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Keeping the lights on in retail

Retailers can’t afford downtime; they need to showcase, sell and deliver their goods whenever and wherever their customers want to shop, whether that’s on the high street, in retail parks, through their website or via a smartphone, smartwatch or any other mobile device.

The risk of a cyber-attack disrupting sales or delivery systems could be hugely damaging for any retailer – if consumers can’t buy when they want, they simply go elsewhere. Any breach that means IT systems are shut down indefinitely might result in significant revenue losses and financial costs to a brand. There’s also the risk that customer data is stolen, which will inevitably lead to reputational damage. It can take years for a brand to build its reputation, but one single incident to ruin it in a flash.

With the cost-of-living crisis putting extra pressure on household finances, consumers are cutting back on spending in some areas of the retail market. This means every sale counts – retailers need to be open for business as much as possible.

Financially motivated cybercriminals know that retail chains, which store large amounts of customer data, need to keep their doors open for business every day. This makes them a prime target for ransom fees. If a threat actor were to breach an organisation, steal data and encrypt an IT system (double extortion) with the threat of leaking or selling that data unless a ransom fee is paid, how long could the business operate before going under?

Challenges facing retailers

Economic headwinds, including rising rents, business rates and interest rates and decreasing consumer spending power are just some of the challenges facing companies doing business in the sector today. With more people struggling to pay their bills, shops are seeing more thefts in-store. They can ill afford to fall victim to a malicious ransomware attack or have their own employees, who often know how to navigate internal systems better than cybercriminals, steal data from their employer.

Furthermore, as employees in the sector work in so many locations – in offices, in stores and on the move – and with the high turnover of staff in frontline roles in stores, the risks of individuals clicking on a phishing email are greater than in many other sectors.

Many retailers are quickly moving to the cloud – often to multi-cloud environments – which reduces their fixed costs. However, in this new environment they’re introducing new risks because IT and cyber security teams often find it challenging to keep up with the accelerating rate of change in cloud technology. 

But today a growing number of business leaders are realising that it’s not if an organisation will suffer a cyber-attack, but when. They are also beginning to address the little-discussed problem of insider risks. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, individuals are leaking company data. This can happen because of disgruntled staff members thinking that the company owes them something, departing staff stealing data to take to their new employer, or simply confidential data being emailed to the wrong recipient. Whatever the reason, early prevention is better than a fix when it comes to cyber security and data security.

Frasers Group grows internationally with Microsoft Security

British company Frasers Group, the largest sporting retailer in the UK with almost 1,000 stores, entrusted Quorum Cyber to provide an MDR service to safeguard its collection of iconic brands and its customers who shop with them in more than 20 countries. The retail giant needed a Microsoft-first cyber security partner to support their ambitious growth plans.

Retailers can’t afford to be breached

Time is money for retailers who need to protect their data around the clock.


Portion of employees who admitted undertaking a range of unsecure actions during their work activities and knew that their actions would increase risk to the organisation and undertook the actions anyway, according to Gartner® research


Portion of ransomware incident and recovery engagements in the retail industry - Microsoft Digital Defense Report 2022


Percentage of organisations that have identified breaches or attacks in the last 12 months - UK government 'Cyber security breaches survey 2023’


Percentage of surveyed organisations who have or plan to have a vendor consolidation strategy within the next three years, according to Gartner® research  

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Risks facing retailers today

Some retailers are seen as easy pickings for threat actors looking to make a quick profit.

Complying with the Data Protection Act
Retailers need to comply with the 2018 Data Protection Act 2018, which means securing their customers’ personal data at all times.

Ransomware attacks
Ransomware attacks, including double-extortion and triple-extortion attacks, are increasing across multiple sectors.

Greater number of shopping services online
As more retail services are now online than ever before, there’s a greater risk for phishing, ransomware and malware attacks.

Criminal groups regularly use cheap phishing attacks against employees who are busy serving customers and aren’t always aware of the risks of malicious emails.

‘Weak’ target for threat actors
Focused on other challenges, retailers can be seen to have weaker cyber security than other businesses.

Supply chain vulnerabilities
All retailers depend on a strong supply chain but the more third-party suppliers they have, the more opportunities for threat actors to infiltrate their systems to move up the chain to their intended target.

Shortage of security talent and resources
Sometimes running on tight margins, companies can’t always afford to run in-house security teams or keep up to date with the best cyber security tools to protect their data.

Thousands of endpoints everywhere
Employing thousands of staff working on thousands of endpoints and online devices leads to a much larger attack surface.

Read our latest Threat Intelligence Retail Sector Threat Profile

Cyber Security Services for Retail

Quorum Cyber delivers a wide range of cyber security and data security services for the retail sector, to protect businesses before, during and after any type of cyber security incident or emergency. Our experienced teams have the expertise to help retailers overcome their unique challenges.

Why trust Quorum Cyber to safeguard your business?

As a Microsoft Solutions Partner for Security and member of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA), Quorum Cyber defends more than 150 organisations around the world across all industry sectors. We have over 1,000 years of combined Microsoft and cyber security experience, and offer a comprehensive range of data security and managed and professional cyber security services for businesses of all sizes. We take time to learn about your organisation’s specific challenges and understand which threats are most likely to cause harm to your business so that we can tailor our services to your precise needs.

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Data Security Services for Retail

Data is gold dust in the retail world, so strong data security is crucial. Using the latest Microsoft technologies, our specialists offer tailored services to protect your data and your customers’ data. They can also empower your business to make optimal use of your most precious assets so that you gain valuable insights to achieve a competitive advantage.

Learn more about our services and our four-part data security webinar to see how we can best help you.

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