Why EveryCloud is proud to sponsor Graduate Fashion Week 2017

This year we’ve joined the sponsors of Graduate Fashion Week. Held from the 4th to the 7th of June at the Truman Brewery in East London, it gives fashion students an incredible opportunity to showcase their collections to some of the biggest names in the fashion industry, with exhibitions from over 40 universities and 22 catwalk shows. For over 25 years it’s been a crucial event for the UK fashion industry, with high-profile patrons include the likes of Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, Victoria Beckham and Dame Vivienne Westwood, and we’ll be hosting two events: an IT roundtable on Monday 5th and a VIP drinks reception on Wednesday the 7th.

Why Graduate Fashion Week? After all, cloud security probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind when you think of catwalks and couture. Yet fashion is a major industry, contributing £26 billion to the British economy and supporting nearly 800,000 UK jobs. Graduate Fashion Week is also a force for innovation, where new talent can try new ideas and look at new approaches and business models. That’s something we understand and want to support.

Most of all, though, fashion is a great example of a retail industry going through an online revolution, where stores like ASOS, LittleBlackDress and Boohoo are making waves. Online retailers face some pretty specific challenges when it comes to security, and data security in particular. Because they handle large amounts of customer information, including sensitive data and payment information, they’re expected to meet high levels of security, with financial penalties and costs to brand reputation should things go wrong and a breach occur.

New Challenges

Next year, these expectations will grow even higher. In May 2018 the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation comes into force, affecting countries across the EU including – regardless of Brexit – the UK. New permission requirements will mean that companies will have to tread carefully and be more strategic in how they gather, use and store customer data. Businesses will need to be explicit with their customers when it comes to how it’s being processed and for what reasons, not to mention who has access and where it’s stored. Customers will have new rights to view their data, export and re-use it, or even request its deletion. To say the least, ensuring compliance won’t be a quick and easy job. For some retailers it’s going to require a major overhaul of their systems and processes, while the days of playing fast-and-loose with personal data are over for good.

To make life even tougher for retailers, GDPR pushes a new, more stringent approach to data security, where they, like every company handling personal data, will have to design adequate security into their processes and systems and prove their commitment through documentation, tests and audits and even, in some cases, assessments. Some data-related activities will fall into high-risk categories with even more stringent regulation, while companies that fail to comply or suffer a breach could face huge penalties; up to €20 million or 4% of their global annual turnover.

All this poses a challenge in the retail sector, where around 84% of companies don’t currently obtain the proper consent for their data processing activities, and where 66% are already saying that they won’t be able to comply with all GDPR provisions. A 2016 Compuware study found that up to 77% of retailers in major EU countries didn’t know how they would respond to GDPR, while only 47% said they were well-briefed on the subject and how it would impact their use of personal data. That’s a recipe for confusion and some really expensive mistakes.

Clearing the Confusion

That’s where EveryCloud can help. On the one hand, as experts in GDPR and cloud security we’re equipped to help retailers navigate the new regulations, understand their responsibilities and assess their risks and requirements. Beyond that, as a cloud security broker we can find them the ideal solutions to secure their data, ensure compliance and protect their network from attack. We can also help them cover what’s always a major vulnerability: their own people and poor identity and access security. Ensuring that only authorised people can access data – and only then what they need to do their job –  is a big step forwards to ensuring compliance with GDPR.

No two retailers have the exact same requirements, but then we’ve always been more about bespoke design than off-the-peg solutions, delivering made-to-measure cloud security that fits each customer’s needs. What’s more, we can help retailers turn their GDPR headaches into a plus, because, in the end, improving data security isn’t just about compliance, but about protecting the business, its reputation and its customers, creating a solid platform for future growth. In fashion, as in any other retail industry, that’s an approach that never goes out of style.