Crime is an unfortunate fact of life, and for small businesses operating on slim profit margins, it can be disastrous. Yet in the whirl of launching your own company and concentrating on tasks such as setting up a website, developing your offer and establishing a customer base, it can be very easy to overlook security. In fact, you may not think of it until you fall victim to a crime, but it’s not wise to wait for things to get to this point. Security of your physical premises and security of your digital assets are hugely important things to get right. With crime against small businesses making up 20% of the total stats, it’s a significant threat to your company that you need to guard against with some careful planning. Criminals are getting more sophisticated in their methods – so how can you safeguard the business you have built up?
Complete A Risk Assessment
The first step is to complete a risk assessment that encompasses your business premises and also your cyber-security. This can look at aspects such as safety issues, legal requirements and security. Think about the location of your business and the building itself – what are the access points? How well are they lit at night? Are there metal shutters fitted to doors and windows to make it more difficult for criminals to gain entry? How is the building accessed – are there security personnel around, or is there a secure entry system using pass cards? How secure is your waste? This might sound like a minor thing, but information theft is a very serious threat that can cause huge damage reputationally and with the authorities if you are found not to have a secure method of disposal for customer records. Thinking through all the implications is essential.
Install A CCTV System
Securing your premises and being able to be remotely alerted to any intrusion attempts gives you the ultimate peace of mind. Managed commercial security camera systems can ease the pressure by safeguarding your premises for you. It means that you can concentrate on your business while your security needs are taken care of. A customized camera system ideally suited to the needs of your business can be quickly installed. Your premises are remotely monitored and you will be alerted to any unusual activity. Knowing that your surveillance is operational all the time and that you don’t have to worry if a camera system has gone down is a huge bonus. Your support team will be watching to ensure the security of your business at all times.
Give Proper Training
The security of your business doesn’t just depend on you – it’s also down to the staff that you employ. So important to make sure security is an important part of the business culture. Include a section on security in your induction process, and keep up regular reminders about it – when people get complacent, that’s when mistakes happen that can lead to a security breach. Simple steps can make a big difference – things like ensuring employees are using a secure password that gets changed regularly, that proper encryption methods are used when you need to transfer data, and that there are automatic lock functions on computers and company phones can really help. Problems often come when businesses overlook the basics.
Take Care Of Your Cyber Security
Digital security is also a big threat to small businesses. Many hackers assume that smaller companies do not have the same degree of virtual security as established ones, and deliberately target them. Attacks on your data can seriously undermine the credibility of your business and even land you with huge fines if you’re found not to have been careful enough in how you use and store it. It can be a very hard thing to come back from, so ward off the worst by keeping all data in a secure, cloud-based system.Think carefully about what data you really need to keep on customers, and don’t collect data that you don’t have a use for. Only hold information for as long as you need it, and ensure that you practice good data hygiene. This means securely deleting or in the case of paper records, shredding, files that you no longer need. The news headlines regularly explode with stories about data security breaches, so don’t be one of those companies that becomes a statistic.
Guard Against Employee Theft
No one likes to think of the people they’ve employed, but this can and does happen – from physical theft of things like petty cash or stock, to information theft or even ideas. Start by making a thorough check of references before you employ someone. A lot of small employers cut corners when it comes to this kind of thing, but a quick check will give you a lot more peace of mind. A good CCTV network which is properly monitored can help you out if you have reason to suspect employee theft. Be careful with things like access to keys and codes and install access controls to certain databases in your IT infrastructure. This will help to safeguard your property from those less scrupulous individuals who may have slipped through the net.
As security elements become more effective, criminals find ever more ingenious ways of getting around them. So the main thing that you need to do as a small business owner is to stay up to date. This can take the form of making sure that you have the latest anti-viral software installed on all machines, or it could be reading up on known scams, reviewing security footage on a regular basis or making sure that your physical systems are still up to the challenges they may face.
As a business owner, you have to juggle a million different tasks, but don’t be tempted to cut corners when it comes to your security. You can’t put a price on peace of mind and knowing that your business is secure from whatever threats it might face.