Retailers face data security threats on many fronts. Not only is online shopping becoming a critical component of a competitive business model, collecting copious amounts of customer data with every view, click, purchase, and share, but even brick-and-mortar stores are accumulating significant amounts of customer data from loyalty programs, credit card swipes, and other initiatives.

Taken together, today’s retailers are collecting an incredible amount of customer data, which presents both unique opportunities and unavoidable vulnerabilities.

Cybercriminals frequently target retailers, identifying their valuable datasets and relative lack of attention to this priority as an easy opportunity to wreak havoc and to make money. For example, in December, Woolworths, a popular supermarket chain, experienced a data breach when an employee fell for a phishing scam that ultimately allowed hackers to steal rewards money from customer accounts. Similarly, the online stores for numerous retailers have been impacted by data breaches. In 2019 alone, it’s estimated that 20,000 e-commerce sites could be compromised by the prominent and problematic Magecart payment skimming malware. Most notably, this fall, Macy’s customers had their payment information stolen, an indelible reminder that retailers of all sizes are continually at risk of a data loss event.

Simply put, in 2020 and beyond, cybersecurity is going to be a top-of-mind, bottom-line issue for retailers. To be successful, they will need to understand the risks of a data breach, and they must take adequate steps to help mitigate these vulnerabilities.

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