What Retail Can Learn from Sony
Guest blog provided by business technology expert Carl Mazzanti
The recent data security breach suffered by Sony Pictures Entertainment highlights a couple of lessons that retailers know but might revisit in the current digital era.
Sony took some risks in producing a movie that mocks a current world leader, and a dangerous one at that. Brands take risks all the time. It’s a way to get attention and stand out from the crowd. And, Sony certainly has gotten a lot of attention for “The Interview”.
The lesson is that, in spite of Sony’s stated concern for the safety of the public when they withdrew the picture, the public overwhelmingly supported them in taking the risk. Freedom of speech is encoded in our DNA. Commercial freedom of speech not excepted, unless we dare to offend an underprivileged class.
Retailers take note. The public will support you in a crisis if you become associated with a basic American right like freedom of speech, even if you take a risk that makes you a target of some bad guys. Merchandising experts advise retailers to take risks to create the ‘wow factor’ with displays to engage customers emotionally. Sony certainly got an emotional response.
During the investigation, one theory postulated that disgruntled former Sony employees were responsible for the hack. While this was later disproved, the really important point here is that people are the weakest link in a company's data security. Major corporations hire security consultants to test their security profile for weak spots. Invariably they find ways to compromise the data by going through employees. They dress up as a repairmen to gain access to a data center, or trick employees into giving up credentials.
Retailers know that employees pose risks such as employee theft. The Sony saga tells us that we must apply that knowledge to data security. Employees must be considered as the primary data security risk when data security systems are designed.
Fortunately, retailers can employ some powerful data security technologies to mitigate employee risk. Data loss prevention (DLP) technology helps by preventing sensitive data from leaving the network, via email or otherwise. Desktop virtualization technology lets employees work from anywhere while keeping valuable data on a secured server.
As we learned from President Ronald Regan during the cold war, we must “Trust, but verify,” an old Russian proverb he used to describe the need for transparency in political relationships. Today, we can use it as a guideline for establishing trust between an employer and employee.
Retailers can effectively apply the “Trust, but verify” concept to develop a first-rate data security strategy. Managers can trust employees, as a whole, while establishing transparency and accountability in the workplace.
What are your retail data security questions and concerns? Contact eMazzanti Technologies or call Carl Mazzanti at 201-360-4400 for answers.
About eMazzanti Technologies
eMazzanti’s team of trained, certified IT experts rapidly deliver cloud and mobile solutions, multi-site implementations, 24×7 outsourced network management, remote monitoring and support to increase productivity, data security and revenue growth for clients ranging from professional services firms to high-end global retailers.
About Carl Mazzanti
Carl Mazzanti is a top-tier IT guy and frequent public speaker camped on the leading edge of business technology. Carl labors passionately to see his clients prosper, and his firm manages over 400 active accounts ranging from professional services firms to high-end global retailers. eMazzanti has been recognized as a 2012 and 2013 Microsoft Partner of the Year and has made the Inc 5000 list five years running.