Retail seek solutions to ensure the security of operations

Faced with the growth and acceleration of  digital transformation, retail seek solutions to ensure the security of operations

By Paula Forti, Marketing Intelligence at Kryptus 

In the digital transformation era, innovation is essential to break old production modes and paradigms, and, ultimately, ensure the business’s survival. Digitalization within the different economic sectors has proven to be increasingly fundamental, especially considering the pandemic’s challenges. In this aspect, retail was one of the sectors that most adapted and reinvented itself. E-commerce in Brazil, for example, grew 27% compared to 2020, reaching a record revenue of R$ 161 billion in 2021, according to data from Neotrust. The discrepancy is remarkable when compared with the retail sector as a whole (physical and digital), which had a YoY growth rate  of only 1.4% in 2021, according to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics).

In this context, many of the solutions that already existed in retail were improved and others were developed to follow the changes in the sector. Self-checkouts, delivery solutions, self-service totems, contactless payment methods, biometrics, and access controls are some examples of innovation. 

Within the various innovations, there is a common ground when we talk about automation to improve the customer journey: the quest to concentrate technological solutions in a single supplier and the migration to the cloud. The solutions developed by market players bring higher integration on several fronts. The self-checkout, for example, has a hardware, and software integrated with the cloud with a logistics, inventory, issuing of invoices and orders, management and analytics systems, and payment options that include, in addition to traditional options, loyalty programs, and cashback. This creates a complex network in which players from various fronts seek a common objective: to provide a centralized solution that, by consolidating the hiring and management of suppliers, brings greater convenience to the retailers and their customers. 

However, to avoid this combination of solutions, associated with cloud storage, bringing risks to the operation, it is necessary to build an incorruptible and robust cybersecurity infrastructure. If we think that different vendors have different system infrastructures, and these systems must connect among themselves to ensure a fluid operation for the customer, it is mandatory that APIs be securely implemented, the access system of all players in this chain is well managed, there is a sensitive information backup process, encryption of accesses and databases before sending them to the cloud, and constant monitoring activity. Any opening in these connections is a guarantee that, at some point, there will be information leakage. The cases involving ransomware, which have gained strength in retail in recent months, perfectly illustrate what a security breach can cause and its consequences. In Brazil, more than 88.5 billion cyber attack attempts were carried out in 2021 – an increase of more than 950% compared to 2020, which took the country to the 2nd position in the number of attacks in Latin America, according to a survey by Fortinet. 

As more solutions are integrated, based on a cloud environment, to bring a more attractive technological offer to the retailer, higher are the risks of failures leading to information leakage. Protection strategies include:

  • Security diagnoses (Security assessment), which establishes the baseline and identifies the main gaps in information security maturity through a 360° assessment, addressing people, processes, and technology dimensions;
  • Continuous invasion tests (Pentest) or Ethical hacking, for identification of all vulnerabilities, with analysis on security incident impacts s and corrective recommendations on applications, devices, infrastructure, and networks;
  • Incident readiness, responsible for  tools, plans, and governance implementation, to successfully respond to cyber incidents; 
  • Cryptographic Security Modules (HSMs) for cryptographic keys protection and sensitive data encryption, such as backups, databases, systems and user authentication, financial transactions, and others. 

Retail digital transformation is intrinsic to the industry. According to a survey by the Brazilian Society of Retailing and Consumption (SBVC), 44% of retail companies intend to invest more than 1% of their gross revenue in digital transformation this year. Several studies and investments are being made to embrace new trends, such as e-commerce, omnichannel strategies, metaverse, IoTs, live and social commerces, diversification of payment methods, and artificial intelligence. With so many changes underway, it is up to the industry players to act quickly so as not to be left behind, while ensuring a secure and robust cyber structure for the value chain they are creating.

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