Whether you’re bemoaning the loss of brick & mortar stores or loving home-delivered ice cream in your pajamas, everyone knows that more and more business is taking place on the internet. Indeed, statistics show that in 2020, U.S. consumers spent 861.12 BILLION dollars on online retail transactions – 44% more than in 2019. While the line on that chart is likely to flatten at some point, it’s safe to say it will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. With all that in mind, many retailers are understandably concerned about cybersecurity.
Retailers, especially large enterprise operations, are an especially attractive target for hackers and online criminals – they process huge amounts of sensitive customer data on a constant basis. Meanwhile, the proliferation of cloud-based apps and storage have created more of what are sometimes called “attack vectors” or “threat vectors” – paths by which hackers can potentially gain access to data.
While it’s probably not possible for anyone to be completely immune from online harm-doers, there are definitely things you can do to help yourself stay safe. Read below for some common cybersecurity challenges and how to help mitigate them.
Phishing takes many forms, from emails with malicious data-grabbing links to phone calls from people posing as someone else in order to gain information. Most of the usual common-sense solutions apply here; don’t click on links in emails from people you don’t know, look for misspellings or broken English in the email, hover your mouse over links to see if the URL looks suspicious, don’t give information over the phone to anyone who calls you rather than the other way around.
Ransomware can be a little more complicated. The word itself is a portmanteau, which as you might guess is malicious software that requires a ransom be paid to the originator in order to be removed. The best defense against ransomware is a trusted managed services provider, who can perform regular vulnerability checks, perform backups, make timely security patches, and administrate antivirus efforts. If you think you may be the target or victim of a ransomware attack, there are resources available to help at www.cisa.gov/stopransomware.