Retail Cybersecurity: Protecting Your Customers’ Information

Together, these data points help retailers understand what exactly their customers are doing. Using data analysis and business intelligence tools, organizations can identify areas of growth and evolution for the business. However, the most important data may differ depending on the type of retail business.

“There is no one type of data collection that can serve all purposes,” says Patty Altman, executive vice president of analytics for NPD Group, a market research company. “What’s most important is understanding the critical questions being asked and holistically combining the right data sources to provide evidence-based answers and solutions. “

Top 2021 Retail Data Breaches

Data breaches increased in 2021, in part due to a growing number of phishing and ransomware attacks. The association Identity Theft Resource Center found that there was 846 breaches in the United States in the first half of 2021, compromising the identity of nearly 53 million people. This represents around 76% of the total number of violations encountered for the whole of 2020

Attacks involving a mobile service provider, automaker, and fashion retailer are among the biggest retail breaches of 2021. Perhaps the most high-profile breach, a DarkSide ransomware attack that created shortages gasoline across the country, provided a vivid example of supply chain disruption.

Supply chain attacks have become a major challenge for members of the NRF, Beckner says. “The major trend over the past year, on top of all of these ransomware attacks, is the number of supply chain breaches. It’s not really you who is the victim of a breach, it’s the software service or third-party application you’re using, ”he says.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Explore the different types of customer data that can benefit retailers.

Every industry has issues like these with security, Beckner adds, but customer data breaches have a higher profile because of the direct impact on consumers.

“The consequences of this, in many cases, are greater than for other types of incidents,” he says, and could result in a statement to the state attorney general as well as legal liabilities.

Data security and data privacy: what’s the difference?

In addition to securing customer data, retailers also need to be mindful of how they use it.

This is an important distinction: Although both efforts involve trust, data security represents an expectation that the organization will protect data from theft to the best of its ability. Data privacy, on the other hand, represents an expectation that the organization will use the data in a way that protects the privacy of the individual – not sharing it with others, for example, or get rid of it after a specified period of time.

Regulatory concerns have made purging data a priority for many businesses, including retailers. Rob Hill, President of Retail for The NPD Group, emphasizes the importance of having someone in charge of compliance with regulatory mandates such as Europe General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

“If a retailer collects data themselves, it’s important to have an in-house expert who knows the regulations and best practices for data collection,” says Hill. “This is a rapidly evolving field, and data integrity should always be the priority. “

Regulatory compliance is never easy, so work with an outside team could keep your organization on track.

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