Retail Data Breaches: How to Secure Customer Data With DSPM

Data Security
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Last Updated: 
May 28, 2024
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David Stuart
Senior Director, Product Marketing
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In 2023, the average cost of a retail data breach reached $2.96 million, with the retail sector representing 6% of global data breaches, a rise from 5% in the prior year. 

Consequently, retail now ranks as the 8th most frequently targeted industry in cyber attacks, climbing from 10th place in 2022. According to the Sophos State of Ransomware in Retail report, ransomware affected 69% of retail enterprises in 2023. Nearly 75% of these ransomware incidents led to data encryption, marking an increase from 68% and 54% in the preceding two years.

Yet, these breaches aren't merely a concern for retailers alone; they pose a severe threat to customer confidence at large. 

The need for retailers to focus on data security is crucial since the retail sector serves such a large community (and therefore is a huge target for fraud, account compromise, etc.).  Retailers, increasingly conducting business online, are subject to evolving privacy and credit card regulations, to protect consumers. One compromise or breach event can prove disastrous to the customer trust that retailers may have built over years.  

With the evolving cyber threats, the proliferation of cloud computing, and the persistent risk of human error, retailers confront a multifaceted security landscape. Retailers should take proactive measures, and gain a deeper understanding of the potential risks in order to properly harden their defenses.

The year 2024 had just begun when VF Corporation, a global apparel and footwear giant, experienced a significant breach. This incident served as a stark reminder of the far-reaching consequences of ransomware attacks in the retail industry. Approximately 35 million individuals, including employees, customers, and vendors, were affected. Personal information such as names, addresses, and Social Security numbers fell into the hands of malicious actors, emphasizing the urgent need for retailers to secure sensitive data.

How to Secure Customer Data

Automatically Discover, Classify and Secure All Customer Data

Automatically discovering, classifying, and securing all customer data is essential for businesses today. Sentra offers a comprehensive retail data security solution, uncovering sensitive customer data such as personally identifiable information (PII), cardholder data, payment account information, and order details across both known and unknown cloud data stores. 

With Sentra's Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) solution, no sensitive data is left undiscovered; the platform provides extensive coverage of data assets, custom data classes, and detailed cataloging of tables and objects. This not only ensures compliance but also supports data-driven decision-making through safe collaboration and data sharing. As a cloud-native solution, Sentra offers full coverage across major platforms like AWS, Azure, Snowflake, GCP, and Office 365, as well as on-premise file shares and databases. Your cloud data remains within your environment, ensuring you retain control of your sensitive data at all times.

Comply with Data Security and Privacy Regulations

Ensuring compliance with data security and privacy regulations is paramount in today's business landscape. With Sentra’s DSPM solution, you can streamline the process of preparing for security audits concerning customer and credit card/account data. Sentra’s platform efficiently identifies compliance discrepancies, enabling swift and proactive remediation measures.

You can also simplify the translation of requirements from various regulatory frameworks such as PCI-DSS, GDPR, CCPA, DPDPA, among others, using straightforward rules and policies. For instance, you'll receive notifications if regulated data is transferred between regions or to an insecure environment. 

Furthermore, our system detects specific policy violations, such as uncovering PCI-DSS violations that indicate classified information, including credit cards and bank account numbers, being publicly accessible or located outside of a PCI compliant environment. Finally, we generate comprehensive compliance reports containing all necessary evidence, including sensitive data categories, regulatory measures, security posture, and the status of relevant regulatory standards.

Mitigate Supply Chain Risks and Emerging Threats

Addressing supply chain risks and emerging threats is critical for safeguarding your organization. Sentra leverages real-time threat monitoring, Data Detection and Response (DDR) to prevent fraud, data exfiltration, or breaches, thereby reducing downtime and ensuring the security of sensitive customer data.

Sentra’s DSPM solution offers automated detection capabilities to alert you when third parties gain access to sensitive account and customer data, empowering you to take immediate action. By implementing least privilege access based on necessity, we help minimize supply chain risks, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access sensitive information. 

Additionally, Sentra’s DSPM enables you to enforce security posture and retention policies, thereby mitigating the risks associated with abandoned data. You'll receive instant alerts regarding suspicious data movements or accesses, such as those from unknown IP addresses, enabling you to promptly investigate and respond. In the event of a breach, our solution facilitates swift evaluation of its impact and enables you to initiate remedial actions promptly, thereby limiting potential damage to your organization.

David Stuart is Senior Director of Product Marketing for Sentra, which specializes in DSPM, where he is responsible for product and launch planning, content creation, and analyst relations. Dave is a 20+ year security industry veteran having held product and marketing management positions at industry luminary companies such as Symantec, Sourcefire, Cisco, Tenable, and ZeroFox. Dave holds a BSEE/CS from University of Illinois, and an MBA from Northwestern Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

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