With the emergence of e-commerce, retailing has become more competitive than ever with the singular objective being to provide customers with goods and services that keep them coming back for more. The operation of retailing has become a science, and information technology plays a large role in it. Batch processing is being replaced by real-time information exchange enabled by a range of network-based applications.
Of course, the increased usage and dependency upon information and the need to gather, analyze, redistribute, store, and manage it from end-to-end includes a responsibility to protect it. Clearly, customer-specific data must be kept confidential. However, it is also essential to ensure the integrity and availability of all of the related data, as well as the networks and systems used to process it—particularly as these increasingly become the lifeblood upon which retailers depend.
IT professionals in the retail industry are using Sourcefire solutions to:
- Support PCI DSS compliance. Batch and real-time exchanges of transaction details with credit card companies and other financial institutions create a link to an environment that is much more tightly controlled, and even regulated. One significant implication is that virtually all merchants who process credit card transactions are subject, at least in part, to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Emphasis in the PCI DSS standard is placed on establishing robust access controls and subsequently being able to monitor and audit for undesirable activities, in particular, by using both host and network intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS).
- Offer a secure online shopping experience. With very few exceptions, it is an absolute necessity that retailers complement their physical stores with an online shopping option. This, of course, means having to deal with the wide range of threats (fraud, worms, viruses, malicious hacking) that an Internet-based storefront brings with it.
- Ensure integrity and availability of a vast array of network-based applications. Increasingly, both achieving operational excellence and ensuring a positive shopping experience are becoming dependent on supporting a plethora of network-based applications (e.g., traffic counting systems, customer loyalty programs, warehouse management systems, transportation management systems, self-service kiosks, in-store employee training). This translates into the need to better ensure the availability, capacity, and performance of associated networks and systems.