Cloud for Retail

As innovative retailers seek new ways to enhance the customer experience, reduce risk of data theft, and maintain PCI compliance, they turn to cloud computing and cybersecurity to help them maintain their edge and elevate service.

While various technology advances have proven to streamline operations, provide efficient mobile computing solutions, and reduce costly network downtime for retail companies around the world, each retailer must evaluate their unique situation and the associated benefits and risks of technology investment before upgrading their work environment.

This guide will help you get started.

Data Security & Customer Convenience

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The modern retailer is secure, efficient, and technology-driven. Advances in technology and changing customer behaviors are driving mobile experiences, payment security, and connectivity.

Cloud computing relies on centralized, hosted computers, servers, and phones to provide you with time-saving benefits, including:

  • Mobility: Access your email, spreadsheets, payments, accounting systems, and payroll records from a laptop, tablet or mobile device from anywhere around the world
  • Security: Centralizing your server operations in the cloud through Microsoft Azure and Office 365 provides redundancy, access control, and security that individual workstations cannot provide
  • Convenience: Customers expect a wonderful retail experience that includes in-store treatment, the purchasing process, and ongoing marketing.

Case Study: Retail Malware Protection

Problem: A retail company reported they were experiencing issues with malware and viruses through their Exchange Online email. Users were clicking on nefarious URLs and attachments sent that were circumventing in place protection schemes. They are concerned that they lack sufficient technologies to help thwart these types of attempts to harvest their intellectual property inside Office 365. They are looking for a solution to help resolve this painful production hindering issue.

Proposed Solution: Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) was presented to the customer as a battle tested solution for this type of scenario where URLs are rewritten to Office 365 and verified in real time to protect against malicious links and phishing scams as well as attachments where content goes through a realtime behavioral malware analysis that uses machine learning techniques to evaluate the content for suspicious activity and either passes legitimate attachments or deletes them altogether, depending on how the policy is configured. This solution can be an add-on to existing subscriptions for minimal per user cost that would further harden their messaging security.

End Result: The customer purchased the subscription and the policies were configured to their requirements with notification and dashboard reporting in place. Almost immediately, their issues subsided as the solution thwarted many attempts from outside parties to try and send malicious content to their employees. The customer was happy to report that the ATP solution implemented was spot on in resolving their issue and had significantly protected the integrity of their productivity.

Empower Your Data With Microsoft

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Gone are the days when a retail office must rely on multiple expensive servers and providers to manage applications like email, phone, file storage, payroll, and accounting systems.

Your technology provider can offer flexible, flat-rate solutions that reduce hardware maintenance and empower your staff, including:

  • File Sharing:Share files and restrict access to specific users track views, and set time limits on accessibility, all from your mobile device, laptop, or workstation.
  • Security: Immediately restrict system access to terminated employees and counter parties, and add new users on a flexible licensing and computing plan, without having to wait for hardware deliveries, repairs, and setups.
  • Customized Support:Your technology provider can provide flexible support by leveraging partner relationships and worldwide engineering teams.

Is The Cloud Right For Your Firm?

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There are risks to migrating to a cloud computing platform. Primarily, your network’s speed and performance relies on the internet to perform. This means that you must have a speedy internet connection or the option to upgrade at an affordable rate.

You are also relying on third party providers to maintain and protect your systems in their data centers at a level that suits your performance and risk profile.

Explore Your Opportunities

When it comes to evaluating your firm’s performance needs, cost-savings opportunities, and benefits of technology investment and leveraging cloud computing, it is all about choosing the right technology partners to help you achieve your goals.

At our firm, we leverage over 20 years of technology expertise to help your CPA firm build an action plan, risk profile, and investment roadmap to assist in your decision.

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