Industry Execs Discuss The Threats That Businesses Face During This Shopping Season

Black Friday kicks-off what has become known as the busiest and most important shopping season of the year. In 2005, Cyber Monday was launched and became the most profitable day for online shopping. And now, Super Saturday – aka, Panic Saturday, taking place this year on Saturday, December 17, has been added as another business-critical “in the black” factor for the majority of retailers. 

Whether you are a brick and mortar or online retailer, system downtime and/or a data breach presents a very significant problem with far reaching consequences, however during this time of year the ramifications could be catastrophic.  

On this subject, the following StorCentric, Retrospect and DH2i executives had this to say.

Surya Varanasi, CTO, StorCentric:   

“While retailers are well aware of the importance of uptime and data security, many continue to struggle, particularly during high-stakes shopping periods. However, with inflation hitting its highest level since 1982, and a recession looming, retailers must ensure they are in an ideal position to meet customer demand, service expectations and capitalize on a time when consumers may be open to loosening their purse strings.

This is a time when data backup and data security best practices are critical. Today, many backup and security processes have become highly automated. But, as ransomware and other malware attacks continue to increase in severity and sophistication, it is clear that proper cyber hygiene must include protecting backed up data by making it immutable and by eliminating any way that data can be deleted or corrupted. 

An Unbreakable Backup does exactly that by creating an immutable, object-locked format, and then takes it a step further by storing the admin keys in another location entirely for added protection. Additional best practices should include deploying a solution that includes policy-driven data integrity checks that can scrub the data for faults, and auto-heals without any user intervention. In addition, high availability is best ensured with dual controllers and RAID-based protection that can provide uninterrupted data access in the event of a cyber attack from any internal or external bad actors, as well as a simple component failure. In this manner, recovery of data will also be faster because RAID-protected disk arrays are able to read faster than they can write. With an Unbreakable Backup solution that encompasses these capabilities, retailers can ease their worry about their ability to recover — and redirect their time and attention to activities that more directly impact maximizing opportunities at this time of year, and all year long.” 

Brian Dunagan, Vice President of Engineering, Retrospect

“The cost of downtime can be staggering, especially at this time of year, and the impact on a retailer’s business reaches far beyond the immediate loss in sales. While malicious or even careless employee actions can also present downtime and data loss risks, external bad actors–ransomware and other malware–are the most common threats. Retail IT professionals are most concerned about their ability to recover from a successful ransomware attack.

My advice to them is this. It is a given that you must deploy data security and high availability (HA) solutions. A simple 3-2-1 backup strategy is also essential (i.e., always have at least three copies of data; two onsite on different media, and one in an offsite location). However, as a successful cyberattack is likely just around the corner, you must be able to detect ransomware as early as possible to stop the threat and ensure your ability to remediate and recover. A backup solution that includes anomaly detection to identify changes in an environment that warrants the attention of IT is a must. Administrators must be able to tailor anomaly detection to their business’s specific systems and workflows, with capabilities such as customizable filtering and thresholds for each of their backup policies. And, those anomalies must be immediately reported to management, as well as aggregated for future ML/analyzing purposes.

Despite the increasing threat of cyberattacks and data breaches, retailers can prevail by staying vigilant and proactively enacting processes and deploying today’s innovative technology solutions; and in doing so, not only protect themselves but also their customers.” 

Don Boxley, CEO and Co-Founder, DH2i:

“As the retail world continues to experience dramatic transformation – some of it temporary, some of which will likely endure – it demands a data access and security solution that can support the way it works today, and tomorrow. Like many technologies that preceded them, VPNs were at one time truly cutting-edge unrivaled technology. However, over time as the world’s IT and business climate has progressed, VPNs have remained almost completely unchanged. Consequently, VPNs are now not only unable to keep hackers at bay, but they may also actually make their jobs easier for them.

As we head into what is arguably one of the busiest and most important seasons of the year for retailers, maintaining data access and security is paramount. What is virtually impossible to accomplish with VPNs can now however be achieved with the more modern, innovative and real-world proven software defined perimeter (SDP). 

SDP enables organizations to build a secure software-defined perimeter and use Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) tunnels to seamlessly connect all applications, servers, IoT devices, and users behind any symmetric network address translation (NAT) to any full cone NAT: without having to reconfigure networks or set up complicated and problematic VPNs. By leveraging SDP this holiday shopping season, organizations can ensure safe, fast and easy network and data access; while slamming the door on any potential cybercriminals or Grinch.”

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