The cyber risks in retail should be protected from the ground up

Lund, Sweden

Retail businesses retain and exchange vast amounts of data which presents a huge temptation to the cyber-criminal. For any retailer a cyber attack could have serious ramifications, resulting in everything from operational disruption and reputational damage to severe financial consequences.

Worryingly, retail organisations have seen a 75% increase in the rate of ransomware attacks over the last year, and 77% of organisations reported an attack in 2021 compared to 44% in 2020. 

Retailers are understandably eager to embrace the benefits of digital transformation by looking to technology to help them operate smarter. But connected devices, such as an IP camera, represent possible points of entry for cyber criminals in the absence of stringent cyber security processes.  Here, Steven Kenny, Architect & Engineering Program Manager, EMEA, at Axis Communications, looks at how retailers can best protect their business against cyber attacks, and why a keen focus on cyber security is so critical for securing the retail world of the future.

Making systems cyber-secure

The advancements and benefits to be gained from network-connected camera technology over legacy systems are well documented, but it’s critical to ensure that the systems employed to improve security do not themselves represent a cyber security risk. It’s not inconceivable that the security companies tasked with protecting a retailer’s people and assets could become the cause of a breach.

When considering the use of network surveillance cameras, it’s imperative that the vendors who provide the technologies can offer guarantees as to reliability. While introducing any device to a network does not come without some element of risk, the retail business should look to work only with companies that embed cyber security primitives into their solutions from the ground up to ensure that the technologies employed are themselves cyber secure.

Intelligent solutions for smarter retail

As regulators struggle to keep up with the explosion of poor-quality IoT devices and the vulnerabilities they inadvertently introduce, retailers must carefully consider who they choose to partner with to deliver their security and business intelligence solutions, and the integrity of these technologies.

For the modern retail business, network cameras - used as sensors - combined with the latest advances in analytics software results in a powerful solution that can unlock an array of business intelligence options beyond security alone. These include people counting, queue management, dwell times, heat mapping, and demographic information.

The Axis ARTPEC-8 system-on-chip (SoC) further enhances analytics functionality based on deep learning capabilities, resulting in an incredibly powerful security and business intelligence tool. Of critical importance is that all Axis security technologies are manufactured from the ground up with cyber security considerations front and center which helps ensure that there are no vulnerabilities.

Ensuring supply chain integrity

A retailer’s supply chain should be considered within its overall cyber security strategy. Only by working closely with security vendors and gaining buy-in from the entire supply chain can the integrity of all possible points of connectivity be fully guaranteed.

It is a requirement of the GDPR that all necessary measures be taken to guard against attack. Effective cyber security lifecycle management of IoT devices is an example of a preventative strategy that should be put in place to help secure devices, such as network cameras, and prevent them from being compromised. Further, according to a recent Deloitte article, the introduction of the EU data protection directive, NIS2, places even greater pressure on the entire supply chain to ensure the highest levels of cyber security, or risk fines of up to 10 million EUR or 2% of total global annual turnover.

To effectively protect their businesses, retailers must be able to rely on technologies that support their operational requirements and address associated risks, while at the same time, supporting IT security policies. Kenny concludes by saying that, Axis can help in this regard by ensuring that security weaknesses have been identified and mitigated at every stage, delivering better protection for the business and customer and resulting in a smarter, safer world for all.


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