Thales: Retail Data Breaches Remain Unacceptably High as GDPR Approaches

Two in five retailers across the globe have experienced a data breach in the past year, according to the 2017 Thales Data Threat Report, Retail Edition.

The report, issued by Thales in conjunction with analyst firm 451 Research, reveals that a staggering 43 percent of retailers had experienced a data breach in the last year, with a third (32%) claiming more than one.

With 60 percent claiming that they had been breached in the past, it’s perhaps unsurprising to learn that the majority (88%) of retailers consider themselves to be ‘vulnerable’ to data threats, with 37 percent stating they are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ vulnerable.

As a result, three quarters (73%) of retailers expect their spending on IT security to increase.

Taking steps toward compliance

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

The report reveals that, in an effort to comply with these new requirements, almost two thirds of retailers (64%) are encrypting their data, 40 percent are tokenizing data, and a similar number (36%) are implementing a migration project.

Pressures to use advanced technology increase risk

According to the report, half of retail organizations (52%) will use sensitive data in a big data environment this year, with a third (34%) using encryption to protect that data. Despite this, however, 39 percent 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 (67%), 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 percent were worried about the custodianship of the encryption keys used to protect their data.

Sixty-three percent 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 (52%) 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,” says Garrett Bekker, principal analyst for information security at 451 Research. “These distressing breach rates serve as stark proof that data on any system can be attacked and compromised. Unfortunately, organizations 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.”

The report notes that retail organizations 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; and;
  • Leveraging encryption and Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) technologies for all advanced technologies.

 

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