Cybersecurity Strategies in Spotlight at 2017 Retail Summit

“Data breaches are not an ‘if’ anymore, they are a ‘when,’” says Dr. Robert Paul Jones, Director, Center for Retail Enterprises (CRE), The University of Texas at Tyler. Cybersecurity for retail will be the major theme of the CRE’s 2017 Retail Summit, Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the UT Tyler Omelas Activity Center.  

Keynoter R. David Mahon, chief security office, CenturyLink Inc., presents “Emerging Trends & New Technologies in Cybersecurity for Retail & Services.” Mahon 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 in you compliance with regulations and minimizes the threat of litigation?” There hasn’t been a lot of information available that’s specific to retailers, says Jones, which is why the topic for 2017’s Retail Summit is critical. “We want to help retailers avoid being the next data breach newspaper headline,” says Jones.

Cybersecurity is doubly relevant, as the university’s new cybersecurity center – with a focus on retail – joins the CRE in the College of Business & Technology. Dr. Tom Roberts, chair and professor of computer science at UTT, 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,” adds Jones.

UTT’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 industry learn more about what motivates shoppers – particularly millennials – to buy.

For more information on UTT CRE’s 2017 Retail Summit, visit

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