By Aimee Chanthadavong

Long before the internet came along the only concern retailers had when it came to security was protecting their physical store from theft.

But in the current day as retailers have had to expand themselves to be a multi-channel retailer in order to remain resilient during changing times, security has to form part of this new model. So now retail security also encompasses web security and data security.

Gerry Tucker, Websense ANZ regional director, told RetailBiz retail security is no longer just about protecting the products themselves but the brand as well.

“It’s about having a brand and protecting it. People trust brands and fundamentally people will buy from you because there’s this level of comfort and for that forms brand loyalty. But if you go losing customers’ personal information then that trust can be lost too,” he said.

According to Tucker, the importance of brand security has particularly grown in the last three to four year, which is reflective of the uptake of online retailing – a place where consumers often give away “too much [personal] information” without being aware of the risks.

But while the risks of operating a retail business appear to be a lot higher than the days before the internet, there are also greater opportunities for retailers.

“If retailers can take advantage of technology that allows them to operate securely they are able to take advantage of information they never could previously,” Tucker said.

“There’s security issues related to one-to-one marketing but if you can narrow down on how to protect the large flow of customer data then retailers have increased their chances to be able to deliver specific, targeted messages to customers.”

No doubt, mobile devices have also changed the retail landscape, creating the BYOD trend, as well as seeing retailers offer Wi-Fi to customers while they are in-store. These, however, also increase potential risks for retailers when it comes to web security.

“Regardless of what needs to be protected, retailers need to understand what those threats are and from there devise a strategy on how they can integrate security as part of their business,” Tucker said.