For the standard High Street retail business, the subject of risk-assessment has always been multi-faceted enough. It’s really not until you start digging deeply into the subject of risks and threats faced by the average retailer that you begin to realise just how many there are to deal with. From accidents in the workplace to shoplifting to fire hazards and so on and so forth, it gets to the point where you start to get the feeling that every square inch of every store is something of an accident waiting to happen.
Of course, realistically this isn’t necessarily the case and there is such a thing as going OTT when it comes to panicking about the smallest things for no reason. But at the same time, there’s also such a thing as underestimating the importance of quality and comprehensive risk-assessment for the modern retail business, for which traditional risks have over recent years been topped up with dozens of additional 21st century risks.
Along with evaluating a physical store in general, there are so many more things that need to be looked into for the sake of security and loss-prevention. Traditional physical penetration testing is still important, but must be bolstered with a new digital kind of pen testing in order to help thwart the kinds of threats you cannot see right there in front of your eyes.
ePOS Penetration Testing
For example, when any business is using an electronic point of sale system as opposed to an old-school mechanical checkout, there exists a risk of it being hacked. The fact that this has happened to some of America’s biggest national retailers over the past 12 months alone illustrates the prevalence of the problem and of putting preventative measures in place. It’s generally rare for cash to be stolen directly by way of hacking into the ePOS system, but simply by gaining access to your own ePOS, a hacker could easily take the credit card details and personal information of pretty much every customer you’ve ever done business with.
Network System Security Testing
The same also applies to the retailer’s network systems in general as even if there isn’t a state of the art ePOS taking care of business, chances are there will be a computer and network system that’s packed with valuable private data. Even so much as a single computer in a back office hooked up to the Internet can represent a massive security breach and an easy gateway for criminals to hack into the business. Once again, exactly what they do and what they decide to take when they find their way in is something you won’t know until it happens, but in all instances the consequences can be absolutely hideous.
Threat of Internal Security Breach
It’s not only threats from external sources that need to be factored in either – what if an employee of perhaps a guest paying a visit to the business decides to hack in and take off with whatever they find? This often tends to represent one of the biggest of all holes in the security systems of so many businesses for the simple reason that their respective owners assume it will never happen to them. The wider open you leave your business to any kind of attack, the more likely it is that it will be attacked and that the severity of the attack will be quite devastating.
eCommerce Security Checks
If your business happens to operate online as well as with a physical store, you immediately expose yourself to a thousand and one new threats from cyber criminals. These days, eCommerce stores represent some of the most popular and in some cases the easiest targets of all for cyber crooks, who simply by breaching what tend to be very tepid security systems gain access to limitless credit card details and personal data from the store’s customers. In other cases they hack in simply for fun and choose to wipe your site clean, which can lead to the kind of repair bills and downtime that might just put you out of business.
Last but not least, any business that accepts payment cards or digital payments of any kind will always be a target for cyber crooks. The good news is of course that today’s payment systems have the potential to be more robust than ever before, but at the same time millions of businesses are still using out-dated and wholly unsecure payment systems that have huge holes ready for crooks to find their way into.