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What is the price of a security breach for retailers?

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As retailers continue to be inundated with excessive amounts of data, including credit card details and other sensitive consumer information, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. According to our research, 47 per cent of retailers understand the need to increase network security to protect the amount of data stored but how exactly are they supposed to go about it? Do they understand the actual process themselves?

Last year, TalkTalk’s computer systems were subject to a cyber-attack, resulting in its personal details being compromised, the loss of hundreds of thousands of accounts and £60 million in costs. Rightly so, customers were incredibly frustrated that sensitive data was released but more so for the seemingly slack security systems in place and the company’s handling of the attack. Although the business is beginning to recover from the attack, the recent £400,000 fine it faced for poor website security is an example of the long term ramifications of inadequate patch management.

To prevent IT failures, it is crucial retailers are aware of their security policy and ensure all their IT meets all the right patch management requirements. The complexity and time consumed carrying out this task, along with business naivety of security holes can often undermine the success of the strategy, making it too easy to miss applications. This process needs to be a central part of the security policy to ensure the secure hosting of personal data retailers currently access to protect against future breaches.

As retailers continue to thrive and adopt new technology, the scope of attacks expands, making the industry the most vulnerable it’s ever been. It’s no longer a case of deploying technology which fits with the latest trend. Instead, retailers must invest in secure systems which are right for the job and proactively understand the condition of the systems in case of irregularities.

Ultimately, it’s time businesses realise it’s no longer a question of if but when a security breach will happen. Gone are the days where a business could suffer an attack and simply sweep it under the carpet so it was overlooked by the media and customers. There is now increasing pressure to keep information secure and any failure will be broadcasted for all to see by global media organisations and across social media. Security breaches no longer happen once or twice a year, businesses face threats daily and simply cannot afford the risk.

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