How to Improve the Physical Security of Your Small Business
No matter if you have a home office or storefront, physical products or a tech company, theft and vandalism put your company in financial risk. The cost to replace broken or stolen materials. The cost of downtime as your business is unable to function normally. These types of issues distract from what really matters: running your business. Take the first step in protecting your business, and improve your business’ physical security.
Assessing Your Risks
Most small businesses have limited budgets to spend on growth, let alone security. That is why it is immensely important to know what you need before you buy. Completing a risk assessment on your business narrows your focus, and directs you toward the types of protection that you most need.
The simplest way to think about risk is in terms of particular threats and your vulnerability to said threats. If you have a threat, but no vulnerability, there is no risk. Similarly, a vulnerability with no threat equals zero risk. Say you get packages delivered to your home, but the nature of your daily routine always has you out of the house. There is the threat that someone will steal the package off of your porch, and your absence makes you vulnerable to that threat being exploited.
Once you find your largest threats, you need to take action to decrease your vulnerability. However, eliminating a threat is not always possible, as certain industries have built-in threats. So by focusing on lowering your level of vulnerability, you lower the risk of loss to your company. The next step is finding out what security measures are going to help the most.
Having a surveillance camera can be a good countermeasure to the threat of theft. If the camera’s location or general presence is hidden at all criminals may doubt that you have one. A covert camera is still useful, as it can document theft to build cases against employees, partners, vendors, etc. For that reason, covert placement is used mainly inside a building. Overt placement is often used to document the exterior of a building so that random acts of theft or vandalism are discouraged.
The data on just how much crime is prevented is by security cameras is a bit muddled. There are some obvious problems with the basis of those conducting the studies, but there is no doubting the importance of documentation. If you want to press charges or have any hopes of getting your stolen materials back, you need a camera. Documentation will also give you insight that you can use to re-examine your risks.
Installing Better Locks
Changing the locks on the doors of your business is one of the easiest things a business owner can do to upgrade their security. Depending on where you conduct your business, and what your tenant/owner rights are, you may be limited to how much the locks can be changed. So check first to see what you are in your legal right to change.
Whenever possible, place high-security locks on doors that lead to expensive equipment or areas where sensitive information is stored. In cases of limited space, where highly valued items must be stored in areas with some employee and/or customer traffic, you can use locked cabinets, drawers, tethered cables, etc. Locks can even be added to existing furniture if no lock is currently present. For the in highest quality locks and better lock installation, you should contact a commercial locksmith.
If your building has heavy foot traffic, be sure to buy commercial grade locks. These locks are meant to withstand more usage and are easier to fix and maintain. Locks that do not work properly should also be replaced or serviced. A malfunctioning or difficult to use lock provides little security. They are easier for criminals to overwhelm, and employees will be more likely not to use poorly functioning locks.
Security Focused Training
As the business grows, or even at this moment, employees will represent a risk to your business. The way to fix this before it becomes an issue is with better security training. Instilling the importance of using the security you have installed will help to increase the value your employees place on security. Teach your employees to be discreet with information, as the sharing of what is stored, and where it is stored, in the business can put you at risk.
There is also the very real danger of employee theft. If absent minded workers are not putting your company at risk due to neglect, they may still wish to harm the business maliciously. This requires a focus on access control. Make sure that no one employee has full run of the office or workspace. This narrows down your suspects in the event of an issue.
You will need to complete a risk assessment for your business and decide on the issues that are most pressing. Determine whether cameras, better locks or training may help your business more. Improving your physical security can get a bit overwhelming at times, so it is best to make changes incrementally. Small periodic updates will spread the cost out, and cause less of a diversion from running your business. But remember that improving security is part of running your company. Without keeping your business safe, there will be nothing to run. To increase the chances of your business’s success you must address the risks your company faces.