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This content is taken from the RMIT University's online course, Business Futures: Understanding Omni-channel Retailing and Supply Chains. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds As with all online operations, omni-channels are exposed to multiple cyber risks that could undermine their integrity and functionality. The proliferation of cloud-based platforms, smart mobile devices, and exponential growth of data transmitted by omni-channel players has produced the perfect storm. Businesses are increasingly moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud, with data transactions stored remotely, and in many cases, they are managed by a third party IT vendor. Such data can be sensitive and personal. Therefore, it is important that firms operating online understand the cyber risk involved. With increasing connectivity between smart devices, users are more vulnerable and prone to cyber crimes such as hijacking and data leaks. These invisible background hacks mean that omni-channels are at risk.

Skip to 1 minute and 6 seconds Cyber crime can disrupt or even disable businesses. Online systems can crash and services become unavailable. Typical is Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS for short. DDoS is a simultaneous attack on a system by a number of machines connected to the internet. In recent years, there have been many cases of commercial and governmental web portals disabled by DDoS attacks. It is clear that multiple touch points make omni-channels quite vulnerable to cyber attacks. Research has suggested a few cyber security guidelines. Firstly, protecting multiple points of exposure- smart devices create extra touch points that must be secure. Second, enhancing security visibility- IT departments need to understand that cyber security no longer is limited to their own infrastructure.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 seconds They need to be aware of who is online, from where, with what device, and for how long. Lastly, continually addressing new risks- cyber criminals are becoming inventive. Increasingly, they are using sophisticated techniques to attack new points of connectivity. With the proliferation of omni-channel retailing, it is critical for businesses to stay ahead of cyber risks.

Cyber risks and information security

As omni-channels depend on an integrated online platform, the cyber crimes of concern involve data theft, fraud and various privacy breaches which create a “perfect storm” for disrupting omni-channel operations. The video also discusses the changing nature of cybercrime, which extends to other activities that disable organisational and business operations. Online business in e-commerce has become more vulnerable to hacking and a key focus of the video is to discuss the impacts of cyber attacks on omni-channels.

Watch the BBC video ‘BBC: How cyber criminals attack websites’. It explains the magnitude of the disruption Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks cause to servers across the world.

Next read Richard Prime’s article ‘A retailers guide to cyber security’ which poses a couple of solutions relating to cyber security in the retailing industry.


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This video is from the free online course:

Business Futures: Understanding Omni-channel Retailing and Supply Chains

RMIT University