Importance of Application Security in the Retail Domain: Existing Challenges & Opportunities
Importance of Application Security in the Retail Domain: Existing Challenges & Opportunities

For retailers in the digital domain, there are numerous challenges as well as opportunities to focus on. As the online retail sector grows, there is a much wider spectrum of application security threats to deal with. Whether it is a web application on your portal or a mobile platform, cyber-criminals are always ready to target precious data. Stealing data can get the hackers ransom or they can sell it on the dark web as is often witnessed in recent times.

Another important thing to know is that hackers don’t differentiate between an online retail startup and a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. With automatic bots carrying out DDOS attacks to various types of phishing and malware attempts, the attackers never rest. Thus, you need a security framework that is real-time, and equally effective every time. For comparatively smaller businesses and start-ups, the risk is growing rapidly, as the following numbers reveal:

  • 43 percent of attackers target small businesses
  • The inability to recover from attacks leads to the closure of nearly 60 percent of small businesses within 6 months of the cyberattack
  • A cyberattack can cost you upwards of $2.2 million a year

How does a Cyber-Attack Affect Retail Businesses?

You may or may not know, but there are plenty of damages that a cyber-attack can cause to your business. These include

  • Loss of vital and confidential data of your customers, employees, vendors, suppliers, and other stakeholders
  • Business downtime causes loss of sales, especially during festive seasons
  • Financial costs of cyberattacks including expenditure on recovery and restructuring of systems
  • Penalties, costs of lawsuits from affected parties
  • Loss of business goodwill
  • Business shut down

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

  1. Adopting a DevSecOps Approach – This approach focuses on the need to identify and fix potential vulnerabilities, right from day one of application development.


  1. Implementation of a Secure SDLC Management Process – Open-source tools might be beneficial as far as cost and speed are concerned, but they also expose your applications to various vulnerabilities. Thus, you need to implement a secure SDLC management process that safeguards such vulnerabilities, monitors them, and regularly patches the software. The adoption of reliable security tools offered by application security experts should also be focused upon. These tools can help your developers ensure the security of the apps without any need to slow down on speed or efficiency.


  1. Using Web Application/Mobile Application Scanners – Round-the-clock monitoring is critical. This is where automated and intelligent application scanners can monitor and track all your digital assets without much human supervision needs.


  1. Invest in Managed Web Applications and API Protection – With dynamic changes to the security environment; it is essential to deploy cutting-edge protection services that can instantly have policies to protect against new and existing vulnerabilities of the applications accurately. Insisting on managed capabilities from the provider is critical for the success of these deployments as businesses will not have the time and ability to invest in building the expertise to maintain and update security policies.


  1. Regular Pen-Testing and Security Audits – Regular pen-testing and security audits are crucial for any retail business. Conducted by certified security experts, these can identify unknown and business logic flows that automated tools won’t. Thus, they strengthen your defenses and also offer recommendations to boost security.


  1. Selecting the Right Security Tools – The choice of application security tools plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of the framework. Thus, you must go for comprehensive, intelligent security tools that are offered as a part of a managed, end-to-end security solution that can transform application security. The ideal security solutions provider would offer scanning tools, pen tests, security audits, next-gen WAF, DDoS protection, false-positive management, patch management, reporting, customizable security, and encryption, and more.

These are some of the key steps alongside precautions such as smart password management, secured logins, access control, email hygiene, etc. It is important to remember that application security for retailers is a never-ending journey and the threat environment keeps changing at every turn of the road. You need to collaborate with a reliable and reputed web application security provider to remain safe on this front and channel your energies toward business growth.

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