In Depth

Security Like The Dickens

With the holiday shopping season upon us and projections for consumer spending looking rosy, retailers are certainly keeping a keen eye on security issues that could shake consumer confidence and cut into profits.

As consumers around the globe prepare to celebrate a slew of winter holidays, a hefty mix of in-store and online purchases this time of year presents potential threats across the channels. In this week’s recap of retail security news, we look at retail security on both sides of the digital and real-world equation.


Bad Timing For Breach At Marks And Spencer

This past week, U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer faced a breach of security that temporarily shut down its website. The BBC reported that on Tuesday (Oct. 27) hundreds of customers were mistakenly given access to the private account details of other shoppers, including names, dates of birth, contacts and previous orders.

An estimated 800 customers were affected by the data snafu, according to The Guardian, with some users who were on the site when the breach occurred reporting that they were able to read the last four digits of other shoppers’ payment methods. However, the retailer contends that no full credit card details were shared or otherwise compromised during the incident and that it was able to resolve the problem quickly when the site was taken offline for nearly two hours.

“Due to a technical issue, we temporarily suspended our website yesterday evening,” a spokeswoman for the company told the BBC. “This allowed us to thoroughly investigate and resolve the issue and quickly restore service for our customers.”

Unfortunately for the retailer — and potentially its holiday season sales — disgruntled customers took to the social media airwaves to vent their concern and frustration with what they perceived as a lack of responsiveness from the company.


Cracking Down On Holiday Shoplifting

Another article out of the U.K. points to a large in-store security problem for British retailers. According to a recent article in the Belfast Telegraph, British retailers see a sizable uptick in shoplifting during the holiday season. The Global Retail Theft Barometer report compiled by Checkpoint Systems, a security technology provider, estimates £800 million pounds are lost to consumer theft by U.K. retailers alone. But even more shocking might be the additional £770 million of in-store losses from employees across the U.K.

Among the items most commonly stolen: fashion accessories, power tools, mobile device accessories, wine and spirits and razor blades. “Interestingly, one major U.K. retailer is security tagging prosciutto ham in an effort to reduce shrinkage of one of its most popular festive food lines over the key winter sales period,” the report added.

This holiday shoplifting trend is not unique to the U.K., and as shoppers look to round out their holiday gift-giving list, it’s an unfortunate truth that they won’t always pay for their purchases on the way out the door. With a heavy focus on cybersecurity and high-tech solutions, it can be easy to forget that some of the best preventive measures around shoplifting still involve a good old-fashioned locksmith and making sure that display cases and high-value specialty items remain secure.


Emerging Security Analytics Market’s Future Looks Promising

According to a new market research report released this week by MarketsandMarkets, the security analytics market is estimated to grow from $2.1 billion in 2015 to $7.1 billion by 2020. This represents over 27 percent growth for an industry that has expanded quickly as security breaches have become increasingly sophisticated and persistent.

Security analytics provide enterprises with multi-layered risk-based security solutions that integrate with Big Data analytics to provide real-time threat intelligence. As government regulations and standards for cybersecurity become more rigid and adoption of cloud-based security solutions by both SMBs and larger enterprises is on the rise, the industry has experienced rapid innovation.

While North America is expected to yield the largest market share of growth, APAC is projected to grow by the largest percentage year over year from 2015 to 2020. The report also examines key players in the space, including IBM, HP, Juniper Networks, LogRhythm, Inc., Arbor Networks and Blue Coat Systems.

With cyberattacks showing no signs of slowing, retailers will need to become familiar with these types of security analytics solutions to help them discover and shore up vulnerabilities in their security infrastructure before they become full-blown data breaches.


Latest Insights:

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. In the November 2019 Mobile Order-Ahead Report, PYMNTS talks with Dan Wheeler, Wahlburgers’ SVP, on how the QSR balances security and seamlessness to secure its recently launched WahlClub loyalty program.