Data Protection in the retail industry involves the process of safeguarding important company, employee, customer, and other valued information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, inspection, recording, corruption, or destruction. It further includes those measures necessary to detect, document, and counter such threats.

Information is a critical asset within today’s retail enterprises, and is a vital component for all strategic business objectives. Change, growth and competition have beckoned for systems that make us more efficient, and technology has helped us to respond in a big way. As a result of these innovations, retail companies have become stronger, faster, and more cost effective. But while this has led to many important business revelations, that same dependence also poses certain business risks.

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When it comes to protecting and managing data throughout the retail industry, we are facing a landscape that has changed dramatically and continues to evolve on a daily basis. Critical data no longer rests safely in fortified data centers. Instead, that information is scattered throughout the organization, across remote office networks, and often on employee laptops and hand-held devices. Whether that information is in storage or in transit, efforts must be made to ensure data is protected at all times.

Security protection such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, antivirus software, virtual private networks (VPNs) and other protection tools are critical to the effective fortification of company systems. However, these technologies are merely components of a more inclusive and complex infrastructure necessary to protect and support the integrity of business processes that would include data protection policies, access controls, defense in-depth, sound retention and destruction standards, training and awareness programs, and other data security tools, programs and practices designed to keep protection efforts current and effective.

While companies are currently spending millions to secure critical information intrusions that result in compromised data are on the rise and more significant than ever. Whether the result of accidental and situational exposures or deliberate attacks, these threats can directly result in the interruption or collapse in our information systems. This may also result in data breaches that can expose private and confidential information; leading to devastating outcomes for our customers, our employees, and our business.

Privacy and protection of information are paramount to the success of any business. Every source of critical data must be secured and defended in order to maintain the trust, confidence and conviction necessary to operate a successful organization. As a consequence, the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our information systems must be protected at all times. Data protection has become a critical issue, and is considered a core aspect of many loss prevention programs.

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