In today’s digital age, the retail industry faces numerous challenges concerning the security of both physical and virtual assets. With the rise of e-commerce and the increasing prevalence of cyber threats, the convergence of physical security and cybersecurity has become critical for retailers. Brands are responding by increasing their spending on security solutions. Global security revenues in retail are headed for strong growth in the next few years, from $7 billion in 2019 to $12 billion by 2025.
Bringing together these two realms under a holistic approach highlights the growing significance of security for retailers. Let’s explore five areas where cybersecurity and physical security are top-of-mind for retailers.
Integrating physical and cyber systems
In the retail industry, physical and cyber systems are no longer isolated entities but interconnected networks. For instance, point-of-sale (POS) systems integrate physical payment terminals with digital transaction processing, making them susceptible to cyber breaches. A successful cyber attack could compromise customer data, financial transactions, and even disrupt in-store operations. Thus, securing the cyber infrastructure surrounding these physical systems is paramount.
Protecting customer data
Retailers handle a vast amount of customer data, including personal and financial information. Cybersecurity breaches, such as data breaches or ransomware attacks, can result in the theft or exposure of sensitive data. In 2022, the average cost of a data breach reached a record high of US$4.35 million. However, many experts estimate that average costs could reach $5 million in 2023, leading to severe consequences for both customers and businesses. Retailers must act now to implement robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard customer data and maintain their trust.
Offering free Wi-Fi in stores has gained popularity among customers, but it also brings cybersecurity and physical security concerns. Without proper safeguards, the store’s network is vulnerable to cyber threats and data breaches. To safeguard customer data and internal systems, it’s crucial to implement strong cybersecurity measures like network encryption and authentication protocols. Additionally, physical security measures are necessary to prevent unauthorized access to network equipment. Enhancing visibility through appropriate lighting and the presence of video cameras can also act as a deterrent to potential intruders. In addition, the use of door sensors can detect the opening and closing of entryways to restricted areas or after business hours, notifying security personnel of any unauthorized access attempts.
Physical asset protection
In addition to cyber threats, retailers must also address physical security concerns. For instance, organized retail crime, theft, and inventory shrinkage pose significant challenges. Implementing advanced surveillance technologies such as video analytics and object detection can help deter criminal activities. These solutions can also be used to identify and track potential threats within the retail environment. Advanced surveillance technologies such as video analytics can be used to identify and track potential threats not only to prevent criminal activity, but also to enhance employee/associate and customer safety.
By implementing these technologies as part of a comprehensive physical security strategy, retailers can deter hostile or violent behavior, prevent incidents before they occur, and improve emergency response times.
Supply chain security
The retail industry relies on complex supply chains involving multiple stakeholders. A cyber breach in any part of the supply chain could have far-reaching consequences. By converging physical security and cybersecurity, retailers can implement measures like real-time product tracking, secure data sharing, and vendor risk assessments. Such practices enhance supply chain security, reducing the likelihood of cyber attacks or physical disruptions.
To thrive in the evolving digital landscape, retailers must invest in robust cybersecurity measures while fortifying their physical security infrastructure. Furthermore, maintaining regulatory compliance, staying updated on emerging threats, and fostering a culture of security awareness are essential components of a comprehensive security strategy.
By prioritizing the convergence of physical security and cybersecurity, retailers can safeguard their operations, protect customer trust, and establish a competitive edge in an increasingly interconnected retail ecosystem.
Take the first step toward enhancing your retail security strategy and read our retail solution guide today!
You can also visit our safe environments page to learn more about making your workspace safer—digitally and physically.