Protect Retail: Make Your Network One of Your Best Defenses Against Cybercriminals


AI and other technologies are giving rise to new security vulnerabilities for retailers, risking not only merchandise and revenue but also the very reputation of the retailer. With more sophisticated cyberattacks happening, retail IT teams must develop a more sophisticated strategy to guard against crime  and invest in intelligent network elements that can make the difference between revenue loss and growth.

Sticky fingers and identity theft are not new to retail. But as technology elements like automation, AI, curbside pickup, and frictionless payment become the norm, a medley of new vulnerabilities has surfaced for retailers — and with it a buffet of opportunities for cybercriminals.

Overall, across all industries, Cybercrime Magazine announced that cybercrime “would be the world’s third-largest economy” by 2025, inflicting estimated damages worldwide of $10.5 trillion annually in just five years. And retail is getting hit hard, according to BizTech, which recently reported that cybercrime in retail has risen by 59% since 2018.

The reason is simple: technology is benefiting everyone, including crime. “Hackers and cybercriminals are using a widening range of tactics, from account theft and takeovers (for example, stealing login info for a particular online retailer) to credit card theft, ransomware, and more,” says BizTech’s Lauren Manfuso.

What’s costing retailers the most are ransomware attacks, POS breaches, and AI-driven organized crime. Globe News Wire reports that “retail had the second highest rate of ransomware attacks (in 2021) of all sectors surveyed”, with the average ransom payment tallied at $226,044. Over 90% of retail businesses said ransomware attacks impacted their ability to operate and just as many said the attack was responsible for revenue loss.

Come Out Squeaky Clean with This Recession-Proof Retail Formula

With more sophisticated attacks on a store’s sensitive data, it’s no longer enough for loss-prevention teams to handle. IT teams must now come to the forefront to develop smarter, cybersecurity strategies.

Five Network Strategies for Retailers to Consider

The network is the key sentry to guard over vulnerable store data. POS systems, IoT devices, endpoints, and cloud and server environments are all carried by the retail network. This makes it even more imperative to develop a security strategy that places the network at the center.

A retail network with security elements guards the gaps and vulnerabilities of having more technology. And can provide not only peace of mind, but also reduce risk and shrinkage while simplifying operations overall.

Extreme recommends five network elements all retailers should have in place to guard against increased cyberattacks:

1. Security policies in place at every point in the network

2. Multilayered security for wireless networking

3. Granular access control policies

4. Data safeguards as it travels in transit and breaks out to the cloud

5. Unified management from the cloud


Find Out Exactly How Extreme Solutions Close the IT Security Gap

When criminals get smarter, so should the loss-prevention tactics of your business. And today that means bringing IT to both the defensive and offensive teams. You should be choosing investments with security safeguards built in.

Extreme has inherent layers of security strengthening all its wired, wireless, SD-WAN, and cloud solutions. Security is not optional, especially in retail — so it is a critical component of every single network solution we offer.

New technologies like AI and IoT have introduced unprecedented vulnerabilities for retailers, endangering merchandise, revenue, and reputation. With cybercrime on the rise in retail, it is imperative for retail IT teams to take a proactive approach and prioritize store security. By investing in smart network defenses and implementing comprehensive cybersecurity measures, retailers can mitigate risks, protect customer data, and ensure a safe shopping experience for their customers. 


About the Author
Natasha McNulty
Senior Content Strategist

Natasha McNulty is a Senior Content Strategist for Extreme Networks specializing in K-12 education, higher education, and retail. Captivated by connections of any kind, she strives to uncover the human side of every story.

Full Bio