Friday, June 21, 2024

PH retailers warned on vulnerability of POS systems

As more and more Philippines companies — particularly those belonging to the retail sector — continue to embrace digital transformation, a cybersecurity plan should also be in place as retail firms make that online shift.

Fortinet highlights global position in Secure SD-WAN business

The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to put pressure on global and local companies to “transform” to remain competitive. However, this transformation should also be made with a solid cybersecurity strategy, according to cybersecurity firm Fortinet.

Louie Castaneda, country manager of Fortinet Philippines, said that with retail shifting much of its business online, many have considered adopting software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) technology to get the high-speed connectivity they need for their various POS systems and applications.

The executive added that this new solution, however, may “open” the business networks of retails firms “to new vulnerabilities and threats and that retailers need to find a better way to secure their network environment.”

Napoleon Castillo, manager of systems engineering at Fortinet, said retail firms continue to face the challenges of digital transformation, including managing risks and compliance; having end-to-end visibility, and operational efficiency.

On top of these challenges, Castillo said retail firms must also address cybersecurity issues. One very common issue is data security: data stored in retail firms’ point-of-sale (POS) devices and in the cloud are “a common and lucrative target for cybercriminals.”

So what can Philippine retailers do? According to Fortinet, “for retailers to achieve security proficiency, maintain PCI compliance, and stay up to date with ever-changing data privacy regulations, their information technology (IT)T teams require extensive visibility and control across environments.”

Considering the number of devices and POS systems dispersed across store locations, it can be easy for security teams to lose track of what they’re meant to protect – this is why end-to-end visibility must be achieved early on, and continuously maintained, in any retail cybersecurity plan, the company said.

This requires an integrated security fabric that establishes consistent enforcement across the entire attack surface; it should also enable centralized and consolidated management and control, even when it comes to the largest distributed retail networks.

But what about cost? Castaneda said it will depend on the requirement of a local retailer. The executive said local retailers can start “small.” Perhaps they can secure a few servers or secure a subscription-based security plan, he added.

Fortinet further said “the evolving nature of technology and changing consumer expectations is a constant — something retailers quite simply must embrace or avoid falling behind.”

For businesses to survive in this new era, they must adapt and accept that their success ultimately hinges on how well they can utilize digital technology in its many forms, the company noted.

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