Beware of fake Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emails

In this special edition of Tom’s Tek Tips, we will focus on risk. With the current situation related to COVID-19 there are a host of scammers trying to take advantage of people and the situation. Some old tricks, some new. My hope is that these tips will keep you cyber safe during these unprecedented times.  

Beware of fake Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emails. Scammers and criminals have been sending out fake CDC emails and other organizations claiming to offer information on the virus. Do not click links or open attachments if you do not recognize the senderScammers and Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information or to lock your computer (Ransomware) and demand payment. If you need information from the CDC the best thing to do is go to https://www.cdc.gov/ directly.  

Get More Done: Optimize Virtual Meetings

Most companies have moved to remote-work models, so most meetings are taking place via virtual conference applications. Don’t let this shift have negative impact on your business practices. Optimize your virtual meetings with these quick tips.

Establish “House Rules”

To keep everyone on the same page and keep the meeting running efficiently, establish rules for the meeting. Some helpful rules include:

  • Create a meeting agenda and send it out ahead of your meeting. Inform participants of any pre-work that needs to be done, so everyone comes prepared to contribute to the meeting.
  • Create time allotments for each topic and assign a timekeeper to manage the time for efficiency.
  • Ask participants to mute their microphone when not talking to avoid distracting background noise.

Encourage Participation

Keep the discussion open by encouraging every participant to share their ideas and opinions. Some ways to encourage participation include:

  • Open the meeting with introductions. Say hello or ask specific questions to individuals to make them feel included.
  • Call on individuals for their input on a topic. Assigning pre-work helps to make sure participants aren’t caught off guard.
  • Assign an individual to lead a certain portion of the meeting.

Wrap Up and Assign Next Steps

At the end of the meeting, it is important to recap important takeaways from the conversation to ensure alignment and clarity on next steps.

  • Review next steps and assign tasks so participants have a clear understanding of their responsibilities.
  • If there are areas that need further clarification, set a meeting to continue the conversation.
  • Set the next meeting during the call. Have everyone pull up their schedules to eliminate back and forth email communications.

New Risk Edition of Tom’s Tek Tips Launches in D&D Daily

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (Mar. 25, 2020) – Tom Meehan, CFI, chief strategy officer and chief information security officer at CONTROLTEK and author of the weekly mini-column Tom’s Tek Tips, published in D&D Daily, introduces a new edition on mitigating risk.

Tom’s Tek Tips are bite-sized lessons on technology focusing on retail asset protection. Each tip is written so that it can be read in under 30 seconds. The new Tom’s Tek Tip: Risk Edition will focus on tips for mitigating physical and cybersecurity risks that many business professionals are faced with and which are heightened during the current Coronavirus pandemic.

“The column was design to provide quick insights around the challenges LP professionals face and ways to protect themselves.” said Gus Downing, publisher and editor of the D&D Daily. “Pulling from his broad experience in risk management, physical security, investigations and data analytics, Tom delivers ways to keep us armed for what’s ahead.”

“This unprecedented time has us all faced with unique business challenges, said Meehan. “I think it is important, now more than ever, we come together and care for one another. I hope these tips provide value to retail LP professionals as we prepare for and mitigate the ever changing trends in physical and cybersecurity.”

Tom’s Tek Tip: Risk Edition will be published every Tuesday in the D&D Daily beginning next Tuesday, March 31st.

###

About CONTROLTEK
Since 1976 CONTROLTEK has been a global leader in tamper-evident security packaging, helping banks, armored couriers and retailers transport cash safely and securely. The company’s expanding line of inventory protection and visibility solutions also helps retailers protect their merchandise better and run their operations more efficiently. As a second-generation family owned business, with a history of stable growth and a reputation for strong customer focus, CONTROLTEK continues to deliver on its mission every single day: to provide solutions that protect and to always deliver on their promises.

Media Contact
Kim Scott
Director of Marketing
(908) 603-0066
Kim.Scott@controltekusa.com

Securing a Remote Workforce

The evolving Coronavirus pandemic has many companies deploying work-from-home arrangements. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of this shift by crafting new phishing and malware operations. Ensure your team is equipped with these quick cybersecurity and remote work tips.

5 Email Safety Tips for Remote-Work Employees

  1. Never click links for more information or download attachments when sent from an unknown or unrecognized sender.
  2. Before you click a link, hover over it to see the actual web address that is linked. Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link. If the address does not match or looks suspicious, don’t click.
  3. If you receive a suspicious email from a colleague, look closely at the sender email address to ensure it is accurate. In doubt, pick up the phone and call the sender to check for legitimacy. If you are unsure about an email from an outside source, talk it through with a colleague or contact the business or organization using contact information from their official company website.
  4. Don’t send sensitive information such as login IDs, password, date of birth, social security number, credit card information, or other personal information in response in email.
  5. Report suspicious messages as spam to your email provider or IT department.

 

The Constant in the Change: Our Focus and Commitment to Our Customers

We know this is a trying time for everyone. We recognize our industry is facing unprecedented challenges and unknowns as we seek to navigate this situation in the best ways possible.

Being a family-owned business for 42 years, we have experienced times of change and times of uncertainty, caused by natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes, terrorist attacks and market crashes. Amidst them, one thing has always been constant. Our focus and commitment to our customers. Although there’s never been a crisis quite like this one, this time is no different.

As you protect your employees and families, address business challenges and risks, and mitigate the current global health crisis, we want you to know we are committed to supporting you.

We have fully implemented our remote work model, to minimize health risk among our employees. Our preparedness and remote capabilities allow us to provide you uninterrupted, reliable and responsive customer support.

Message from the CONTROLTEK CEO regarding Coronavirus (covid-19)

We continue to be in constant communication with our supply chain partners who are working diligently to avoid disruptions. And our distribution centers continue to be fully operational with solutions in stock and ready to be delivered.

We recognize this crisis will impact your organization, resources and focus to balance immediate with the long-term needs. It has never been more important to us to provide you support and solutions to overcome these unique challenges you are facing, and we encourage you to contact us if there is anything we can do to help.

On behalf of our entire team, we wish you continued health and safety through this difficult time.

Best Regards,

Coronavirus Update: A Message From CONTROLTEK

At CONTROLTEK, the health and well-being of our employees, customers and partners are our top priorities. We continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak and we are taking necessary actions to manage our response to this pandemic. Our comprehensive Business Continuity and Health Emergency Event plans ensure safety of our employees and consistent service for our customers in emergency situations.

Following is a brief update on the steps we’re taking to do our part in minimizing the current outbreak and to balance the safety of our employees and commitment to our customers.

  • We’re staying up to date with the information provided by both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and following guidance from federal, state and local agencies.
  • Employees from our offices are fully equipped to work remotely with little to no reduction in maintaining business as usual.
  • We are closely monitoring the potential impact on our supply chain and manufacturing capabilities. We are in constant communication with our partners and we are working diligently to avoid disruptions.
  • Our distribution centers have implemented precautionary procedures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and have commercial sanitization and disinfecting service providers on standby in case of emergency.
  • We’re taking comprehensive reviews, at all levels of our company, to monitor and proactively address any concerns and to retain our focus on customers.

As with any potential disruption, we will provide prompt notice of any impact to our operations and facilities. We are confident in our preparedness to provide a consistent experience within expectation during this rapidly changing situation.

If you have any questions, please contact a CONTROLTEK representative at support@controltekusa.com.

Best Regards,

Team CONTROLTEK

2020 Retail Trends That Will Impact Asset Protection

This article originally appeared in Loss Prevention Magazine.

As an observer and avid reader about the ever-changing retail and technology industry, it is hard for me not to form opinions of where our industry is going. Following are my thoughts on the trends I see impacting asset protection and retail professionals this year and beyond.

The Internet of Things (Iot) Is Here to Stay.

IoT will further our hyperconnected world in many aspects, particularly in retail. Interaction with technology will create a more personalized experience for the customer, who will shop using augmented reality and interactive smartphone apps. Retailers will need to continue to invest in IoT in order to stay connected with their customers. As early as 2018, 88 percent of early adopters of IoT in retail reported that IoT helped them gain increased insight into customer preferences. For example, IoT devices fitted with RFID technology can be used to create smart shelves, which can improve inventory management by automatically tracking inventory and sending alerts to managers if a certain item is running low on stock or will expire soon. This is just one example of how IoT devices can help retailers make more efficient decisions in their inventory management to avoid oversupply, shortage of products, and theft. IoT devices will also become a growing part of store associates’ equipment, so they can better serve the customer. These devices, such as mobile devices outfitted with intuitive apps, bring inventory management data from the warehouse directly to the store associate to increase the retailers’ understanding of the customer.

Brands Will Continue to Evolve with Technology.

Though well-known brick-and-mortar stores have closed their doors and many others have filed for bankruptcy, this does not mean the end for other retail stores. Many retailers have already begun adapting to a more digital age, focusing on having a smaller brick-and-mortar footprint and improving their customer experiences both in store and online. Brands are investing more into social media marketing after recognizing the impact of social media on customers’ decision-making. Big-name retailers, such as Sephora and Samsung, have also expanded into experiential retail to target millennials, who tend to prefer experiences over products, to create compelling reasons for shoppers to visit a brick-and-mortar store.

Retailers Need to Create an Immersive Customer Experience in Order to Handle the Generational Difference in Customers.

In 2019, millennials have surpassed baby boomers to be the largest living generation in the United States. Nearly all millennials own a smartphone, and nearly half of them make purchases on these devices at least once a month, with almost a third doing so once a week. The growing millennial and Gen Z populations want a more convenient and accessible shopping experience, and they are more than willing to provide some personal information to retailers in order to have a more personalized customer experience. However, as the digitization of shopping increases, retailers need to protect customers’ private data to maintain and further increase trust in their brands.

Retailers Will See an Increase in Cyber Attacks, and How They Respond Will Be What Saves Them.

With the rapid growth of data breaches and other cyber attacks targeting major organizations, retailers need to acknowledge this threat in their cyber-security protocols. In 2019, data breaches targeted many major retailers, including Macy’s, Poshmark, Planet Hollywood, Kay Jewelers, Marriott, Adidas, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Panera, whose customer data became compromised in these attacks. Implementing basic security measures, such as strong passwords for IoT devices and encryption, is the simplest way to deter a cyber attacker from targeting your store. Having response plans in place is another way to alleviate the impact of a cyber attack, should one get past your cyber-security measures.

Big-Box Retailers Are Becoming More Competitive with Amazon.

It is obvious that Amazon has redefined retail for the twenty-first century, from the birth of its digital assistant Alexa to the launch of Amazon Go, its chain of automated convenience stores, in 2019. But it is important that instead of becoming distracted by Amazon’s technological developments, retailers compete by offering a superior customer experience. Though Amazon dominates the online shopping market, it cannot compete against other big-box retailers like Walmart, whose large physical footprint has maintained its status as a household name in the United States. Retail sales still heavily favor brick-and-mortar in the US, with 85 percent of transactions still taking place in stores.

Retailers Need to Make the Checkout Process More Seamless.

Most retailers are a ways away from completely cashierless stores, but customers still expect digital or contactless payments, such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, to be more widely accepted to make checkout faster and easier for them. Other checkout evolutions, such as self-checkout, “scan and go” checkout, and cryptocurrency, all tie back to ease of checkout for the customer. As we enter 2020, more retailers should introduce digital payments to their systems to improve the customer experience.

We Will See a Greater Focus on the Store Associate Experience.

With all these technological developments, many retailers have been caught up in preserving the customer experience while ignoring their own store associates, which is just as important. As IoT devices and other technology are introduced into retail stores, associates’ roles are changing rapidly. Customers expect store associates to be able to quickly provide information about inventory and create a personalized shopping experience. Retailers need to invest their resources into training and equipping store associates with the resources they need, such as intuitive technology and training in digitization, so they can evolve with their customers’ needs.

Technology is not here to eliminate us; it’s here to make our jobs and our lives easier. Though there has been a period of adjustment in the past few years, retail will continue to evolve with technology. As retailers, your responsibility is to focus your efforts on improving the customer experience using the new tools at your disposal.


Tom’s column is featured in every issue of Loss Prevention Magazine. To subscribe to the printed version of the magazine and enjoy other great content, visit losspreventionmedia.com.