Keeping business secure and flexible in vulnerable times
Posted on by cassie
With the current circumstances forcing the global population to move rapidly towards a digital socialisation model and embrace distance shopping and working, there have been some significant lessons related to security and flexibility. In this article, GOC Retail’s IT expert Daniel Watson provides insight on the security risks and strategies in the current digital ecosystem.
Rapid transition has increased Security Risks
During the early weeks of the Covid 19 outbreak online threats rose by 600% according to Cloudflare, a leading online security firm. What makes this more concerning is the social distancing requirements and the rapid shift to working from home has meant very fast and sometimes less considered modifications to the traditional office network.
“What I saw was a quick shift for IT managers to make sure that their once-secure office network was now readily accessible from any device and anywhere” Daniel continues, “I worked with a couple of our customers to ensure that employees were able to continue working even with store closures, but it was a tricky balance to ensure a sufficient layer of security without overcomplicating and annoying users”.
Security is a Team Effort by IT and Employees
The biggest challenge with digital security is that hackers and phishing attacks come in all shapes and sizes, and it is not just the IT Manager who needs to remain vigilant. Every user on a network and every email mailbox is a potential entry point of attack, particularly as vulnerabilities are much easier to exploit with unsuspecting users vs directly attacking any infrastructure. “I have seen a 40% increase of phishing attempts on our individual email users, whereas our server infrastructure has not seen such an increase.”.
As a company GOC Retail had already properly prepared themselves for a ‘working from home’ ecosystem. As Daniel says, “We focus our attention on the customer – which means it is important to us to always be available. Because our customers operate globally, we’ve always had our solutions setup in a way that means we can work anywhere and anytime. In particular, this meant we had no downtime in the recent transition, nor did we have any loss of functionality as you might see in some offices with VPN connections and internal servers.”
“We have worked closely with our people during this time of increased online security threat. The first action we took was increased communication with every single employee about security as a priority, showing them graphs of the attack levels, and highlighting that the unwanted 1-2 emails which slip through are only a tiny percentage of what is sent. Along with our regular admin threat monitoring, we are continuing to educate all staff on best-practice security behaviours. This has meant they have all been engaged in the importance of taking ownership for security.”
Security and certainty with SaaS
Daniel talks about why GOC Retail relies on cloud-based SaaS infrastructure, “A massive contributor to our flexibility and to scalability (both up and down) is SaaS infrastructure. SaaS tools have allowed us to be versatile and adaptable as a company. We know our business and technology strengths, so we offload the infrastructure activities of our technology (like maintaining networks, server cabinets and fixing infrastructure issues) to businesses like Microsoft, Atlassian and Amazon for whom this is their core business. They give us the framework and tools for more secure service for both us and our customers.”
SaaS has Delivered Business Continuity and Scalability to our Customers
In addition to the SaaS environment we rely on internally, GOC Retail also provides SaaS solutions for customers. As Daniel points out, “We have not seen any negative impact to these SaaS services for our customers. The same quality of service has been maintained throughout the crisis. Critically we have been working to further support our customers by restructuring their SaaS environments to provide significant cost savings by taking measures to reduce the capacity of store connections (while stores are closed) and scaling up the capacity for the web integrations to meet the increased demand.
In particular, comments Daniel, “A great example of this, is a customer who I worked with just before the crisis to move them onto a SaaS environment. They emailed me last week to thank us because it meant they were able to easily redeploy store staff to remote online service roles to help cope with the increased demand there.”
Plan for the Future
The digital challenges during the pandemic exposed the importance of flexibility and security. Retailers who managed these challenges best relied on robust SaaS solutions. Moving from an on-premise solution to a SaaS solution to take advantage of the extra security, lower running costs and overall lower headaches means you can focus on your core business – serving your customers effectively and efficiently.
GOC Retail Technical Architect
Daniel Watson is a multi-faceted retail technology expert who blends his extensive IT, integration and retail experience to deliver the best possible outcome for customers. If you would like to speak to Daniel, or anyone at GOC Retail to learn more, you can reach us here.