Cybersecurity to be Theme of 2017 Retail Summit

TYLER, Texas — Cybersecurity for retail will be the major theme of the 2017 Retail Summit hosted by The University of Texas at Tyler’s Center for Retail Enterprises (CRE) on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

"Data breaches are not an 'if' anymore, they are a 'when,'" said Dr. Robert Paul Jones, director of the Center for Retail Enterprises, which provides continuing education and professional development to the retail community, with a strong emphasis toward small-business retailers. The annual Retail Summit is a community event featuring speakers with vast knowledge on retail and service issues.

This year’s Retail Summit keynote speaker, R. David Mahon, chief security officer of CenturyLink Inc., will speak on "Emerging Trends & New Technologies in Cybersecurity for Retail & Services." He will provide attendees with the who’s and why’s of breaches, what hackers are looking for, how they get in, and what they do with breached data.

"Retailers carry tremendous amounts of data through their loyalty programs … but what happens if a breach occurs? How do you develop a risk management strategy that’s effective for your business, keeps you in compliance with regulations, and minimizes the threat of litigation?" posed Jones. "There hasn’t been a lot of information available that’s specific to retailers. We want to help retailers avoid being the next data breach newspaper headline."

Cybersecurity is doubly relevant as the university’s new Cybersecurity Center — with a focus on retail — joins the CRE in the UT Tyler’s College of Business & Technology. At the Cybersecurity Center, Dr. Tom Roberts, chair and professor of computer science, focuses on cybersecurity, digital forensics, IT risk assessment, ethical hacking, and research methods.

"Our 2017 Retail Summit is a great opportunity to highlight the new center, and the importance for retailers to understand the threats and opportunities for maintaining the integrity of their data," added Jones.

UT Tyler’s new Retail Research Convenience Store Lab, set to open in 2018, will also be discussed at the 2017 Retail Summit. The lab/store will be a unique retail and learning and research operation managed and run by students. Breakthrough technologies, including smart shelving, eye tracking, aroma, lighting and more, will help students, researchers and the industry learn more about what motivates shoppers — particularly millennials — to buy.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Retail Summit.

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