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More Than Half: The Story of Cyber-Attacks and Global Organizations in 2017

omnichannel payments security

Three words. It might not seem enough to cause a rethink of your 2018 cyber-security strategy, but it should. Why? Because according to the latest Forrester report, “Top Cybersecurity Threats for Retailers in 2018,” attackers breached more than half of all global enterprises in 2017.

More. Than. Half.

With cyber-criminals enjoying that level of success, you can be sure that cyberthreats will not slow down any time soon. To best protect yourself (and join the select group of organizations that are not breached), it’s important for retailers to first understand three key takeaways from Forrester’s report:

  1. Omni-channel functionality is becoming a ‘must have,’ but it also increases the surface area for attackers to exploit.
  2. Ransomware is the fastest growing malware threat, and retailers must guard against an attack on their essential technology, such as POS systems.
  3. Considering the sheer number of organizations that are impacted by breaches, having a committed, thorough response plan prepared in advance is essential.

With these takeaways in mind, it’s worth considering the active role retailers must take in protecting their own organizations as well as customers. It might seem a daunting task, but a good place to start is to review these top five emerging threats faced by all retailers, and how best to prevent them.

  1. Omni-channel Fulfillment Capabilities: A Gift to Your Customers… and Hackers – Customers want better experiences, less friction and the ability to pay the way they choose. Unfortunately, they also expect that retail merchants keep them safe. Retailers must train in-store staff to act as guardians of merchandise and information, with a strict verification policy put in place and enforced. Secret shoppers can be a great way to test the strength of this system.


  2. Another Company’s Breach Could Become Your Problem – When another organization is breached, the stolen data can create a ripple that engulfs your organization. Criminals with access to compromised accounts can commit fraud, which can cost you in real dollars and brand equity. The intelligent use of friction, that is, adding verification, or monitoring customer data for fraud and insights about unusual activity, can limit the impact of compromised accounts (and keep you out of the headlines).


  3. Non-Card-Based PII Data: The Hacker Magnet – Personalization is a tremendous tool, but for it to be effective you must first have a wealth of personalized identity information (purchase history, demographic profile, Wi-Fi history, etc.). And guess who would love to have drivers’ license numbers, social security numbers and cell phone data? Hackers throughout the world. Retailers must treat this information as the lifeblood of their organization, because in many ways, it is. Tokenize, encrypt and restrict access to this information.


  4. Ransomware is Holding the Digital World Hostage – Ransomware has quickly become the hacker’s new best friend, with Forrester reporting more than 4,000 attacks have occurred daily since January 1, 2016. If successful, hackers can potentially disrupt an entire operation (imagine that on Black Friday), so security teams must develop an incident response plan to ensure that any downtime is limited.


  5. Protecting Your Brand Offline – Unfortunately, the odds are that the majority of organizations will be breached. If this happens, you must respond in a way that shows customers you care. Being upfront and transparent about a breach, its impact and your plans to remediate the situation will go a long way toward rebuilding the relationship with your customers. Have this plan in place so you’re not scrambling to react should a breach occur.

Want to avoid joining the “More Than Half”? Visit booth #2753 at NRF Retail’s Big Show, New York City, Jan 14-16 to talk to our experts about cybersecurity and find out how you can receive a complimentary copy of the full Forrester report.