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Retailers Embracing Zero Trust to Strengthen Their Network Security Posture

  • Independent survey highlights the security risks raised by growing migration to cloud environments and a permanently distributed workforce

Retailers have not only had to contend with the business disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have also experienced increased security risks in the work-from-anywhere environment that has accelerated their transition to the cloud. Furthermore, communications between security operations staff have become more complex, with network downtime also increasing. This is according to independent research sponsored by FireMon.

“They’re moving to the cloud, they’re automating security and compliance processes, and they’re adopting new zero trust architectures – all in the service of increasing agility and responsiveness.”

The independent survey of cybersecurity leaders at retail businesses across the United States and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, highlights how security remains a crucial component as these organizations take steps towards digital transformation and transitioning more of their operations to the cloud. With 43% of respondents indicating that the pandemic has resulted in them accelerating their IT infrastructure transition to the cloud, network security teams are dealing with increased complexity at the same time rates of change are increasing significantly. These changes have brought about a rush to implement a zero trust architecture, with 81% of respondents affirming that they have already implemented or will do so in the next two years. In support of this is the popularity of utilizing a SASE platform. The majority (80%) of respondents are in alignment that achieving zero trust, reducing cost and complexity, and enabling a predictable user experience are the forces driving their network security posture in 2022.

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“The modern, digitally-enabled retailer cannot afford to experience any disruption whether that is caused by network downtime or cybersecurity incidents. In the wake of the pandemic, customers have higher expectations than ever before when it comes to fulfilling their online orders. They want a consistent, integrated, and smooth shopping experience. If a retailer cannot provide that, it is a case of moving over to a competitor who can. This indicates just how important effective cybersecurity has become for retailers. Many are managing clients at a global level with the attack surface increasing exponentially because of that,” said Tim Woods, VP of Technology Alliances at FireMon.

The importance of bolstering cyber defenses is evident considering how 89% of retailers said unplanned downtime to business-critical and customer-facing applications disrupted operations over the last nine months. Given the evolving cyberthreat landscape when it comes to e-commerce threats for retail stores with an online presence, most organizations (63%) said that having the best security technology in place is essential, even if that means using multiple vendors. To meet an increasingly dynamic business environment retail IT teams are looking to security automation, with 98% of respondents stating its importance to ensuring overall security, compliance, and team efficiency.

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“We’ve seen our retail customers at the forefront of security innovation as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Woods. “They’re moving to the cloud, they’re automating security and compliance processes, and they’re adopting new zero trust architectures – all in the service of increasing agility and responsiveness.”

To discuss more of the insights in the independent research, FireMon will be hosting a Black Hat Lunch & Learn session. In this session, the company will discuss the retail security environment in the context of the rapid digital transformation taking place. This will be followed by a view of the practical steps companies are taking to manage the security of their systems better to safeguard not only their brand but also the customer experience.

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