Importance of Application Security in Retail: Existing Challenges and Opportunities

For retailers in the digital realm, there are many challenges as well as opportunities to focus on. As the online retail industry grows, there is a much wider range of application security threats to deal with. Whether it’s a web application on your portal or a mobile platform, cybercriminals are always ready to target valuable data. Data theft can get a ransom for hackers or they can sell it on the dark web as seen a lot lately.

Another important thing to know is that hackers can’t tell the difference between an online retail startup and a multi-billion dollar company. With automatic bots performing DDOS attacks against various types of phishing and malware attempts, attackers never rest. So, you need a real-time security framework that’s just as effective every time. For relatively smaller companies and start-ups, the risk increases rapidly, as the following figures reveal:

  • 43% of attackers target small businesses
  • Failure to recover from attacks causes nearly 60% of small businesses to close within 6 months of cyberattack
  • A cyberattack can cost you up to $2.2 million a year

How does a cyberattack affect retail businesses?

You may or may not know it, but a cyberattack can cause a lot of damage to your business. These include

  • Loss of vital and confidential data of your customers, employees, vendors, suppliers and other stakeholders
  • Business interruptions lead to lost sales, especially during holiday seasons
  • Financial costs of cyberattacks, including system recovery and restructuring expenses
  • Penalties, prosecution costs of the parties concerned
  • Loss of goodwill
  • Company closed

With application security becoming extremely complex, it is important for retail operators to take steps that would help them strengthen application security and hopefully mitigate any risks in a timely and effective manner. We’ll take a look.

  1. Take a DevSecOps approach – This approach focuses on the need to identify and fix potential vulnerabilities from day one of application development.
  1. Establishment of a secure SDLC management process – Open source tools can be advantageous in terms of cost and speed, but they also expose your applications to various vulnerabilities. Thus, you should implement a secure SDLC management process that protects these vulnerabilities, monitors them, and fixes the software regularly. The adoption of reliable security tools offered by application security experts should also be emphasized. These tools can help your developers keep applications secure without having to slow down speed or efficiency.
  1. Using Web/Mobile App Scanners – 24-hour monitoring is essential. This is where automated and smart app scanners can monitor and track all your digital assets without too much human supervision.
  1. Invest in managed web applications and API protection – With dynamic changes in the security environment; it is essential to deploy state-of-the-art protection services that can instantly have policies to precisely protect against new and existing application vulnerabilities. Insisting on managed vendor capabilities is critical to the success of these deployments, as organizations will not have the time and ability to invest in developing the expertise needed to maintain and update security policies.
  1. Penetration tests and regular security audits – Regular penetration testing and security audits are crucial for any retail business. Performed by certified security experts, they can identify unknown flows and business logic that automated tools cannot identify. Thus, they strengthen your defenses and also offer recommendations to strengthen security.
  1. Choose the right security tools – The choice of application security tools plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of the framework. Thus, you should opt for comprehensive and intelligent security tools offered as part of an end-to-end managed security solution that can transform application security. The ideal security solution provider would offer scanning tools, penetration testing, security audits, next-gen WAF, DDoS protection, false positive management, patch management, reporting, security and encryption, etc.

These are some of the key steps alongside precautions like smart password management, secure logins, access control, email hygiene, and more. It’s important to remember that application security for retailers is a never-ending journey and the threat environment changes with every bend in the road. You need to partner with a reliable and reputable web application security vendor to stay safe on this front and channel your energies into growing your business.