What is De-Identified Data?

De-identified data is data that’s considered direct & known. Generally, it contains indirect identifiers – some data points are removed or manipulated to break the linkage to a real-world identity. For example, you may remove an address from an exception report but leave a customer number. In this example you would be able to relink the address to the customer number. De-identified differs from anonymous data because the identity may be re-acquired in most instances.

The Risk of Default Passwords

Most network and Internet of Things devices (IoT) have default passwords. A default password is usually used to allow the device to be accessed during its initial setup, or after resetting to factory defaults. The biggest risk is the fact that default passwords are ready available. All you need is the model and manufacturer to easily find the default password on the internet. There are even lists of these passwords available to the public as a hacking or technical support resource.

Routers and IP cameras have recently been in the news a lot due to the risk of default passwords. Network switches, IP phones and many other devices have the same risk. Both commercial and consumer devices are at risk. Some manufacture requires that the default password is changed at setup.

At home, check your router and change the default password. At work, check IP cameras, network switch and other network devices.

What is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an European Union (EU) regulation intend to enhance data protection for all individuals within the EU. It addresses the export of personal data outside the EU. The intent of the GDPR is to give control back to people of their own personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business. The GDRP becomes enforceable in May 2018. It applies to controllers and processors of data. International retailers will be affected.

CONTROLTEK Launches New Website Ahead of NRF Big Show

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., (January 16, 2018)CONTROLTEK, an emerging leader in retail product protection, launched a new website showcasing EAS and RFID tags, systems and consulting services designed to help loss prevention teams reduce shrink and increase work efficiencies.

“Our company was recently recognized for the amazing success of its First Time Right program in nationwide systems deployment,” said Steve Sell, CONTROLTEK’s Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing. “We decided to launch a new website to show what makes working with CONTROLTEK so different, and to make it easier for loss prevention teams of any size to find the right solution for their current needs.”

According to Sell, CONTROLTEK’s focus in 2018 is increasing the reach and accessibility of its award-winning solutions to the LP industry, and the new easy-to-navigate website is one small step in that direction.

What is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a continuously list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Blockchain technology allows digital information to be distributed securely. It is a type of digital ledger typically related to a financial transaction. It keeps a record of the financial transactions and virtually everything of value from a data standpoint. The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is based on this technology, as are many newer ones.

What are Cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are a subset of digital currencies that may also be called virtual currencies. In simple terms, a cryptocurrency is money that exists only in the digital world. The most well-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies use cryptography and advanced mathematical principles with data to achieve three objectives: (1.) secure transactions, (2.) control the creation of additional units of currency, and (3.) verify the transfer of value. They use a peer-to-peer decentralized system to conduct transactions and protect the anonymity of users. The entire process is online.

How to Become a Subject-Matter Expert

(This article originally appeared in Loss Prevention Magazine)

Work experience doesn’t necessarily mean you are a subject-matter expert. It could mean you know more than some people. A true subject-matter expert (SME) must have deep understanding of a particular process, function, or technology; must have studied the field; and must have spent hundreds—even thousands—of hours mastering a specific business topic. An easy way to define an SME is that this is a person who knows a great deal more about the topic than others with comparable experience. That being said, you may still be called an expert just by understanding more than others.

SMEs often share their knowledge freely. In retail, asset protection needs true SMEs more than ever. Our industry is changing at a rapid pace, and as AP professionals we need to stay relevant. The challenge is that technology’s rate of evolution is exponential, whereas people tend to move incrementally when it comes to learning new things. Often it’s the adoption and usage curve that slows AP down. Additionally, the implementation of new technology can be daunting.

Earn It

I am often asked how I learned about a particular technology or process. I will share a few examples. Several years ago, I was asked about interview and interrogation techniques by a newer, younger, brighter AP person. She was eager to learn and asked great questions. I explained the standard process to get certified and how to watch others, ask questions, and practice. The next day I brought her into my office and showed her my bookshelf because I forgot one thing: “I read a lot.” I didn’t realize it until that point that I had virtually every book on interview and interrogation there is, and I read them all, some more than once.

Another question she asked was how do I know so much about security systems and CCTV. At first I said, “I just know from working with it over the years.” But then it dawned on me—I asked questions, knew whom to partner with, researched, studied, read books, and took the approach of a lifetime student. If I am in a meeting and don’t know enough about a topic, I make an effort to learn about it. Even as I took on more responsibility, I never stopped reading and learning. I have a yearly goal of reading a book a week.

The colleague who asked me these questions, like many young AP professionals, has a distinct advantage over when I started twenty years ago—the Internet was not what it is today. Nowadays, you can look up anything and read about it instantly. In many cases you can watch a video at no cost. Social media allows you to hear what others are saying about a topic and connect directly with SMEs. You can even ask about a topic online to gather more understanding.

If you feel like you’ve become an expert or SME, you should probably not be the first one to call yourself that. Let others recognize you. I remember the first time someone called me to ask for advice on how to monitor social media. I never thought of myself as an expert. It’s great to be seen as one and called one. But I should also mention that if you are an SME, don’t deny it when someone calls you that—it can be viewed as false humility.

Your To-Do List

Here are some steps that I believe helped me become a subject-matter expert in a few areas:

  • Never stop learning.
  • Read a lot to include books, news, blogs, audiobooks, and podcasts. All of it counts.
  • Ask questions.
  • Know the experts in your field and network with them.
  • Set a goal for yourself of mastering the topics that interest you.

Recently, I was asked how I manage to write for magazines and blogs, speak at shows, and do podcasts. The short answer is to put yourself out there. Start to write about what you know and submit to various outlets. If you know what you are talking about, people will notice it and will invite you to share your opinions and experiences.

As retail changes, take advantage of learning new technologies, methods, and strategies. Embrace the change and never stop learning. Follow blogs, read this magazine, and listen to podcasts. All of the information is yours to take. Be good to your peers and share what you know. If you do that, we will all become better.


Tom’s column regularly appears on every issue of LP Magazine. To subscribe to the printed version of the magazine and enjoy other great content visit losspreventionmedia.com