Cloud computing now plays a significant part in every sector; from the manufacturing industry to financial services to the retail industry. For the retail industry that has embraced doing business in the cyberspace, the last five years have been somewhat devastating. A number of major data breaches have come to the fore where retailers have lost tens of millions of their customers’ data, including their credit card information. However, It should not come as a surprise at all that hackers would target the retail industry. After all, the cyber criminals know that a singular successful cyber assault gives them access to a lot of customer information they can auction in the black market.

Nevertheless, it is an open secret that most retailers that have fallen victim to these attacks were ill-prepared to deal with them. It comes as no surprise that some people wonder if, in fact, industry players are determined to protect their systems from intruders. While it would be inaccurate to assume that retailers have hardly done enough to secure their customer information, the cyber world is in agreement that the majority of the attacks that have been successful found the retailers flat-footed.

Imminent cyber-attacks

Increasingly, companies from all industries are bracing themselves for the worst. Birthed from the belief that a cyber-attack is imminent and that however adequately prepared a company may seem, it is no guarantee that hackers will not find a way in.

Owing to the gravity of the situation, retail businesses are shifting their approach in locking out intruders from their systems. Instead of leaving the IT departments to figure out how to deal with these safety concerns, business leaders from the topmost levels of management in these organizations are taking it upon themselves to find a lasting solution to the cybercrime menace.

In an interesting turn of events, business executives are turning to the cloud – which some may say is part of the reason why cybercrime has increased – for security solutions. These executives believe that they can leverage emerging cloud technologies for safer organizational work environment. To these business leaders, the cloud is the future, thus shying away from it is at best only delaying the inevitable. Therefore, the best solutions in cloud security must have a clear bias towards cloud computing.

The objective of this cloud-oriented strategy is to satisfactorily meet the needs of the retailer’s’ employees and customers in a consistent and relevant way across all the points of interaction for the businesses.

Cloud technologies is the future of the retail business

Traditionally, retailers used strategies that segmented their customers on the basis of their buying channels and cycles. Some of the segmentation’s included in-store, call center, social, mobile, digital and direct. However, today’s marketplace has placed a demand for a shift from these strategies to a more customer-centered approach where retailers focus on consistency across the various points of contact between the retailers and their customers.

For example, if a customer visits a retailer’s website using his laptop and adds to his shopping cart a certain product, he expects that it will be in his shopping cart once he logs into the site on his smartphone. This cohesiveness enhances the customer’s experience. Retailers want this cohesiveness to be replicated across every device the user may choose to use from the first time they contact the retailer to the moment they complete a purchase.

To make this possible, retailers have turned to cloud technologies. Retailers hope by embracing cloud technologies, they will offer a seamless, high-quality experience for their customers. Furthermore, this approach promises a faster and smarter way of doing business. This reliance on the cloud now extends to security, where the best security solutions for retailers of the future may as well come from the cloud.

Today, retailers are using cloud solutions to transform data into an essential strategic asset that can facilitate collaboration as well as enable company employees to make safer and smarter decisions. Many firms are now available that are using cloud solutions to secure enterprises in the retail industry.

Keeping intruders away

The following are ways that the cloud is protecting the retail industry from intruders:

Improved network visibility

Long gone are the days when business organizations struggled to see their business processes and networks. Cloud provides businesses with an opportunity to see into every business process in real-time. Consequently, these insights can help better protect the network from hackers and other cybercriminals. Using the insights made possible by the cloud, businesses can more easily identify anomalous behavior. Today, there are quite a number of cloud monitoring tools available for the retail industry, which they can use to monitor their networks as well as create a proactive network of defense.

Monitoring of applications

Monitoring all the application software in use in retail stores can be a nightmare, more so when the applications are locally installed. The cloud makes it extremely easy to remotely monitor every piece of software in use in all the retail outlets from a single location. Such close monitoring goes a long way in identifying system vulnerabilities and creating solutions for them before hackers can exploit them.

Monitoring endpoints

Endpoints are perhaps some of the most exploited areas for intruders trying to gain entry into a retailer’s system. The cloud makes it possible for system users to use proactive endpoint monitoring and logging solutions that can be controlled remotely. Moreover, the cloud provides visibility into all the activities of the users in the system, making the detection of a security compromise quick, efficient and effective.

Access to threat intelligence resources

Through the cloud, retailers can tap into an incredible wealth of threat security intelligence from leading players in the retail business. This sharing of threat reports through the cloud is a significant breakthrough towards better preparedness for possible cyber-attacks. Additionally, this intelligence sharing helps retail organizations better plan their security response and solidify their back up system protocols in the event that the cyber assault attempt is successful.

Access cloud-based security services

Through the cloud, retailers can access security services they could otherwise not be able to, thereby improving their system security capabilities. Typically, these cloud-based security services are cheaper than on-premises security solutions, yet they deliver just as good, and sometimes better security for companies in the retail business. These cloud-based security services include DDoS protection, network monitoring, and security response.

Using cloud-based wireless alarms

One major development that has contributed immensely to better security for retailers is cloud-based wireless alarms. Unlike in the past where alarms were wired and had to be monitored locally, today, more and more retailers are embracing alarm systems that can be accessed and managed from a remote location via the cloud.

The retailing business today is more complex than any other time in history. For this reason, the tactics that industry players implement must align with the growing threats in the cyberspace. As online payment for good and services become even more commonplace, retailers have to continuously innovate to stay a number of steps ahead of cyber criminals. As new security practices and standards emerge, retail industry players must adopt quickly as well as train their employees as a way of lowering the probability of an intruder penetrating their internal systems and causing irreparable damage.

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