A major issue confronting retail grocers in 2015 is protecting customer data and payment information. Data security is critical to protecting a company’s point-of-sale systems and information assets, and more importantly, shoppers expect it whenever they enter the check-out lane.
Right now, total data security is a goal — not yet a reality. But solutions are in the pipeline, and they couldn’t be coming at a better time.
The impact of data hacking on consumers has been huge. In 2013, more than 550 million people had their identities stolen, according to Symantec. The Target and Home Depot data breaches grabbed headlines for the magnitude and extent of stolen data. But, most people might be surprised to learn that data security incidents occur more often at financial institutions (34%), than retail merchants (10.8%), according to a Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.
Despite the bad headlines, there are reasons to be encouraged that improved security solutions are becoming available. After years of relative indifference to the problem, consumers now demand assurance that their personal identifiable information is protected. As a result, companies are investing in additional resources to find solutions. This energy, in turn, is fueling innovation to counter the sophisticated strategies of hackers.
For example, First Data, an industry partner with the National Grocers Association, has developed a data security solution that is of particular relevance to the grocery industry. TransArmor is a payment card security system that combines the flexibility of encryption with random-number tokenization to protect merchants and their customers from the consequences of a payment card data breach. (Tokenization is the security solution behind the new Apple Pay mobile app.) Mobile payment systems are also beginning to emerge that perform the dual function of protecting customer data, while limiting the impact of swipe fees.
Retailers already go to great lengths to prevent data breaches, but effective merchant solutions are on the horizon that will put hackers out of business.