Delivering Network IT Security for Complex, Distributed Retail Environments

Retail IT

Network IT security has become an increasingly complex challenge for today’s retailers. Recently, JC Penney and Burberry announced plans to equip their sales staffs with iPads. Loyalty programs are now conducted via sophisticated point-of-sale (POS) terminals. Credit card transactions are processed on a multitude of devices. Securing the retail store computing environment has never been more important than it is today.

Store technology is shifting from closed, proprietary systems to open, flexible systems that allow greater interaction with customers and partners, as well as better control of retail store operations. Due to the nature of the applications they introduce and the functionality they expose, new retail store technologies such as remote frequency identifiers (RFIDs), wireless networking, store Internet access, multifunction POS devices, customer kiosks, handheld devices, Voice-over-IP (VOIP), etc. require more retail network security.

While a retailer’s headquarters may have the right network IT security infrastructure in place, the individual stores and the technologies they use represent a major liability in the exchange of information across the entire organization. Retail IT environments are distributed, mixed and complex by nature. IT departments don’t have the time or staffing resources to be everywhere these technologies and devices are deployed. Yet, these technologies and devices should be secured as reliably as systems in the data center.

As in-store systems and devices become increasingly interconnected, the need to secure the retail environment grows exponentially. Below is a list of common retail network IT security threats you may currently be experiencing.

  • Applications running under a shared, privileged account
  • Credit card theft by both hackers and employees
  • Data stolen on un-secure, un-managed mobile devices
  • Insecure stores that provide an easy entry into the corporate network
  • Physically insecure computers and networks that are an easy target
  • Viruses, spyware, and other cyber attacks
  • Wireless spoofing

Retail IT departments have done their best to secure multiple locations with the resources available. Until recently, retail network IT security technology has required that it be executed by dispatching IT staff to stores. The IT team, already overburdened managing day-to-day help desk and systems administration, must also monitor, manage and deploy firewalls and other network devices. In this scenario, support personnel can spend more time traveling between stores, just to keep security patches up to date and services running, than they spend proactively identifying network security threats and preventing attacks.

A more secure retail store enables easier and safer connectivity with customers and business partners. But, managing distributed retail environments containing multiple types of technologies and devices doesn’t have to be thankless. Nor does it have to be difficult or require excess amounts of overtime. Embracing a retail network security solution such as the Kaseya IT Systems Management Solution allows you to manage your retail IT environment more efficiently without requiring downtime, helping you to do your part to drive sales.

Handheld Point-of-Sale System (POS)

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