We help secure the luxury retail market from Rodeo Drive to Madison Avenue.
Situation: Higher End Means Higher Risk
Every class of retail is susceptible to losses due to theft and fraud, but maybe none as much as the luxury branded retailer. Its high-priced, highly desirable merchandise is subject to not only actual theft, but counterfeiting and ultimately damage to the all-important brand and the company’s reputation. The merchandise these retailers carry is considered a status symbol; however, the majority of the population cannot afford to obtain it through traditional and legal means. Luxury branded retailers rely on secure manufacturing facilities, a very limited distribution channel and a very protected inventory at store level to help elevate demand and secure top dollars for their products.
Layer on the ever-increasing threat of network security breaches, and retailers of all types face the added burden of lost customer trust. This may be the biggest risk to the company and its brand.
Our Solution: High-Res Video, Cloud-based Access Control, Attention to Aesthetics
Protection 1’s approach to helping protect this vulnerable class of retailer is multi-faceted. It provides advanced solutions that range from high definition video systems, cloud-based access control, state-of-the-art intrusion detection and life safety systems and monitoring. Recently, Protection 1 has added a managed services platform that offers its clients the ability to have a private secure network solely for the asset protection technology components.
Jay Linton, the Protection 1 retail security executive who spearheads the sales component to luxury branded retailers based in North America, stressed that you need to present a holistic approach to security for these types of merchants.
“My clients are viewed as the upper echelon in the retail space,” said Linton. “We look at all aspects of the operations and develop an approach based on the potential for risks from a variety of angles. In many cases, we look to develop a common platform solution that may begin at the manufacturing level and carry over throughout distribution to the sales floor.”
Video systems have long been a mainstay of retailers’ security platforms. With the advancement in IP technology and the ease of remote access, video solutions now deliver even greater benefits to asset protection teams as well as other departments within the retailers’ operations. In many cases, Linton’s clients use video for remote investigations, which saves the company both time and money through the reduction of travel time and expenses.
“A simple theft at the retail level can run into several thousands of dollars per item. Our clients need to have the ability to review high quality video to determine if this theft was internal or external and then be able to respond in an appropriate manner,” said Linton.
Video quality has improved greatly with the introduction of megapixel technology to the point that it now allows clients to drill down and zoom in on cash drawers and small items that, in the past, they were never able to see clearly.
Electronic access control can be deployed in sensitive areas of the company, including cash rooms, managers’ offices and, in the case of luxury branded retailers, back office, display cases or warehouse locations where the coming seasons’ sample products are secured. Electronic access control, particularly those that deploy advanced features such as biometrics, ensures that there is an audit trail available showing who went where and at what time. Protection 1 offers a cloud-based access control solution that gives retailers the ability to track movement and control access to sensitive areas through an easy-to-use secure web portal. Retailers no longer need expensive dedicated computers with software maintenance and upkeep.
“My clients love the web-based solution. It removes the need for an onsite server and the ongoing issue of maintaining it,” added Linton. “A simple edge device at the door and a CAT5 connection are all that are needed to secure a protected area. The web-based portal is encrypted and protected, yet offers instant access by authorized personnel.”
When designing any type of security systems for these luxury retailers, aesthetics are key. Many times store planning personnel are as involved in the process as loss prevention teams. And in most cases, no two locations are built and designed the same, making each project a custom application. An example of the customization can be found in the cameras themselves. Protection 1 works with a number of outside parties and in many cases does the work themselves to ensure that the cameras blend seamlessly into the store décor and are not noticeable to the clientele.
The Protection 1 team has worked with various architects and store planning personnel to ensure that its systems are effective, yet not obtrusive. They have had cameras custom painted to match surroundings, alarm keypads that needed to be color matched and have even encased access control readers into imported granite walls.
“There are simply no two projects that are alike,” commented Linton. “We strive to design a system that exceeds each client’s request. So far, I don’t think we’ve ever had a request that was not possible. It may entail going the extra mile, but it’s what we do and what our clients have come to expect from our team.”
The company even custom designs intrusion detection systems for some of its clients using state-of-the-art motion detectors that are often found in highly secured areas such as airports.
Security-only networks are gaining popularity and adoption across a number of different organizations, including retail. This is being driven primarily by overall security breaches that are driving companies to physically separate their IT infrastructure to limit exposure. In some cases the security devices are prohibited from sharing the network with POS systems.
“This is really gaining momentum in the retail vertical. The benefits of high definition video are great, but the bandwidth requirements can scare many IT directors,” noted Linton. “By implementing a private network, our clients can have Protection1 become the IT support team. We have total visibility and can tell if a circuit is down or a specific camera has lost a connection. This is a huge benefit to our clients that opt for a Protection 1 security-only network. It removes or complements their internal IT team from the equation and benefits the Asset Protection team by not having to share bandwidth.”
Other common factors for physical separation of IT systems include higher bandwidth availability and speed, access to the network for LP teams while not impacting business critical systems, and standardized implementations with lower costs.
Protection 1 has seen nearly a 100% growth rate for this type of application over the past year. The company is uniquely positioned to offer these services to its customer base, as it is the only company in the security industry to hold Cisco Premier and Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Express Partner Certification status. Express Cloud and Managed Services certification recognizes companies who have attained the expertise in the preparation, planning, designing, and implementation phases for selling and supporting cloud or managed services based on Cisco platforms. The company’s engineers are also Meraki and Sonicwall certified.
In addition to designing, implementing and commissioning securityonly networks, Protection 1 also monitors the systems and can alert its clients if there is an attempted breach or the potential for failure of any device on the network. Protection 1 also manages all the software updates, ensuring that the latest versions are always available, particularly as it relates to anti-virus protection.
Bottom Line Result: Security and Trust
A well-planned, comprehensive approach is key to securing a company’s assets, associates, reputation and ultimately the trust of its customers. Whether it is the straightforward monitoring of intrusion detection and life safety, or the monitoring of network cameras/recorders—Protection 1 provides fast service to avoid lost footage or other potential problems with an ability to deliver that is unprecedented within the industry.
“The luxury arena is growing at a rapid pace and it’s an exciting space for us to work in,” concluded Linton. “We’ve handled projects all over North America. It’s an honor to have some of the world’s most recognized names depend on us for all their security solutions. From a boutique on Madison Avenue to a flagship store in Beverly Hills, to a special event that includes millions of dollars in custom jewelry, we’ve designed systems to protect them. It’s all about protecting their assets—their people, their product and their brand.”