Thousands of companies around the globe were affected this week by a major ransomware attack called WannaCry. Ransomware is a type of cyberattack that encrypts data until the user pays a specified fee, and is one of the industry’s top evolving cyberthreats.

As these and other threats continue to proliferate, the Cisco SAFE Threat Defense methodology guides you in thinking about how to secure your retail network before an attack occurs.

Securing Your Store: What’s the Best Approach?

In the digital age, weak security can profoundly damage brand loyalty and critically affect your customers’ trust. These increasingly include creative new assault methods such as the WannaCry attack, which affected banking, healthcare, retail, and many other industries. The great majority of shoppers (86 percent) have said that they will reconsider shopping with a company if it fails to keep their data safe, according to an article from last year’s Retail Dive (April 20, 2016).

Risk management has therefore become a critical part of customer experience. To avoid these challenges, you need to:

  • Protect cardholder, company, and partner data
  • Protect your brand and reputation
  • Mitigate theft and fraud
  • Secure physical and digital assets
  • Simplify regulatory and process compliance

Many retailers believe that security is an enormously complex problem that’s challenging and expensive to solve. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

We’ve developed the SAFE methodology to help simplify your store security. SAFE helps you define and address each threat to the retail branch with corresponding security capabilities, architectures, and designs – guiding you to a complete security solution.

The Cisco SAFE Approach and the Next-Gen DNA Network

SAFE defines a foundation that can help you digitize your stores and corporate offices encompassing security, cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT). It shows you how to make best use of Cisco’s DNA for Retail networking architecture, which makes it simpler to manage each store branch and corporate networks while protecting customer and business data, reducing TCO, and providing deeper business insights. It gives retailers:

  • More effective security – Makes the network into an extended data source for threat visibility (network as a sensor) and to accelerate threat mitigation (network as an enforcer)
  • Better cloud applications experience – Creates a network that automatically adapts to new traffic patterns and optimizes the secure delivery of cloud applications
  • Operational cost savings – Enables centrally managed, policy-based automation of IT across the entire network
  • Business agility – Provides greater business efficiency. Tasks that used to take weeks and require wide IT staff, now take minutes and fewer people
  • IoT scale – The network connects and secures any IoT device through device profiles, on a massive scale
  • Business innovation – Data and analytics on users, devices, applications and locations enable creation and protection of new customer applications and experiences

It’s not just about cardholder data

SAFE-enabled threat defense helps you to identify problems, isolate affected network segments, and patch networks that are under attack as quickly as possible. WannaCry, for example, demonstrated how critical it is for retailers to protect every aspect of the corporate network. As part of the SAFE program, you can also get up-to-the minute information on possible threats through the Cisco Talos intelligence capability. For Talos’ take on WannaCry, read their recent blog post.

Optimizing the Workforce Experience

While the focus today is on customer experience, the heart of that experience lies in providing a well-informed, engaged associate. Even online, 83% of consumers want some form of support during the buying cycle (PR Newswire). In today’s unified commerce environments, retail tech allows the workforce to provide accurate product information, advise on purchases, and offer quick customer help and resolution. This can make all the difference in closing the sale, and just as importantly, assuring repeat business. Associates can also take advantage of collaboration and training capabilities to help optimize associate productivity.

Designing the Secure Store Branch

Using the DNA architecture, SAFE helps you design a strong security solution for each store branch. This includes support for your employees using devices (smartphones, laptops, tablets) that require secure access to the Internet, collaboration services like email and voice, and branch-critical applications. It also encompasses third parties, such as service providers and partners, to provide secure remote access to apps and devices. But, most important of all, it offers security connectivity for shoppers who need guest Internet access within the store and across channels on their phones or tablets.

By mapping the security capability to the security threat, you can design a secure infrastructure for the edge, branch, data center, campus, cloud, and the WAN. This plan also encompasses operational domains such as management, security intelligence, compliance, segmentation, threat defense, and secure services. SAFE solutions have been deployed, tested, and validated to provide guidance, best practices, and configuration steps.

Watch out for my next post, which will describe the SAFE methodology in more detail. In the meantime, take a look at our recent retail security report, “Why Hackers Love Retail—and What You Can Do About It With Cisco SAFE.”

To learn more about Cisco’s ransomware defenses, visit us at www.cisco.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CiscoRetail 


Mary Freeman

No Longer with Cisco