Last year, one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains experienced a security breach that kept its mobile app and website down for two days. During that time, customers were unable to shop online, book deliveries or make any amends to their order. It prompted a flood of enquiries and frustration, on top of the financial loss the supermarket incurred from losing out on hundreds of thousands of potential purchases. But there was a silver lining. Because the company stored and managed all its operations in the cloud, it was able to ensure that all customer data remained safe and secure.
As retail increasingly moves online, criminals are following suit. In fact, online retail is now one of the most targeted sectors by cyber criminals as they hunt for customer data, specifically card payments details and general personal information.
Security breaches come at a high cost. When customer data is stolen, retailers risk losing customer trust, and they may even have to pay fines if they are found violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Global insurance firm Hiscox revealed that almost three-quarters of small businesses suffered at least one cyberattack in the past 12 months, costing an average US$25k.
But there are steps businesses can take to secure their business and their data. While moving to online retail has felled cyberattacks, the cloud, which powers online retail, is also where retail leaders are turning to take advantage of world-leading security solutions. “It was only a few years ago when most of my customer conversations started with, ‘I can’t go to the cloud because of security. It’s not possible,’” said Julia White, corporate vice president for Azure and security at Microsoft. “And now I have people, more often than not, saying, ‘I need to go to the cloud because of security.’”
The security of any IT infrastructure is dependent on the host organization’s ability to invest in protecting its applications and data. Businesses traditionally preferred to host all their critical data on servers physically located within company offices – but many are now realizing they don’t have the knowledge and funds to protect themselves against ever-evolving security threats on their own.
The cloud business model delivers economies of scale that make it practical and viable to deliver around-the-clock security monitoring. Cloud service providers can afford to prioritize security far more than a typical end user. And few companies have invested in cloud security and compliance as much as Microsoft. The company reported they spend about US$1 billion in cloud security each year. The Microsoft security systems and teams thwart a staggering 1.5 million attempts a day to compromise its systems. Learning from these attacks, Microsoft has continually improved its cloud security services, implementing from data encryption and automated threat detection to identity isolation and just-in-time access.
2. Improve company-wide visibility
Retail businesses no longer need to struggle to get full visibility of their business processes and networks. With a cloud-based infrastructure, they can see exactly what’s happening across their organization in real time and use these insights to protect their business.
For example, Microsoft’s latest cloud functionality empowers retailers to use adaptive artificial intelligence to identify patterns and help combat payment fraud, bots, account takeovers, and returns and discount fraud.
With the monitoring tools available to users in the cloud, retailers can build a proactive network of defense, identifying system vulnerabilities and resolving them before they’re exploited by potential hackers.
3. Ensure all IT is up to date
With their retail management platform running in the cloud as software as a service (SaaS), retailers can be sure that they’re always taking advantage of the most up-to-date features and technologies. That’s because the vendor incurs the cost of supporting the software instead of them; maintenance, up-to-date software, security and support are all the responsibility of the cloud provider, and they all happen automatically.
Gartner estimates that public cloud workloads will suffer at least 60% fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centers. So, regardless of whether you’re a large or small business, by moving to the cloud you’re investing in one of the most secure IT infrastructures without having to front the cost yourself.
4. Tap into industry-leading intelligence
Through the cloud, retailers have an opportunity to tap into a huge wealth of threat security intelligence. This sharing of knowledge not only helps them prepare better for possible cyberattacks, but it allows cloud providers themselves to learn from these insights and create much more sophisticated security tools for the benefit of all.
That means that any time Microsoft detects a security threat to a service running on its cloud platform, every other service on the platform gets the benefit of that knowledge.
“Before cloud computing, everyone had their own little island of information about attempted attacks on their individual companies,” said Microsoft’s Julia White. “Now, Microsoft has the benefit of being able to gather and analyze billions of pieces of information a day to look for attempted attacks, and apply that information for the benefit of all its customers.”
At LS Retail, we are proud to be an awarded Microsoft partner. Our unified commerce solution LS Central is built on Microsoft’s number one cloud ERP platform. Thousands of customers trust in our technology to manage and keep safe their financial, point of sale, store operations, supply chain, inventory, eCommerce, and customer loyalty data.
To find out how you can secure your business IT by moving to the cloud, contact us.
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