The state's growing data center market is tapping into the retail industry, as more retailers recognize the risk involved in offering mobile technology, but face increasing costs to secure it.
"Many retail organizations are seeing different security breaches in point-of-sale applications, but they don't have all of the expertise to focus on how to secure their critical application," said Rick Crutchley, a senior vice president at IO Data Centers, which has a data center hub in Edison. "If we deploy that technology in our building, and you, as a retail customer, subscribe to that as a service … because you can't afford to secure it properly, that can help manage costs."
According to a report by BDO USA LLP, among the nation's top 100 retailers by revenue, consumer data protection jumped 31 percent from last year's survey as the 12th most-cited risk for retailers, and maintenance of IT systems leapt to the 6th spot from last year's 12th.
Sean Brady, who leads Cushman & Wakefield's data center advisory team, said that spike in concern over data protection stems from the fact that every major firm in the country has dealt with some type of security breach in the past three or four years.
"Wikileaks has been saying they have information on big corporations that can hurt them, and there are some retailers in there, because they're going after corporations that deal with consumers and customer information," Brady said.
According to Al Ferrara, national director of retail and consumer product practice for BDO, retailers are "always going to increase investments in IT," noting the industry's largest investment right now is in mobile applications.
"A security breach is the exception, not the norm, and breaches that have occurred in retail aren't a cause and effect, where a customer is saying they're not shopping there anymore," Ferrara said. "But the data that goes along with a breach is a real concern … and the security to support these wireless investments is starting to match in dollars."
Crutchley said New Jersey's growing outsourced data center market can give retailers a competitive advantage.
"It's a very pricey endeavor to have all of the critical structure to manage a data center," Crutchley said. "If you can help customers deploy the technology quickly and for their discreet needs, just in time, that can help lower costs for the security."