What New Zealand Retailers Need to Know About Cyber Security

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New Zealand’s remote location may have kept hackers at bay, but the country’s booming digital economy is an open invitation to cyber attacks – from ransomware, data breaches to web defacements, and many more. With digital transformation comes these inherent risks, although the benefits far outweigh it. As technology evolve so is the tool for the crime and retailers are prime targets. It’s vital to step up your security and take precaution to mitigate these risks, no matter how small or large your business is.

” Without digital technologies, we wouldn’t exist. Literally, every part of the business we have, including alarms and notifications, is all about having a strong underlying safe network, “ says Simon Folley, Data & IT Manager of Farro Fresh, ” … instead of spending the day worrying what could happen, we could actually plan for the future of the business. “  

Too often, cyber security remains an afterthought, and this can become a nightmare during major holidays and end-of-year sales, a peak shopping time for retailers where attacks mostly happen. According to a report by the National Computer Emergency Response (CERT), cyber security attacks cost over $12 million (in total financial loss) the first three quarters of 2019 – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The report also mentioned that Q3 had a 13% increase in incidents compared to the previous quarter.

While security measures built have delayed the number of cases, it makes sense to stay vigilant in watching out for vulnerabilities in your system these days.

Cyber Security: Understanding the Risks Involved and How to Deal 

From small enterprises to the Fortune 100, retail is focusing more on compliance and payment protection that opened the door for cyber attackers to shift their tactics to stealing personal information so they can carry out online fraud or even loyalty program hacks. As a result, this stolen data is being sold on the Dark Web to compromise existing security systems, and even go as far as converting loyalty points into cash or store credit. Here are some things you need to know right now: 

1. The Internet of Things (IoT) is Here to Stay

With the advent of smart devices come headaches on how to deal with security nightmares. Consumers these days are turning to their devices to make purchases for them and this trend will grow by 2021 (and beyond). 

Retailers need to be aware of unpatched security vulnerabilities and weaknesses that can bring about their network’s demise. Using devices with built-in security features and stronger passwords, plus regular security patch updates, will come in handy.

In the case of Farro Fresh, they called in for trusted network solutions provider who can help. ” iT360 are a long term Watchguard partner; been a gold partner for a number of years. They also run our managed services offering. So, when they were talking Farro fresh, they approached me about how we would build a network for them, how we would deliver that… “ says Kurt Brandon, Watchguard Sales Manager. 

2. E-Commerce Poses a Significant Risk for Retail

Most online stores are focused on delivering an intuitive, user-friendly experience and in doing so, may compromise data security. Not all systems are 100% resistant to cyber attacks and one needs to constantly monitor and review new features being rolled out. If your business doesn’t have the capacity to protect customers’ personal and financial information, they will choose another option. Simple. If you’re accepting cryptocurrency, double the jeopardy then as crypto mining malware on servers are a reality. As early as now, get your IT checking out for any exploits that may happen in your system before it’s too late.

3. The Double-Edged Sword We Call… ‘The Cloud’

No matter what your industry is, there’s always a risk when your most valuable data is stored in the cloud. On the other hand, it gives you an opportunity to do business-on-the-go, anywhere and on any device. From automatic payments, smart kiosks, to retail mobile apps – making sure that people are doing so in a secured network is just the first step. Then, there are vast quantities of data you need to protect and having an AI-driven cyber security measure is imperative if you want to protect platforms, as well as your customers, from cyber threats.

According to a study by Microsoft New Zealand, a cyberattack can cost a large retail organisation an average of $27.7 million (US$18.7 million) – directly or indirectly, in terms of economic loss. (Source: Microsoft

The impact doesn’t stop there. Think of the job losses happening because of these, or customers shopping elsewhere.  

The Good News: Don’t Let Fear Stall Your Digital Transformation Initiative

Head on to the meeting room with your organisation’s management and IT teams! Then, start asking these questions: 

  1. What risk management framework or roadmap are we using right now?
  2. What are we currently doing to prevent cyber attacks?
  3. How involved is management with security measures and policies?
  4. Is our cybersecurity measure included in our enterprise risk management program?
  5. What kind of access and data are we allowing vendors and other third parties?
  6. Have we educated our employees when it comes to security policies and threats?
  7. Are we prepared to handle worst-case scenarios?
  8. Are we protected from new threats?
  9. How do we rank our cyber security preparedness in comparison with other companies?

Or, we can all sit down and discuss how to deal with this clear and present danger that’s waiting for its next target. Your call… 

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