Protecting the Retail Industry

It’s getting easy to shrug off the latest headlines about leaked data and hacked credit card numbers. The Heartbleed Bug and Target’s data breach made everyone’s eyes bug out. Now a lot of people are rolling their eyes and saying “oh look, yet another security alert” as it happens again and again.

Retail SecurityHere are the larger headlines and corresponding numbers:

  • TJ Maxx, 2006-2007, 46m accounts compromised
  • PlayStation Network, April 2011, 77m accounts compromised
  • Zappos, Jan 2012, 24m accounts compromised
  • Adobe Systems, Oct 2013, 150m records compromised
  • Target, Dec 2013, 40m cards stolen
  • Yahoo, Jan 2014, numbers inconsistent
  • eBay, Feb 2014, 145m accounts compromised
  • Home Depot, Sept 2014, 56m cards stolen
  • Jimmy Johns, most recent, numbers uncertain

*m = millions

Target, Home Depot, TJ Maxx…

The recent breach at Home Depot exposed more customer accounts than Target’s well-publicized breach, but people seemed far more concerned with Target. Why?

According to an article from the Motley Fool, Target was the first major retailer to get hit by a quick and decisive attack, it happened right before the apex of the holiday season, and they communicated poorly with the media and affected individuals. If you’re a fan of watching people run through an obstacle course, you know that the first person to go usually fails to complete the race.

Another reason is that Target is more consumer-orientated, whereas Home Depot deals with contractors and businesses. For that reason, Target has many more competitors for customers to shop.

TJ Maxx’s breach also exposed more accounts and it occurred years before hackers attacked Target or Home Depot. The difference is that the breach at TJ Maxx was slow and steady, and Target’s breach was immediate and damage control was mismanaged, leaving the taste of distrust in Target customers’ mouths.

Regardless of the type of customers affected and the timing of the breaches, the fact is that data was compromised at all of these companies. That’s nothing to be ignored, no matter where it happens. These breaches should be a learning experience for every retailer or business.

Don’t Become Number 569

The retail industry has been through a lot and it continues to happen to retailers and companies in other industries. According to Yahoo! Finance, there have been 568 data breaches in 2014.

Five-hundred and sixty-eight! And there’s three more months to go.

What you can do to protect your business (retail or other industry) is to stay ahead of the threats and develop a plan in case something does happen. It can’t be overstated how detrimental a security breach is to a business, especially if it causes a loss of customer trust in the process.

Tips for Retailers & Resellers:

  • Correctly install point of sale systems
  • Train all employees in proper use of equipment
  • Keep your technology up to date
  • Restrict or minimize remote access
  • Develop a plan of action in case of breach
  • Have a communications strategy ready

Investing in security is vital to a business’ well being. TriTech’s IT solutions include security and data protection. Our technicians can ensure that your business’ access points are secure, your customers’ data is protected and your peace of mind is well defended. We’ll help with the physical security as well, including IP surveillance equipment and data center management. Contact TriTech to develop a defense plan now before you’re already under attack.