What’s the cost of poor network security?
Digital networks are now the backbone of every retail and hospitality operation. Every second of every day in-store voice and data networks are used to deliver a staggering level of business-critical data – from purchase transactions, stock data and merchandising to promotions, health and safety alerts and of course customers’ personal details.
But with the British Retail Consortium estimating the annual cost of retail cybercrime at £100m, there is a great deal at stake. Aside from the financial cost, any network security breach will almost certainly cause significant damage to an organisation’s reputation. While it may seem that customers have short memories about such events, research shows the true cost of data loss.
Here we take a closer look at specific cyber security threats and ways you can better protect your business.
Wi-Fi a key tool in retail and hospitality
Many organisations use Wi-Fi to connect in store POS and staff devices, while others offer free WiFi to increase customers’ on-site dwell time. Wi-Fi networks are also increasingly relied upon to give customer-facing colleagues access to core apps and systems. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi is also a very attractive target for cyber criminals.
Without sufficient Wi-Fi security a hacker can access a network and monitor data traffic, disrupt transactions and even launch a denial of service (DDOS) attack, stopping a store from trading altogether. A hacker can also set up a fake Wi-Fi hotspot on-site, tricking both staff and customers into logging on so the hacker can harvest personal details including identities and passwords.
How to secure your Wi-Fi network
1. Go beyond simple passwords: Multi-factor authentication such as tokens and push notifications sent to mobile phones are significantly more secure than traditional password access to Wi-Fi networks.
2. Divide and secure your network: Make it difficult for hackers to move around if they manage to breach your Wi-Fi system. For example, if they’ve accessed data stored this should not automatically give them access to your POS system. Each part of your system should be secured in isolation.
3. Use automatic monitoring: Deploy software that can automatically monitor your network, looking for suspicious activity or strange data flows. Once alerted you can stop a potential attack before damage is done.
4. Educate your staff: Staff awareness of security issues and processes is a vital part of any strategy. Undertake regular training to ensure all understand what is expected of them.
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