Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

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Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
October 22, 2018

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Working with the insider threat

Retail sector plagued by connectivity problems that undermine sales and security systems

Connectivity problems encountered by nearly three in four (72%) retailers could jeopardise both sales and the proper operation of security systems, according to a study by CSL.

For 44% of IT professionals and executives employed in the sector the loss of, or poor, connectivity is a monthly occurrence. In a world where so much economic life occurs online or heavily depends on connectivity, 50% of respondents said they could not operate properly without it.

The study by CSL, which incorporated a 4G SIM into its CSL Router to provide backup to slow or unavailable WiFi, found that losing connectivity for a day could cut sales by up to 50% in the view of 86% of respondents. Despite such damaging consequences, 27% of retailers – rising to 32% in organisations with fewer than 250 employees – have no backup plan in the event of a loss of connectivity.

Three quarters (75%) said it had a moderate or high impact on core functions, most profoundly on point of sale (86%), stock management (81%) and general administration (76%).

“Every retailer should have a contingency plan for connectivity downtime.” Simon Banks, group MD, CSL Group

Seventy-one percent of retailers are heavily reliant on connectivity for these core functions, plus others like general administration, shopper and/or staff analytics, tagging solutions, surveillance cameras and intruder alarms. Twenty-four percent said heating, lighting, customer feedback, in-store promotions, human resources and finance were extremely reliant on connectivity too.

Retailers with more than 250 employees are more likely to be reliant on connectivity for shopper and/or data analytics, while smaller companies tend to rely on connectivity for point of sale and general administration.

“The results of this study clearly highlight the importance of connectivity within the modern retail environment, both in term of business continuity and impact on sales,” said Simon Banks, group MD, CSL Group. “Every retailer should have a contingency plan for connectivity downtime, and one of the most reliable and cost-effective ways of achieving this is via 4G based technology like our CSL Router,” continued Banks.

“I was particularly pleased that CIOs and CTOs in retail organisations are very responsive to the possibilities this offers, with 98% expressing an interest in a 4G router that could help them maintain the reliable and secure communications that their critical business processes rely on.”

CSL provides secure connectivity for machine to machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices in mission-critical applications. Founded in the UK in 1996 CSL Group provides secure connectivity solutions to the global fire, security and telecare sectors.

CSL commissioned Research Without Barriers (RWB) to poll 301 IT managers, IT directors, chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs) in retailers with more than 10 employees.

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