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Retailers: Is your customer data truly safe?

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Despite the phenomenal recovery and growth in online retail in the last 12 months, its success has been marred by the shadow of hacks and security breaches. 

This became glaringly apparent last year when we witnessed a number of high profile retail breaches. More recently, Carphone Warehouse has also revealed that personal information on as many as 2.4m customers may have been accessed in a cyber attack.

The publicity surrounding such high-profile retail hacks is bound to cause nervousness and anxiety among customers engaging with retailers online, making them more cautious about entrusting their personal and financial details to company web sites. 

The fact is, however, that it’s not just online sites that are vulnerable to hacking. Traditional retailers need to protect their systems and to appreciate the risk to their reputation if orders are lost or transactions fail. Keeping these top tips in mind means retailers can be prepared.

Protect customer data

The world of ecommerce is growing at an extraordinary rate and having a profound effect on buying and selling practices in the process. But while there are many advantages and benefits to buying and selling online, they can be swiftly undermined by security failures. 

It is no understatement to suggest that retailers, online and offline, need to do their utmost to protect customers’ data.

At the very least, they should adhere to existing regulations by ensuring they are PCI compliant. The business requirement of protecting customer data also demands that retailers have a cohesive disaster recovery (DR)/business continuity (BC) plan in place to ensure they can continue running in the event of a disaster.

Evaluate your costs and budget for disaster recovery

While circumstances are forcing many retailers to accept the necessity of providing adequate security for their customer data, they need to find a way of doing so without adding an unsustainable layer of expense to their margin intensive business model.

Many retailers are likely to agree that a PCI-compliant disaster recovery solution is desirable, but it also needs to be affordable. To try and achieve their desired outcome, retailers will have to evaluate the options in the market to find the disaster recovery provider that best suits their IT infrastructure. The good news is that there are disaster recovery solutions available that can address these needs.

Choose your strategy wisely 

Backup and disaster recovery are becoming vital requirements for all companies, including SMEs, but if retailers don’t put the appropriate strategy in place, they could be setting themselves up for a very dangerous fall and the damage to their reputations could be irreparable.

This would be especially unfortunate when technologies such as cloud-based provision of disaster recovery as a service are starting to make it simple and affordable for most retailers to have an effective strategy in place.

At a time when businesses can be placed at great risk, just with the simple click of a mouse by a malicious hacker, it would be risky and foolish to ignore a solution that can ensure disaster is avoided. With a number of single click solutions available, the retailer is able to resume its normal, every day activities, quickly and efficiently.

Technology will do the rest

Technology has done a great job helping retailers to broaden the ways in which they engage, interact and transact with customers, but it has also made them potentially more vulnerable on a wider number of fronts to data loss. 

Retailers are under pressure to do more to protect customer data and to ensure their systems are safeguarded from potential downtime, disruption and disaster.

Let the technology do the work – so long as they get the strategy right and choose wisely, technology can do a lot to help retailers achieve those objectives without breaking the bank or disrupting their existing infrastructure.

David Fisk is EMEA Sales Director at Quorum.

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