Cybersecurity Updates: How the Retail Industry Can Keep Learning from the Target Breach

by Jenna Sindle

To no one’s surprise, cybersecurity has been a hot topic in 2017. Between the WannaCry and Equifax hacks and the Kaspersky fiasco, data security is a top concern for anyone these days and rightfully so. The retail world is no exception, with plenty of data hacks in recent years to cause concern among consumers.

In the peak of holiday shopping season, this mentality begs the question, “Are retailers truly prepared on the cybersecurity front?”

According to a recent article by Thad Dupper, a contributing writer for The Business Journals, cybersecurity efforts should be keeping pace with cyber threats. Dupper explained, “Today, we can identify a new observational law built on a similar principle [to Moore’s Law]: As the number of cyberattacks doubles every year, so should the amount of investment in cybersecurity measures.” Novel concept, right?

But what happens if retailers can’t (or won’t) maintain that cybersecurity vigilance? I’ll give you a hint; it does not bode well for them.

“Retailers are missing huge opportunities because they haven’t done enough to create consumer trust in their cybersecurity preparedness. KPMG found in its survey that 33 percent of shoppers would avoid breached retailers for at least three months,” noted Dupper. “Another 19 percent say they would abandon a retailer entirely that had been the victim of a major cyberattack, even if the company had taken steps to fix the problem.”

Also take a second to consider the expected massive increase in IoT devices this year, providing hackers more points of incursion than ever before. The benefits of those cybersecurity cautions are going to extend far beyond protecting customer data; they will be arming your brand against customer churn and brand abandonment.

So it’s safe to say that while that cybersecurity initiative may not seem as important and marketing or advertising efforts during the holidays, it’s probably worth reconsidering. Especially for the long haul.

Dupper concluded, “The critical lesson not for only retailers but for every enterprise is that they must be prepared to invest more in cybersecurity. They must also have the right leadership and they must add the necessary layers of technology across multiple sites to minimize vulnerabilities.”

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