Industry Trends

Today’s Retail Network and Security Requirements

By Fortinet Australia | September 08, 2016

For retailers with many geographically dispersed shops or stores, having secure network connectivity and linking all sites to the head office has become the glue of critical operating processes, such as the Point of Sale (PoS), accounting, inventory control, pricing, customer relationship management applications, and other business services. The in-store store network is vital, yet invisible, to staff and shoppers alike – until it stops working. But when the network goes down, transactions halt, customers go elsewhere, and cash registers stop ringing.

So, what is needed for today’s complete in-store security?

1.    Advanced Threat Protection

Protecting against advanced malware attacks requires a solution that integrates advanced security capabilities throughout the entire network. It requires a solution that integrates a security fabric of collaborative solutions into the network infrastructure itself, eliminating weak links throughout the distributed network, from kiosk to the cloud.

2.    Performance

With an increasing number of endpoints, applications, and higher volumes of data, the network must be able to support the performance demands being placed on it. But at the same time, necessary security functions cannot be permitted to slow down the network. In the highly competitive retail environment, unnecessary delays in the sales process will result in lost customers. The network must maintain stringent levels of performance throughout the course of the day.

3.    A comprehensive in-store network

An in-store network can be considered as an independent entity, but at the same time part of a much larger organism. While connectivity to the main network is a key element, a secure in-store network – supporting both wired and wireless connectivity – is critical for supporting existing applications and enabling new applications and services.

4.    Migration to lower cost public networks

Today’s network planners have more connectivity options than ever before. Traditional leased lines have been largely replaced with higher speed and lower cost options like DSL and MPLS services and wide area Ethernet. However, an even lower cost option is available – broadband Internet access. But leveraging the Internet for mission critical applications requires a robust in-store security solution to prevent data breaches.

5.    Adopting innovative in-store services

E-commerce and e-tailers have changed the face of the retail market. To fight back, traditional retailers have to find ways of improving the retail experience and promoting increased customer loyalty and sales. In-store technology is a key enabler for these initiatives. While wireless technology provides the flexibility to enable key initiatives, if not implemented correctly it is also a convenient entry point for the cybercriminal.

6.    Supporting the PCI-DSS compliance

With in-store networks carrying payment card transactions, there is a mandatory requirement to satisfy Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance requirements. And because security requirements are constantly changing, the in-store network must be able to evolve as PCI-DSS standards evolve.

In order to remain competitive in today’s changing world, retailers will need to find innovative solutions to create value, reduce operating costs, mitigate risks, and maintain customer confidence and loyalty throughout the business. For retailers with many geographically dispersed shops or stores, secure in-store networks and network connectivity linking all sites to the head office is critical to business operating processes. When the network is breached, sensitive customer data can be compromised, with serious consequences to the business.

The scalability of the Fortinet solution supports the evolution and growth of a retailer’s IT and network infrastructure so that they can easily and cost-effectively tailor the solution to meet their specific needs. The combination of world-class network security, connectivity, and central management allows a retailer to have robust security for network resources no matter where data is stored or accessed. Retailers can easily deploy and centrally manage the solution throughout the distributed network, from kiosk to superstore. This helps supporting multi-channel operations and innovative services, such as presence analytics and customer Internet access, as well as providing a high security posture and the tools to maintain compliance with PCI-DSS.

With Fortinet, retailers can have a world-class security solution that is scalable, cost-effective, and easy to manage, which supports the growth of new applications and wireless networking in-store without affecting the end user experience, increasing deployment costs, or increasing staff burdens.