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Monthly Archives: February 2023
Security Threats Faced By the Retail Industry
14 Feb 2023

If you have long worked in the UK retail industry, you will know that it has faced a challenging few years, with all but ‘essential’ shops having kept their physical doors shut for lengthy periods during the COVID-19 pandemic, before rising energy costs started to bite as well.

However, even just looking at the security aspect, it is clear that many retailers are continuing to have a tough time. 

What follows is an informative rundown of various security threats still blighting the industry, but also a few pointers for how these issues can be handled without dragging down British retailers’ operational prowess.

Theft of physical items 

While physical goods stocked by your company can obviously be stolen even when kept for lengthy periods in a warehouse, they can be especially vulnerable to theft when left on shelves at bricks-and-mortar retail premises which members of the public can visit.

Fortunately, though, there are still various means of countering this theft threat. For a start, you could arrange for CCTV video monitoring equipment to be installed at the site, allowing a security specialist to remotely keep watch over it through a network of onsite cameras.

Even something as seemingly rudimentary as putting up ‘shoplifters will be prosecuted’ signs can work surprisingly well at deterring would-be thieves.

Cyber attacks

As online shopping has grown in popularity, retail businesses have bulked out their e-commerce infrastructure to suit. However, this trend has thrown up new security challenges, as it has given many criminals new avenues for bypassing companies’ defences.

One classic example of a cyber attack is phishing, a form of social engineering where attackers send emails purporting to have originated from reputable individuals or organisations — the ultimate aim here being to induce recipients to reveal sensitive details like credit card numbers.

However, many other types of cyber attack abound — including distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on companies’ servers and hacking into physical point-of-sale (POS) systems.

Retail employee impersonation 

Of course, retail personnel are often targeted by phishing attempts because these people have privileged access to sensitive data within the organisation. As retail workers also see it as good practice to be helpful, social engineers can take advantage of this.

They might do this by impersonating executives or, if the retail organisation has multiple locations, employees visiting from one of the other locations. The targeted employee could then be asked to do something for which they actually lack authorisation from a genuine manager of the company.

It’s easy to see why this trick can work if the company has an especially large network of stores with hundreds of employees between them, as many of a store’s employees might not be familiar with specific workers from other stores within the same network.

Risks arising from third-party infrastructure 

When people buy from your retail organisation, how do they pay? You might be understandably eager to keep this payment process as streamlined as possible — since, otherwise, too many potential customers of your business could be put off buying from it.

You might have gone as far as implementing a payment system from a third-party vendor. After all, if they have done all the hard work of figuring out how to strip supposedly superfluous flab from the payment process, why should you have to do that work yourself?

However, one big problem here is that many potential layers of security — like two-factor authentication — will have been left out of the system as well. Hence, cyber criminals could too easily exploit it and leave your business in the lurch.

Natural disasters

Of course, natural disasters — like severe storms and floods — have always been a possibility and therefore a threat, and not just to retailers. However, climate change has made freak weather occurrences increasingly common in recent years.

Extreme weather patterns can hamper the safety of your company’s consumers and employees, not to mention throw supply chains into disarray. However, natural disasters can also damage physical infrastructure on which your business heavily relies. 

For example, they often cause power cuts — with adverse implications for those retail outlets, like food stores, that stock perishables.

Injuries to employees and customers 

A retail business that sells its goods only online is obviously unlikely to pose any major risk to customers’ physical health. However, employees of your business could still potentially pick up injuries as a result of, say, slipping on a wet floor of a warehouse where they work.

Now, a wet floor isn’t exactly what you might call a security risk. However, if you are nonchalant on the security side of things, there can remain the risk of violence being inflicted upon workers and — if your company indeed has a bricks-and-mortar presence — customers.

You can reduce this particular risk by hiring security guards who can deter people from committing acts of violence on a shop floor and will know what to do if this violence does happen.

Geopolitical instability 

In recent years, more retailers have had to reassess their logistics arrangements to figure out how to adjust them in light of daunting geopolitical developments.

Perhaps your own business has recently closed stores or even abandoned entire markets due to operational challenges brought about by — for example — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Many aspects of the retail sector — including manufacturing, supply chains, and international trade — have been negatively affected by contemporary issues.

How can retailers overcome a wide array of security challenges? 

With the world having become more volatile, you could easily wonder how your company would be able to continue confidently meeting its security responsibilities.

However, you could take inspiration from those companies that have handed many of their own security duties over to specialist security firms like All Time Security.

The security services that we offer for UK retail outlets on the high street and in shopping parks and shopping centres include manned security guarding and CCTV remote monitoring. To learn more about these retail security solutions and how your UK-based business could utilise any of them, please get in touch with us by phoning 01494 511222.

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Ways to Improve Warehouse Security

Since warehouses are used by many businesses to store a vast range of physical goods, these can be easy pickings for thieves who happen to get into a warehouse.

This situation explains why, if you run one of these businesses, the onus is on you to keep warehouse security up to scratch. We would particularly urge you to heed the following tips…

Be selective about who you recruit 

Given that many security threats to warehouses actually originate from inside them, it can pay for you to be extra careful about who you staff them with in the first place. It goes without saying, then, that you want especially trustworthy employees. 

While exactly who would count as ‘trustworthy’ can be very much a subjective judgement, you can at least put job applicants through a strict screening process aimed at weeding out bad apples. These may include, for example, applicants with a criminal record.

Make sure your warehouse has enough large open space 

It can be a good idea for you to leave some ‘buffer space’, so to say, in your warehouse. This strategy can help to prevent stock in the warehouse from getting damaged as well as ease employees’ efforts to retrieve these goods. 

However, there’s also a good security incentive for you to prevent tall storage facilities in your warehouse from blocking the view: workers in the building will have a good sightline through to parts of the building where wrongdoing could otherwise too easily go unnoticed.

Put up perimeter fencing around the whole site  

Of course, it would be harder for aspiring criminals from outside your business to enter the physical warehouse building in the first place if you arranged for security fencing to be erected around the site’s entire perimeter.

You should, however, make sure this fencing is at least seven feet high. Meanwhile, where openings in the fencing are meant to allow authorised vehicles to access the site, you can have security barriers and gates as well as number plate recognition technology fitted.

Add CCTV cameras both inside and outside the warehouse 

All of these cameras can be connected to the same network — one that also allows each camera’s video feed to be remotely monitored.

As for exactly where those cameras should be installed, you could prioritise areas where would-be thieves are likelier to linger — like entry and exit points, not to mention areas where high-value inventory is kept.

If any of these cameras do record a crime happening, the footage can help with identifying the culprit and serve as evidence in a court of law.

Invest in secure doors and windows 

A warehouse’s weakest spots — at least from a security point of view — are often the building’s doors and windows, for the simple reason that, obviously, they tend to be easier to break through than solid walls. 

You could inspect your warehouse’s current windows and doors and find that many of them lack up-to-date security features.

Hence, you might be able to justify the expense of replacing these problematic doors and windows with newer units built to hold up against physical attacks for longer.

Take advantage of our alarm response service 

With this service, we can send suitably trained and experienced engineers to your premises to install alarm systems. If any of these are triggered at your warehouse, an alarm response security officer from All Time Security can respond by turning up at the building in little time.

Ideally, though, alarms we install at the warehouse will prevent crimes from even happening there. Indeed, the mere sight of these alarms, especially if attached next to signs with warnings along the lines of ‘this warehouse is alarmed’, can deter people from attempting crime.

Hire security patrol officers  

One reason why many dubious people might want to prey on warehouses is that they can too often be left empty or with specific areas that people never or rarely visit.

If your own warehouse is sparse in ways like these, you can help to close these security gaps by hiring security guards. When you source these from security patrol firms, you can arrange for guards to carry out mobile patrols to both daily and nightly schedules.

All Time Security can supply your UK warehouse with patrol officers who have been trained by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and know how to respond appropriately to security incidents.

Utilise a key holding service 

You might have heard or read the term ‘key holding’ before, but remain unsure what it actually means. It refers to a specialist security service where a security firm holds keys to a client’s warehouse and keeps those keys in a secure location at a distance from the warehouse itself.

If the warehouse’s security is breached, the security firm can send a security officer to the site. Once this officer has arrived at the property, they can check it and then decide what to do next.

In the event of a minor security incident, the officer might do little more than lock the warehouse up again. However, if the alarm was triggered due to a more serious security incident, the officer will take appropriate steps to safeguard the premises.

These steps can include contacting emergency glaziers if window glass has been smashed, or asking a static security officer to temporarily stay on the premises. 

Familiarise your workers with good security practice 

No matter how much technology you introduce to the security equation, you have to remember that, ultimately, you and your employees are still only human. For this reason, no matter how diligent these workers are with their security processes, human errors can still slip into them.

Fortunately, when you brief your employees in depth on security protocols, you can reduce the chances of such mistakes happening. Many companies operating UK-based warehouses could go even further by outsourcing much of their warehouse security to All Time Security. To learn more about how your own company could benefit from going down this route, please phone our head office on 01494 511222. 

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