Vincent Fevrier

Vincent Fevrier

Senior Intelligence Analyst

25/09/2020

25/09/2020

How to better protect your retail business during unrest

As the novel COVID-19 virus took hold of the world, its impacts were felt in a number of industries as quarantines and other restrictions were put in place to contain the spread of the virus. The lack of movement by individuals, or the reticence of being around others in these uncertain times, has led to significant impacts on the likes of the aviation, tourism and retail industries among others. As people’s way of living has changed due to movement restrictions, industries reliant on foot traffic for business have been forced to adapt to ensure their continuity.

The pandemic has forced certain retail outlets considered ‘non-essential’ to be closed, while others have seen increased foot traffic as they remain open for being considered ‘essential’, primarily grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies. While stores having been deemed ‘non-essential’ in the early days are now re-opening due to restrictions easing, measures to re-open are an additional cost to businesses to ensure their own and their customers’ safety. Retail outlets not only have to contend with economic decisions on how best to re-open during this time, but security issues have affected the sector during and post lockdown measures.

Recent months have showcased these security threats, and not only in regard to crimes such as burglaries of closed stores and robberies of stores still operating. As a business, understanding the risks surrounding your retail outlet or outlets is key to putting in place plans to minimise any impact. In regard to burglaries, thefts and armed robberies, our analysts track such incidents, making use of the specific ‘Burglary/Theft’ and ‘Armed Robbery’ type icons. Additionally, any incident impacting the retail industry will have the ‘Retail’ sector added into the ‘Affected Sectors’ section of the incident form, and the name of the company affected in the ‘Involved Parties’ section as being directly affected. This allows clients the ability to filter down to only see incidents affecting the sector, and in turn see patterns and trends of crime targeting them in their area.

The retail sector is vast in the types and size of stores it includes, and clients may need a solution to be more granular in their search, and only see incidents targeting the same types of businesses as they are, whether they are a pharmacy or a large chain of department stores. The Intelligence Fusion platform offers such a capability in the form of tagging. Each incident has the ability to be tagged as the type of store it is, whether ‘Pharmacy’, ‘Supermarket’, ‘Conveniencestore’, or ‘Departmentstore’ among others. This allows you to see the incidents that have targeted establishments that are similar to them, and further explore the methods used in those incidents in order to take the necessary precautionary measures.

Incidents targeting supermarkets across the United States in 2020
Incidents impacting supermarkets across the United States in 2020, highlighted using the 'supermarkets' tag on the Intelligence Fusion platform.

 

The sector has also seen incidents of harassment whereby customers are becoming angry at employees due to the new COVID-19 measures, as well as being affected by protests and vandalism from COVID-19 related protests, and more recently unrest related to anti-racism and anti-police violence demonstrations. Since the month of May, the United States has gone through a significant period of social unrest in response to a number of police killings, showcasing the need for the retail sector to have a solution in place, with the ability to provide situational awareness and intelligence surrounding the threats they as a business face.

Heatmaps highlighting BLM protests alongside hotspots of COVID-19 related incidents.
Using the heatmap functionality of the Intelligence Fusion platform to highlight areas of concentration for both COVID-19 related incidents and activity that occurred as a consequence of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. The red heatmap relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and the purple heatmap denotes the fallout since the death of George Floyd.

 

The impact on business can be significant during times of social unrest, as we have seen across America in the last few months. While most protests have been peaceful, some have devolved into rioting, vandalism and looting. Even a peaceful protest march may have minor impacts on businesses by altering the flow of vehicular and foot traffic in certain areas. For continuity of business activities, it's important for businesses to be aware of planned and ongoing protest activities in order to make informed decisions on how to protect their assets. 

Our analysts continuously monitor and map planned protests and ongoing protests using our dedicated icon set towards such incidents. Such incidents are found through a variety of channels including Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and groups on Telegram and Periscope. Additionally, as a user, you have the ability to ‘geofence’ an area around your business or set up all your locations using the ‘Static Assets’ tool, in order to further filter down your notifications, and only get alerts for incidents within a certain distance of their establishment(s). 

Incidents surrounding retail businesses in Portland and Seattle
Example retail locations plotted onto the Intelligence Fusion interface with a radius of 5km around each of the Portland and Seattle assets. 

 

Threat intelligence is key to managing and maintaining business continuity during these uncertain times. Reliable, fact-checked data can provide you with an advantage not only when responding to unrest, but in terms of spotting potential actions and identifying trends through indicators and warnings.

And it’s not only high-quality intelligence that’s important but choosing a software solution that enables you to streamline that feed of data and customise the interface can have significant benefits too. If you can tailor your threat intelligence platform to truly reflect your business operations, you can focus on what’s important, increasing the response time and productivity of your team.

What’s the cost of making a bad decision for your business? Learn how security leaders at Kimberly-Clark, Solvay and BASF are better protecting their assets, speak to the Intelligence Fusion team today.

 

 

 

Back to top