All I need this season is cyber security

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John Trobough, president, Narus
John Trobough, president, Narus

In today's e-commerce industry, November and December are the biggest months for online sales. According to a report by comScore, online holiday purchases through these months reached $42.2 billion in 2012, up 14 percent from the previous year. This number is only expected to rise in 2013; in fact, shop.org predicts online holiday shopping sales will reach $82 billion.

With this year's holiday season here, online retailers should be focused on preparing their networks for increased traffic as well as protection from cyber threats. To effectively respond quickly and take action in order to safeguard their networks, retailers must be able to detect when data is leaving the network or when malicious information is infiltrating the network.

For starters, not knowing the expected behavior of your network limits your ability to know when something is wrong. It's important for IT administrators to have full visibility into the network. For example, they need to know the average number of devices connected to Wi-Fi at any given moment. Otherwise, you're the perfect target for a cyber-attack.

While visibility gives you the ability to determine and understand when something isn't quite right on the network, context is what enables you to determine what network activity should look like and how it fits together. Once you notice something is off, it's time to consider what's causing the abnormality. By developing a fuller, richer understanding of the situation, you will be better able to identify discrepancies and respond.

Now that you've identified a problem, what's next? Sometimes it's easier to resolve the problem by putting a tool in place that addresses the specific issue at hand. However, using a myriad of tools from different vendors that have varied approaches and components can lead to system failures. You need to have a holistic view of security and examine the data collectively in order to be successful.

However, with the plethora of data on the network today, it's challenging to determine where to implement the appropriate security measures. The data must be presented in a fashion that is easily interpreted and actionable after quick analysis. With a shortage of analysts, how do organizations analyze the data efficiently? The way data is presented – data visualization – has become more important than ever to ensure IT experts can easily spot problems and implement the appropriate security measures.

With more consumers preferring online shopping, retailers need to be diligent against cyber threats which continue to increase in scale, strength and sophistication. Ensure your network is prepared for the holidays by preventing cyber threats.

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