Cyber crime is real problem for all types of businesses and organisations, and retailers aren’t exempt from the danger. Have you considered how vulnerable your retail business is to cyber criminals – and how to beef up your cyber security in response? With the increasing number of cyber threats out there, you need to take steps now to protect your business and your customers.
Cyber Crime Is On the Rise
Statistics don’t lie: cyber crime is big business and getting bigger. Both individuals and organised cyber criminal gangs target businesses of all types.
Just look at these numbers:
- 86% of organisations experienced a cyber attack in 2020 (CyberEdge 2021 Cyberthreat Defense Report, which surveyed companies from 19 industries in 17 countries across North America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, and Africa)
- The average data breach costs a business more than $4.24 million (IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021)
- More than 75% of all cyber attacks are financially motivated (Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report)
- 24% of South African companies were victims of ransomware in 2020 (Sophos’ The State of Ransomware 2021, which surveyed 5,400 IT decision makers across 30 countries)
Cyber Crime Affects All Business Including Retail
No industry is immune from the growing cyber threat, and retail is one of the most vulnerable sectors. According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report, the retail sector in 2020 experienced more cyber incidents than the construction, manufacturing, and wholesale industries combined – including denial of service attacks, system intrusions, and social engineering attacks.
How Attacks and Intrusions Affect Retail Businesses
Denial of service (DoS) attacks swarm a business’s servers with unwanted traffic, overwhelming the network and, in most cases, shutting it down. It can take a retailer hours or even days to recover from a DoS attack, during which time they lose valuable business.
System intrusions can be even more costly, as most lead to data breaches. Financially motivated cyber criminals and criminal gangs surreptitiously invade a business’s servers and steal valuable customer data, including credit card information. A retailer that falls victim to such a data breach can be held liable for customers’ financial damages, as well as possible legal and regulatory action regarding consumer privacy laws.
How Ransomware Affects Retail Businesses
Retailers are also prime targets of ransomware attacks. According to Sophos’ The State of Ransomware 2021 report, the retail sector experienced the most ransomware attacks of any sector in 2020, affecting almost half (44%) of all retailers.
In a ransomware attack, cyber criminals infect a business’s network and encrypt key data and systems. This effectively shuts the business down until a specified ransom is paid.
Sophos reports that South African companies that were victims of ransomware paid, on average, more than R65 million in ransom and recovery costs in 2020.
How Phishing Affects Your Retail Business
Most ransomware attacks and data breaches get their start through phishing or some other form of social engineering. Phishing involves sending a fake email or message to an employee. The employee is encouraged to click a link or open a file – and if the employee complies, the company’s systems are infected with malware that is then used to infiltrate or hijack the company network.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Retail Business from Cyber Crime
What can your retail business do to guard against ransomware, data breaches, and other types of cyber crime? Fortunately, there are several immediate steps you can take.
Perform a Cyber Risk Assessment
The first step in protecting your retail business is to conduct a cyber risk assessment. This should involve identifying all your data, how it’s stored, and who has access to it, as well as evaluating your current cyber security protections.
Implement Robust Cyber Security Controls
Once you’ve completed a cyber risk assessment you can start evaluating and, if necessary, beefing up your cyber security controls. This should include the use of anti-malware utilities, firewalls, and the like. Your cyber security controls should focus not just on company devices but also on any personal devices, including cell phones, that your employees use to access company assets.
Secure Your Cash
Cyber criminals tend to focus on data assets, but more traditional thieves can use cyber methods to gain access to your cash on hand. Employ a secure cash management solution, such as Deposita’s Protector and Accelerator devices, to protect against skimming or theft.
Back Up Your Data
Consider how long your business could stay up and running if your data was compromised. It’s essential that you create regular backup copies of all your data and that you store them outside your normal systems – either physically offsite or in the cloud. This way you can restore key data and systems from the backup if your main system is attacked.
Conduct Employee Training
Finally, you need to train your employees to be more security conscious. Place particular emphasis on identifying phishing emails, using strong passwords, and how to respond in the event of a cyber incident.
How Deposita’s Secure Cash Management Solutions Can Help Protect Your Business
Cyber crime is just one of the many threats facing retailers today. When you want to protect your cash assets from all types of criminals, look to Deposita’s secure cash management solutions. We’ve been providing cash management solutions for more than a decade to retailers and other businesses who need to safely and securely collect, handle, and process cash payments.
Book a free consultation today to learn more about Deposita’s secure cash management solutions.