LP Magazine EU










Fear of cyber

Fears over cyber security and the digital skills shift have topped the list of technology concerns for UK retail small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to a new report.

A survey of technology decision-makers in SMEs with 50 to 500 employees by OGL Computer across a range of industries found that the top worries centred around cyber security attacks (65 per cent), keeping pace with competitors (59 per cent) and a lack of technology-savvy workers (41 per cent).

The findings coincide with The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fine of £500,000 against DSG Retail Limited after a cyber attack compromised a ‘point of sale’ computer system.

An ICO investigation found that an attacker installed malware on 5,390 tills at DSG Retail Limited’s Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores between July 2017 and April 2018, collecting personal data during the nine-month period before the attack was detected.

The company’s failure to secure the system allowed unauthorised access to 5.6 million payment card details used in transactions and the personal information of approximately 14 million individuals, including full names, postcodes, e-mail addresses and failed credit checks from internal servers.

The vast majority of retail sector SMEs confirmed that they were increasingly worried, with 88 per cent more fearful of a cyber attack or data breach, while 94 per cent confirmed that they had suffered a data breach or cyber attack.

In addition, 76 per cent of retail sector respondents agree that they are nervous about moving from an on-premise IT infrastructure to a cloud infrastructure due to fears around data security.

In order to keep up with the rising cyber threat, 92 per cent of SMEs are planning to spend more on cyber security and IT in 2020.

However, whilst new technology brings security challenges, many retail SMEs were optimistic about its potential to transform their operations, with the top five technologies being robotics (71 per cent), artificial intelligence (59 per cent), voice (59 per cent), unified communications (59 per cent) and 5G (53 per cent).

With the retail landscape beginning its transition to digital and online channels, the survey found that increasing use of data and insights, cyber security and increasing use of AI are also key priorities for technology investment, with 41 per cent of respondents rating them as priorities respectively.

However, while keeping up with competitors (59 per cent) and a lack of technology-savvy workers (41 per cent) were keeping retailers up at night, 71 per cent of retail decision-makers also said that technology is set to provide gains for their business through use of applications such as Microsoft Office 365, Teams and SharePoint.

Colin Dennis, head of technical operations at OGL Computer, commented: “Cyber security has been front of mind for SME customers for some time now, as awareness of cyber-risks continues to rise.

“Proactive management of IT requirements is in many ways connected to this trend, as businesses of all sizes look to compliance requirements as well as asset protection and disaster recovery.”


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