Industry Expertise

Rethinking Retail Security

retail store entrance shows blurry shoppers walking by with focus on doors of the store

It’s no secret that threat actors are becoming more sophisticated. Whether it’s cyber crime or in-person threats, security isn’t innovating quickly enough or maturing fast enough to catch up. No one is feeling this pain more than those in the retail sector.

Alarm response and dispatch capabilities are highly complex. As incidents of theft, burglary, and vandalism of retail stores continue to rise, security leaders are looking towards tech-enabled, flexible alternatives to the traditional approach to alarm monitoring and dispatch. 

Taking the guesswork out of response to intrusion alarms can go a long way in addressing the root problem related to retail security complexity.

Security operations in the retail space

The reduction of inventory from shoplifting, fraud, and internal theft, is estimated to have cost the retail industry $61.7 billion as stated in a 2020 National Retail Security Survey. According to the 2022 Retail Security Survey from the National Retail Federation, “When taken as a percentage of total retail sales in 2021, that shrink represents $94.5 billion in losses, up from $90.8 billion in 2020.” 

This level of loss can have a substantial impact on operations and influence how much budget is allocated to physical security initiatives and loss prevention teams.  

Additionally, incident response in retail varies significantly based on the organization. Around 75% of retail organizations have a security operations center (SOC), according to The Security Benchmark Report from Security Magazine. These can be in a centralized location, operated regionally, or outsourced to local monitoring services to manage and respond to alarms. 

However, many of these retail security teams are inundated with incoming false alarms from numerous locations, a lack of guarding resources to attend to incidents, and a lack of cohesive information when law enforcement needs to be involved.

Taking the guesswork out of response

After hours, intrusion detection and setting alarms monitored by outside entities is common practice, but there are challenges associated with this strategy. Here are some of them and how technology plays a role in addressing them: 

False alarms. In many cases where alarms are monitored by a third party, false alarms trigger law enforcement to arrive on scene, which can result in extensive fines. Depending on how the system is set up, these false alarms might be set off by ineffective analytics, movement in a set perimeter, or faulty access/video devices. 

Understanding where the false alarms are coming from can help security leaders address these issues before they become a problem, which can reduce the amount of noise coming into the regional SOC. Additionally, addressing faulty sensors means a more streamlined approach to physical security, giving operators the confidence to know that if an alarm is coming in, it’s worth a second look.    

Resource allocation. With traditional third-party monitoring, critical public resources – including first responders – are being diverted to false alarm responses. This can mean a drain on local governments. In some cases, alarm systems are so unreliable that retailers fail to turn them on or instead, post a guard, which can be a significant investment for some organizations. 

Reducing the number of false alarms and implementing technology that is better able to monitor multiple retail locations simultaneously can save both human resources (in guarding costs) and operator costs. In some cases, implementing software can free up more than 50% of an operators’ time, which can reduce the need for multiple operators to address incoming alarms. 

Response communication. In some cases, regional loss prevention leaders are tasked with responding to alarms that don’t prompt law enforcement to be on scene. In these cases, a lack of information present about what’s going on, including the addition of video and access point information, may make it difficult for these individuals to properly respond. 

Technology that allows security leaders and operators to have all of the information they need to better respond to an incident means a more efficient and informed response. Being able to link an intrusion event to video provides a greater amount of information that reduces the chance of a responder going in blind to an incident that’s unfolding. 

Taking the guesswork out of response

The HiveWatch® Global Security Operations Center (GSOC) Operating System (OS) is a way for retailers to take more control over incoming intrusion and alarm monitoring so that response can be properly streamlined. This means that retailers can have more control over the resources they allocate and the appropriate response levels for each incident. The platform can help augment – and in some cases, replace – third-party monitoring centers, monitoring ingress and egress points and detecting people within an entry zone. 

Paired with intrusion detection with an access code that allows a disarming function, the GSOC OS can serve as a better tool for detection. If the alarm is not disarmed, an incident is created within the HiveWatch platform and a video clip with all of the relevant information about the event is sent to an operator to assess. Depending on the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the organization, a guard or law enforcement can be dispatched directly from the platform. 

Taking the guesswork out of response to intrusion alarms can go a long way in addressing the root problem related to retail security complexity.

Ready to learn more? HiveWatch is attending NRF Protect 2023, June 5-7, in Dallas. Click here to schedule a meeting with our team or schedule a 1:1 demo of the HiveWatch® GSOC OS now.  

Topics: Retail

Haywood Hunter
Haywood Hunter

Haywood Hunter is an Account Executive with HiveWatch, with experience across information security, corporate security, IT, cloud delivery, and DevOps. He's also a board member for ASIS LA.


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