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Guest View: Seizing opportunities in the Great Asia-Pacific retail land grab

Lee Field, Head of IT Consulting, Asia-Pacific, Verizon Terremark | March 19, 2014
How to tap into 453 million digital buyers in Asia-Pacific and grasp your share of the US$11.8 trillion retail sales pie.

2.       Securing information and transactions

According to PwC[6], before the advent of the Internet, consumers made more than 70% of their purchase decisions in-store, based on observable and tangible incentives such as physical display of products, packaging characteristics, store ambience, advantageous lighting, strategic display of behavioral triggers, and price options, among others. A customer's choice of products was only limited by the range of products offered in the store, and no purchases were ever abandoned in the middle or at the end of the shopping experience.

For better or worse, consumers are now empowered like never before. Armed with the ability to shop anywhere, anytime, across both physical and virtual channels, and with the power of social media amplifying their opinions, consumers now master their own consumption journey. More than just passive receivers of goods and services, they are vested partners in the process of satisfying their wants and needs at each and every step of their shopping experience.

Beyond pursuing aggressive expansion to be the first to market, retailers also need to effectively manage and protect their IT infrastructures. Whether a retail market is emerging or maturing, traditional or online, the chances of securing a sale are increased when a customer's buying experience is seamless, effortless, and secure.

In fact, unsecure and unreliable transactions represent a major obstacle to all retailers, not just online ones. As KPMG's latest survey on mobile payments in Asia points out[7], whether it is credit card information retention at a point of purchase or data transfers hacked by malicious third-parties after an online purchase, electronic and mobile modes of payment remain less trusted despite being more and more widely used.

According to Verizon's 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report[8], 99% of attacks on retail were financially motivated. While attackers go after all kinds of valuable data - intellectual property, market intelligence, financial records, and more - in retail, 74% of breaches compromised payment data.

Asia-Pacific, in particular, stood out in Akamai's Q2 2013 State of the Internet report[9], which identified China, Indonesia, India, Taiwan, and Hong Kong among the top 10 countries from which attack traffic originates. Its transaction security report[10] confirms that account takeover attacks, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), and credit card fraud are indeed on the rise.

Most security software providers focus on protecting the servers that host data centers and Web applications after an attack has breached the system and its defense mechanisms have detected the threat. But few have the capability to identify and block possible threats close to the source, long before they reach the data center and compromise sensitive data.


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