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Security is important to supermarkets because their computers are a cog in the running of the supermarket, it is vital no-one without authority can access the computer systems as they contain private and vital information, dealing with many aspects of the running of the supermarket. Computers in supermarkets deal with so many things, such as CCTV cameras, their web sites, automatic stock check, EPOS, advertisements and posters, food labels, bar codes, even the automatic doors. If at any point the information was changed or lost it was cause disaster in the supermarket franchise business.

Systems can be protected by the use of passwords; this is a simple measure and can quickly be installed. Each staff member can have their one username and password to hopefully disable unauthorised users to enter the computer system, or certainly make it harder for them to do so. In a business there is almost no way of knowing other peoples passwords as there is such a large number of people, and such a variety of passwords, it would almost be impossible to guess. Firewalls are also another method of protecting the computer system. Only authorised people are let into the system. This uses a username and password, a telephone number of the set computer and possibly a code. This too is easy to do and will be easy to install into staff members brains.

By encrypting worksheets the system can be protected. Purchases can be made using debit-credit cards. To grant access on the computer system a quick name of personal details can be used ensuring only staff will no the answers, this too can be done on the Internet. All of these methods are renowned for being used by numerous businesses and generally speaking are realisable at protecting computer systems. The one major downfall of these applications and software is that they are all accessible to hackers. The amount of people that are able to access it is reduced as many do not know how to work hacking programmes or indeed how to ‘hack’ into a computer system though those people that do will be able to break into the system.

Something that helps to eliminate further problems is virus checkers; they stop receding viruses of worms, and are basic. They do become out of date very quickly but are another safety measure to try and secure the system. Something that came into force recently- 1 March 2000 was the Data Protection Act 1998. This helps to make sure that information is handled properly i.e. Makes sure information does not become erroneous nor fall into the wrong hands. It sets rules for processing personal information- the core of a working business applying to both paper records and records kept on computer. The Data Protection Act works in two ways. As well as giving you certain rights, it states that those who record and use personal information must be open about how the information is used and must follow the eight principles of ‘good information handling.’

When data is handled following these eight principles it ensure that it is being handled correctly according to the Data Protection Act. It must fairly and lawfully processed, processed for limited purposes, adequate, relevant and not excessive, accurate, not kept for longer then is necessary, processed in line with your rights, be secure and not transferred to countries without adequate protection. If supermarkets make sure they have details about this on their computers there would be great benefits for the good of the business. It would help to fight crime i.e., the system being entered by unauthorised persons and being used illegally, affecting the business substantially. Better medical care is another benefit. Benefits like this infect would make employees become more motivated which is the highest thing in the hierarchy of needs for employers. This would make a business run altogether more efficiently, as well as protecting the systems.

Like the other software packages and applications that can be used, the Data Protection Act also has problems. If information is entered wrongly, for example being out of date, users could be unfairly refused jobs, houses etc or even arrested. I do strongly believe the Data Protection Act is a preventative Act, which really does give great insurance to the business that information will not be placed in the wrong hands.

Physical security is another sort of security, but is too an important mean of ensuring other things in the supermarket, such as valuables, company information, databases, stock, budgets, EFTPOS, payroll, staff information and personal belonging are as safe as the other aspects in the computer system. There is a wide variety of ways to physically secure these things. I believe the best preventative measures to install around the supermarket to protect these other things are as follows: passwords, locks, codes, voice recognition, infrared sensors, pressure sensitive ground, reinforced heavy duty doors, security guards, retinal scanners, fingerprint scanning, swipe cards, number locks, laser beams and alarms.

To conclude, I believe anything and everything is a liability, so to prevent a major business corruption you need to be safe, hence why they are physical security measures in place, and computers having security software packages and applications installed. There is so much that can be done to ruin a whole business, sometimes even leading to a business becoming bankrupt or net cash flow decreasing consistently. Posters, leaflets/pamphlets that are designed on a computer can be broken into. Prices or details can be changed or the addressee for the leaflets, etc.

This could cause the business to be advertised poorly or lose out to business competitors, or stop receiving business from major customers who may go there for deals and special offers etc, losing out on a lot of money. Physically things can be stolen which means insurance premiums are increased, staff no longer feel that their belongings are secure so resign or sue the company, causing the company to become bankrupt or left with no employees. Another result of the computer system being hacked into because of the lack of security is prices being changed so customers do not want to buy products in the supermarket. They could be fooled if someone has changed the barcode number in the system so the number on the database and product are not compatible, or confusion. It may even cost the business money or the customer money, making the business liable to be legally battled by the customer.

Automatic stock checks could also be changed by hackers so there is not enough stock in the supermarket, or they receive too much and as they haven’t even made the profit from it they can’t afford to re-order more. Supermarkets rely on ICT and the products they sell, if hackers change information that is private to the business effecting the products and general running of the business and destructing the whole business, it will eventually no longer be able to run as a business! This is why security is so essential to a business.

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