‘Tis the Season: Protecting the Point-of-Sale for the Holidays

By Jef Graham December 20, 2016

The holidays are meant to be a time of getting together with friends and family, and appreciating the people in your life. But, they’ve also come to mean something else: high-end price tags and high-end risks. Retailers project an estimated $91.6 billion in sales between Thanksgiving and December, 11 percent (or $9.1 billion) higher than 2015’s end-of-season total. That not only brings a smile to retailers’ lips, but to those of cybercriminals as well.

It wasn’t that long ago that data breaches were associated primarily with major enterprises and government agencies. Retailers and their customers were seemingly too small potatoes for cybercriminals’ attention. That all came to a dramatic halt with the Target 2013 holiday data breach, which exposed to the public what hackers had known all along: how weak retail security practices actually are. The result: Target suffered huge losses and is still working to reclaim its’ customers trust.

‘Tis the Season: Protecting the Point-of-Sale for the HolidaysToday, shoppers are more concerned about their privacy and taking greater precautions to protect themselves from cyberattacks. But that vigilance is often for naught, since the retail point-of-sale, an element completely outside of consumers’ control, is especially vulnerable to massive cyberattacks. Oracle learned that the hard way this past summer, when its Micros POS system was breached, putting over 300,000 customer sites in jeopardy. And, although retailers are increasingly turning to encryption and other endpoint security protections to cut off the potential for attacks like these, these methods still neglect the pathways that connect these endpoints – namely, the public internet. While swiping a card in-person at Target or Best Buy is not as risky as buying online, the transaction is open to theft if the point-of-sale is still hooked up along the public internet.

Take the Public Internet Out of the Equation

As long as businesses are connecting to either their customers or their partners through the public internet, holiday transactions will always entail a serious degree of security risks. When you mix in the influx of shoppers that come with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season, those security risks can quickly make the leap from potential problem to a catastrophe in waiting, and leave thousands if not millions of customers compromised. Just ask Target.

In the retail industry, trust and profitability go hand in hand. That is why retailers must invest in private direct connections with their point-of-sale providers. The public internet is becoming increasingly vulnerable to hackers and other criminal elements. To protect yourself and your users during both the holidays and all year round, take the public internet out of the equation entirely with direct connections.

Console is a single-click, software-driven direct connection platform that is building private, secure and easy-to-manage interconnections between businesses and their mission-critical SaaS and cloud partners. With 170 PoPs in 20 countries, Console’s global ecosystem is helping more enterprises to remove themselves and their customers from the perils of the public internet.

Want to learn more? Take a look at the Console app, or sign up today for a free 30-day trial.

 

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About Jef Graham

As the CEO of Console Connect, Inc., Jef is focused on rapidly accelerating Console’s growth and scaling its services globally to meet the needs of enterprises that want to connect to their business-critical partners, SaaS providers and cloud apps with simple, secure and reliable direct connections. He has more than 30 years of global experience in the computer/networking industry, and has spent over 20 years as an EVP & CEO in a number of diverse businesses, ranging from large, public companies to privately-held startups. Read more