How to Design Your Retail Space With Security in Mind

A successful retail space uses the art of design to provide a clean, aesthetically pleasing and accessible storefront and property. But businesses should also take into consideration how their security comes into play in the space. Designing your retail store with security in mind ensures that your business’ security isn’t an afterthought.

Advancements in security technology have helped retail businesses across the world better protect their physical property, valuable products, data and information, and their employees. Before implementing any retail security measures, consider the following security design strategies and how they can keep your business running securely and efficiently.

Evaluate Your Retail Store’s Location

Every retail store has unique property characteristics that should be taken into consideration when deciding on physical security — one of which includes where your store is located. Depending on if your location is accessible from the street, operating inside of a mall, a supermarket or even an airport, your security design should reflect this location.

A freestanding store will require more security attention as there is no additional security infrastructure, like a shopping center with video cameras or security guards. Retail locations on the street often have multiple doors that can be directly accessible to anyone if they’re not properly secured, requiring additional security measures for each entry point, such as a video camera and access control.


Retail stores located in malls may have more robust security outside of the store, but security inside should still be strong. Both stores in malls and freestanding stores should use an access control solution for rooms like stockrooms and offices to ensure only the right people — including the right employees or managers — can enter. Business owners can ensure there’s a secure solution by installing commercial key card door locks that support additional entry methods, such as key fobs or smartphone app access, to allow authorized employees a convenient and safe entry.

Maximize the Visibility and Power of Your Security Cameras

When designing your retail space, where and how you use security cameras is key to loss prevention. Keep the following ideas in mind when implementing camera products and software.

Strategically place your cameras: Having eyes across the entire store is essential, but it’s especially critical to have clear visibility of what’s going on at the most important spots of the retail property. Ensure security cameras point directly toward all entrances and exits, as this can help you see where any theft is occurring or when unauthorized employees are entering prohibited areas or rooms. You should also use cameras to see what’s occurring at the point of sale with a clear view of the cash register or tablet, the cashier and the customer. Areas with valuable inventory, like stockrooms, should also be visible. Ensure that your store has proper lighting for clear video footage.

Use a video management system: Video analytics software gives you valuable data and insights into your footage. Many systems use AI technology that can help detect suspicious activity or threat alerts, empowering business owners to make better security decisions that protect the bottom line. A cloud-based video management system allows for remote management of your security camera systems, a key feature that ensures business owners and managers can react and make decisions in an instant, even when they’re offsite.

Integrate cameras with other systems for powerful visibility: Video management systems can be integrated with other commercial security systems, such as alarms or access control solutions, to create an interconnected framework. For example, you can connect your video management systems to an armed burglar alarm system or EAS and RFID access control system, triggering cameras to capture an attempted break-in or theft so you can review and audit this footage. An interconnected video management system can also automatically contact law enforcement, trigger a lockdown and send real-time notifications to alert managers of suspicious entries or break-ins.

Ensure Secure and Convenient Access for all Employees

In an industry where employee turnover is a common issue and many workers have differing schedules as full-time, part-time or seasonal employees, retail businesses face a unique challenge in managing their workforce. With employee schedules fluctuating, access control can keep this organized, ensuring only the authorized employees can get the right access at the right time.

Mapping out a retail space with access control in mind can help you limit which employees get access to the property for an opening or closing shift, and assign authority to who can enter stockrooms or office spaces containing cash or sensitive business and customer information. Invest in an access control solution that allows for remote management — this way, you can quickly give or revoke access permissions from your computer or smartphone whenever needed.

Many access control solutions allow for integrations with other productivity and identity services that can assist in onboarding and offboarding employees. An identity service integration, for example, can connect with your access control system by syncing a list of active employees, helping you automatically revoke credentials when an employee leaves.

Invest in Cybersecurity to Protect Your Assets

Even if you think your retail business is too small to be a target of a malicious cyberattack, think again. In fact, according to Forbes, small businesses are targeted more often in comparison to larger companies. No matter the size of your business, it’s important to ensure your technology is protected from potential threats like ransomware that can cause significant losses in revenue.

Frame cybersecurity with physical security in mind: A large portion of leading security systems use IoT devices that all connect via the internet or other communicating network, making cybersecurity necessary where physical security is present. For example, security tools connected to the internet, like video camera systems and smart door locks, can be targets of a cybersecurity attack, as they can be accessible over an unprotected network. Newer AI-powered solutions can help you find anomalies in your network and IoT device activity, giving your team key information to take action against an attack. Similarly, physical security measures can help protect areas where computers and customer data are stored.

Consider a mobile POS system: Retail cybersecurity should protect your business’ valuable data and transactions. When designing your space, consider investing in secure IoT technology, like smart mobile POS systems instead of traditional registers.

Review relationships with third-party vendors: Working with third-party technology providers, although beneficial for your business, can enhance your risk for data breaches. Review the risks of each third party you’re working with and verify they follow best cybersecurity practices, including multi-factor authentication and least-privilege access models. Ensure they meet local compliances for data security and privacy such as the California Privacy Rights Act, the EU General Data Protection Regulation or New York’s SHIELD Act.

Andi Krebs is the lead copywriter for Openpath Security, a leading provider of mobile and cloud-based access control solutions for business and commercial spaces. Krebs covers commercial and business security solutions with a focus on touchless technology and access control. With more than eight years of experience across a range of industries including ecommerce, business, and tech, Krebs has a keen eye for identifying upcoming security trends and intuitive software solutions for the commercial real estate and enterprise market.


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