Thursday, March 5, 2015

Data Security a Top Priority for Retail CIOs in 2015

In our increasingly connected world, company data breaches are widely publicized and talked about across multiple media and social outlets. This is especially true when a breach takes place at businesses in the retail industry. Particularly with sensitive information such as credit card numbers, consumers can become extremely upset with a business when their personal information is at risk. A data breach not only hurts a company’s image, but also creates customer loss and distrust. It inevitably takes a lot of time and money for a company to rectify the situation in all aspects.

A new survey revealed that after data breaches at firms like Home Depot and Target, retail CIOs are almost unanimous in agreeing that data security is the top priority for 2015.This survey, produced by Forrester Research and the National Retail Federation (NRF), concluded that 97 percent of retail CIOs rank efforts to increase cybersecurity defense in their top five items to accomplish this year. This comes as no surprise since Forrester projects that at least 60 percent of business will experience a data breach that exposes personal information this year alone. 

Additionally, many CIOs are taking the high profile data breaches that took place in 2014 as a lesson that no business will be left untargeted. The survey also found that an effort to improve corporate governance within the company is a top concern with 78 percent of retail CIO stating that this issue is in their top five internal priorities.

Budget will continue to be a challenge for any CIO as monetary restrictions are still limiting efforts to fight cybercrime.  Of the retail CIOs surveyed, 40 percent stated that they expect to work with the same or an even lower budget this year, while 34 percent expect increases of less than 10 percent. Many CIOs experience issues with the ability to use existing investments to address new business requirements and lead new innovation as well as the difficulty in pursuing new technology initiatives while working within a tight budget.

The survey also identified other key issues of top concern amongst retail CIOs, including integrating multiple channels of commerce, spending too much money on maintaining legacy systems, retaining and hiring quality IT staff, and tapping into big datasets to glean useful business insights. Considering all of these factors, it is important for retail CIOs in particular to become more responsive and committed to safeguarding consumer data than ever before.