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Zero Trust security for video surveillance in the retail sector

Zero Trust security for video surveillance in the retail sector

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The retail industry is stepping up its security efforts to restrict the number of shoplifters and improve vigilance. When retail security provider, LiveView, required a Zero Trust solution for its video surveillance offering, it turned to NetFoundry.

The challenge facing the retail sector

Retailers are feeling increasing pressure from online competition, which necessitates review of all areas of expense and wastage. For example, shrinkage from theft and shoplifting. According to the US National Retail Federation’s 2019 National Retail Security Survey, the average retail shrinkage is 1.38% of sales – approximately the same since 2014. It may not sound like a lot, but it amounted to over US$50 billion in 2018. If your retail store earns US$1 million sales with 50% gross margins, shrinkage might mount up to US$10,000 – a significant loss.

Security measures are therefore required to make it more difficult for thieves, but without inconvenience to the majority of honest customers. Security tagging is an additional expense but is not an inconvenience to the customer as all goods must leave through checkout. Reducing entry and exit points makes it easier to police movement, but can be more restrictive for customers. Security cameras, on the other hand, do not restrict normal shopping activity and, once installed, the subscription cost to the SaaS is minimal when compared to the potential of loss without it.

Knowing that you could be being watched is a major disincentive for the casual shoplifter, but security systems become a fresh target for more organised crime. If the security system is too rigid for agile deployment, or if the network can be hacked to falsify or erase data, it could leave the door wide open for well-planned theft.

Securing the LiveView solution

LiveView Technologies offers advanced video surveillance solutions to address the threat of opportunistic shoplifting, as well as organised theft. Its client base includes major big-box retailers. LiveView Technologies provides solutions that go beyond traditional closed-circuit cameras. Its turnkey solutions integrate multiple high-resolution cameras, audio components, Edge AI analytics and a variety of sensors to automatically detect problems/intrusions, deter intruders and proactively alert responsible parties.

LiveView is a cloud-first technology and as such, requires a truly global software-defined network that leverages standard Internet connections to connect locally available wireless, cellular and point-to-point connections to provide secure remote access for its customers and operational staff.  

The company provides cloud-based video streaming from fixed or mobile cameras, enabling 24/7 monitoring of vulnerable areas around retail locations or inside an entire store. Should an incident go undetected, automatic recording enables later forensic analysis of the problem. The LiveView Edge Security Platform includes: infrared motion detection and hi-res video; two-way audio with loudspeakers to challenge potential troublemakers; and analytic software for real time monitoring of system health, camera access and historical data reports on system behaviour and usage.

LiveView needed to replace existing connectivity to the Internet in a flexible manner via LTE, 5G and/or Wi-Fi in time for the launch of its in-store security platform. All of the solutions components and devices deployed by LiveView are networked in a number of ‘mini-LANs’ deployed at retail Edge locations.

These LANs connect the cameras, sensors, system controller and Wi-Fi or wireless routers and can be implemented anywhere. LiveView requires a cutting-edge Zero Trust network to tie these remote LANs to the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) tenants that LiveView creates and operates for its many clients. The NetFoundry Zero Trust NaaS platform provides the secure connectivity of the LiveView local LANs to LiveViews’s data centres and cloud infrastructure.

In the past, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) could be chosen for solutions like this, but CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) has issued a warning about vulnerabilities in VPNs. VPNs’ lack of access authentication can let hackers penetrate to the heart of the network. What’s more, a single hi-definition video camera requires significant bandwidth and can generate 2.5-10 Mb of data per second. VPNs are often unable to handle these data rates effectively. A dangerous risk for real-time surveillance. Additionally, because all video traffic is routed to a centralised video management system, with a VPN, latency is increased and that can impair overall system performance

NetFoundry enhances LiveView security

Instead of LiveView’s legacy network using LTE cellular to connect via an APN, the NetFoundry Zero Trust Platform provides a cloud-native overlay across the Internet. This offers optimised Internet connection between LiveView’s fixed or mobile security hardware, remote Edge ‘mini-LANs’ and LiveView’s cloud infrastructure. NetFoundry dynamically routes data along best performing paths to deliver optimal real-time performance for demanding high-definition surveillance data.

As a Zero Trust solution, the NetFoundry platform will not permit any access to the network without full authentication according to the client’s privacy policies. No matter who is logging on, or what device, or from what location, access is only possible if it is an authorised security agent, using a registered device in a permitted area. Authorisation could be verified by password, biometric recognition or multifactor authentication as specified by the customer. This is an important capability for solutions like LiveView, where cameras can be found in remote locations. If a bad actor attempts to physically tamper with a camera to gain access to the network, the network connection can automatically take the camera offline.

For LiveView customers, NetFoundry provides complete network flexibility. Mobile security systems can be repositioned as needed and the customer’s security team can reshape and adjust the network promptly from a single management console – much quicker and simpler than managing a plethora of VPNs. As a cloud-based NaaS offering, NetFoundry’s Zero Trust Platform can be rolled out and scaled without onsite engineers, added hardware or administrative delays.

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