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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

The protection of corporate assets from staff pilferage

25 March, 2008
With increasing focus on the security of data assets recently, its important not to take your eye off the ball concerning physical assets as illustrated by a recent PI survey in the UK.
It may be clear why some people who work in perfume shops always smell better than everyone else and cleaning product factory workers never seem to need to dilute the remains of their washing up liquid to make it last until the next shopping trip like the rest of us. However, it isn't just product that's walking out of the doors of British businesses according to a survey published this week by a UK commercial investigator. According to him, as many as 75% of workers have stolen something during their working life and he isn't talking about minor things such as stationary or prank thefts like disappearing mouse-balls which thankfully came to an abrupt halt with the invention of the laser mouse. He's referring to serious theft of money, ornaments, furniture, computers and pretty much anything else that isn't fastened down.

He then goes on to propose that a further 50% of the remainder would steal from their employer if they thought they would get away with it. In total, this adds up to a staggering 87% which I find very hard to believe. Notwithstanding my scepticism of the validity of the survey, there is certainly a problem of sufficient scale to be worrying and the information from the survey that is of real value is the fact that about 40% of those surveyed would consider adequately monitored CCTV to be the main deterrent. Indeed, this is already beginning to bring results in combating till fraud in the retail industry by linking video to EPOS terminals, providing a visual record of each till transaction. With improved quality CCTV systems now available along with other simpler methods of controlling assets such as tracking or even simple property passes, there's no reason why any of the company's assets should drift out of the door.
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