As GDPR approaches, retail data breaches remain unacceptably high

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Two in five retailers across the globe have experienced a data breach in the past year, according to Thales and 451 Research. The report reveals that 43 percent of retailers had experienced a data breach in the last year, with a third claiming more than one.

GDPR approaches

With 60% claiming that they had been breached in the past, it’s perhaps unsurprising to learn that 88% of retailers consider themselves to be ‘vulnerable’ to data threats, with 37% stating they are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ vulnerable. As a result, three quarters of retailers expect their spending on IT security to increase.

Taking steps toward compliance

An increase in regulations such as the forthcoming GDPR has led to greater awareness and concern around issues of data privacy and sovereignty, with 72% of retailers claiming to be impacted.

The report reveals that, in an effort to comply with these new requirements, 64% of retailers are encrypting their data, 40% are tokenising data, and 36% are implementing a migration project.

Pressures to use advanced technology increase risk

According to the report, 52% of retail organisations will use sensitive data in a big data environment this year, with a third using encryption to protect that data. Despite this, however, 39% were very concerned that they’re using these environments without proper security in place.

What’s more, the report found that as adoption of cloud and SaaS environments continues to rise, so too do concerns regarding their safe use. Two-thirds of retailers, for example, claimed to be very or extremely concerned about cloud service providers (CSPs) falling victim to security breaches or attacks. A similar number (66%) expressed concerns around vulnerabilities in shared infrastructure, and 65% were worried about the custodianship of the encryption keys used to protect their data.

63% of respondents suggested that such fears could be allayed through the use of data encryption in the cloud, with keys being controlled at the retailer’s premises, while half preferred the CSPs to control the keys.

“Breach results were not so rosy for global retail – a staggering 43 percent of global retail respondents reported a breach in the past year alone, approaching twice the global average. These distressing breach rates serve as stark proof that data on any system can be attacked and compromised. Unfortunately, organisations keep spending on the same security solutions that worked for them in the past, but aren’t necessarily the most effective at stopping modern breaches,” said Garrett Bekker, principal analyst for information security at 451 Research.

Retail organisations interested in improving their overall security postures should strongly consider:

  • Deploying security tool sets that offer services-based deployments, platforms and automation
  • Discovering and classifying the location of sensitive data within cloud, SaaS, big data, IoT and container environments
  • Leveraging encryption and Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) technologies for all advanced technologies.