IoT Security Gives Retailers a Wake-Up Call

For indicators of how technology is fuel for the retail economy, look no further than these two projections: research firm Forrester says U.S. online holiday sales will total more than $100 billion in 2016, a growth of 13 percent since last year, and Deloitte projects that the 2016 holiday season marks the first time that online and in-store holiday shopping were equal.

Consumers never tire of choices and convenience. Technologies both online and in-store are implemented to increase choice and convenience to make the buying experience modern, efficient and even fun. But this requires careful planning and investment in the right technologies on behalf of retailers and their third-party technology vendors, which must work together to ensure that security isn’t sacrificed for efficiency.

Sharon Goldman recently covered this issue in an article for CIO.com, “6 things retail CIOs need to keep in mind in 2017.” With technology investments and increased digitization and modernization in 2017, experts say CIOs must think “mobile first” to achieve continued growth, improve the checkout system with advances in point-of-sale technologies like faster EMV chips on payment cards, and ensure data on inventory and sales is captured accurately and in real-time.

In addition, Sharon quotes Bomgar’s Sam Elliott on one of the most challenging emerging tech trends facing retailers: connectivity via Internet of Things devices. The article states:

IoT adoption continues to progress, but in 2017, CIOs will have to future-proof their security posture as the potential for unwanted users or cybercriminals to infiltrate retail increases, says Sam Elliott, director of security product management at Bomgar, a remote software vendor. “One of the greatest challenges for retail CIOs when it comes to IoT is determining who is responsible for securing, maintaining and patching the various technologies.”

Devices are often overlooked because they fall outside of ITs traditional purview, he adds, while retailers may be unaware the security responsibility lies with them, leading to a scenario in which the device ends up on a vulnerability database and is quickly exploited. In other instances, updates might be maintained by a vendor or another third party who has access to the company’s system. “Even if a device meets some definition of security, the question of who owns it and who has access to it remains a security nightmare,” he says.

Be sure to read the full article here, and learn more about Bomgar’s secure access solutions for retail. Let us know below – what else should retail CIOs be concerned with in the year ahead?

Casey Piquette, Content Marketing Specialist at Bomgar

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