Information Security Top Concern of Financial Executives:

Information security is a growing concern for businesses; “Financial executives are asking themselves, ‘Can I be assured that my financial information has not been altered by anyone?’ and ‘What will the impact be on my company if there is a security breach?’” said Michael Gailey, managing director, Global Security Solutions, Computer Sciences Corporation Consulting (CSC), Cincinnati.

Loss of records or exposure of confidential information or intellectual properties that give a company a competitive advantage can jeopardize consumer and brand loyalty and shareholder value.

This was recently addressed in a recent survey sponsored by CSC in collaboration with the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) in Florham Park, N.J., Financial Executives International (FEI) and the Committee on Finance and Information Technology (CFIT), which is a technical committee of FEI. Survey results said many enterprises do not have adequate plans in place to protect their information. Twenty percent of the financial executives surveyed said that they feel “highly unsatisfied” with their security plans and infrastructure. About 10 percent said they had already experienced a major business interruption as a result of cyber-attacks.

“Companies are becoming more vigilant in guarding their information and are really looking for ways that they may be vulnerable,” said Doug Johnson, senior policy analyst at the American Bankers Association, Washington, D.C. “Studies show that breaches in information security often occur because of human error. An employee may leave his laptop in a car, and it’s stolen. We need controls in place to try to prevent this kind of mistake.”

Companies need to develop risk profiles that will help them to implement the right level of security and assess whether they’re getting the best return on investment for their security programs.

“Without a strategy or plan in place and knowing what your organization’s core business processes and key assets are, you don’t know where to spend your money or how to protect the things that are most critical,” said Gailey. “We need a template or guideline to help us to achieve that.”    —Susan Feinberg

Retailers Fight Crime With New Technology:

With The holiday season comes retailer concerns over shoplifting, employee theft and loss prevention. According to the 2005 National Retail Security Survey, sponsored by the National Retail Federation and the University of Florida, Gainesville, inventory shrinkage—a combination of employee theft, vendor fraud and administrative error—costs retailers more than $37 billion. (See chart at right.)

The biggest issue is organized retail theft. The study reported that on average there were 23.2 cases of organized retail theft per $100 million in sales.

“Retailers are beginning to realize that there are organized gangs of people shoplifting particular products in large quantities and sending the merchandise out of the country, selling it back to the retailers for a refund, or selling it on eBay and the Internet,” said Richard Hollinger, professor at the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

Retailers are fighting back with sophisticated new technology.

“More and more companies are using digital video recorders to network back to their corporate headquarters,” said Alan Greggo, senior director of Loss Prevention at Luxottica Retail, Mason, Ohio, and a member of the Retail Loss Prevention Council of ASIS International, an organization for security management professionals. “With this technology, a regional loss prevention manager with 20 stores can make a networked visit, rather than a live one, to monitor security at a particular store.”

Greggo predicted that, in the future, retailers will be using interactive alarm systems, which allow a camera system in a store to start a transmission when someone tries to remove merchandise.

Retailers are joining together to combat organized retail theft. With databases such as the Retail Loss Prevention Intelligence Network (RLPIN), which was developed by the National Retail Foundation, retailers are pooling information and investigative resources to detect and investigate these crimes and enhance collaboration with law enforcement agencies.    —Susan Feinberg

Security and IT News:

Graybar now offers wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) for its customers and suppliers at 91 locations.

Siemens Building Technologies Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill., acquired VistaScape Security Systems Corp., Atlanta. VistaScape develops automated video analytics.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded Smiths Detection a $200 million-plus contract to provide radiation detection and identification systems.

Site-Guard has partnered with Optex to provide a wireless outdoor security and perimeter solution that requires no phone lines for data transmission.

Leviton home controls alliance partner, Zensys Inc., Freemont, Calif., was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the winners of its 2006 Technology Innovation Awards in the wireless category.

SimplexGrinnell received the 2006 David A. Lucht Lamp of Knowledge Award from the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE).

At recent code hearings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the International Residential Code Building Code/Energy Code Committee voted down two proposals for fire sprinklers in one and two-family dwellings and townhouses.

BroadWare Technologies Inc. was selected by Lockheed Martin as the core supplier of video surveillance and media integration components being deployed within the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).