of customer data.

Alexios Blanos
Alexios has over 15 years of experience in Digital Engagement solutions and Global deployment. He covers a wide range of vertical markets and supports local and global brands to define their Digital Customer Journey strategy by bridging physical space and digital together. In the past he has delivered digital experiences for brands like Giorgio Armani, United Colors of Benetton and EE that have been recognised within the industry and award winning (POPAI, DBA, Retail Week).

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