Security should be a concern to organisations of all sizes, however, the ramifications of a security breach can be more severe for smaller businesses who may not have the capital or the manpower to recover from the loss.
Small companies face both internal and external security risks, and although all business leaders will accept the importance of providing a risk-free and safe working environment for their employees, they may lack the knowledge or the finances to make that happen. Fortunately, there are simple, cost-effective steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a business security breach.
Spot the potential security flaws, and collaborate on solutions
You can’t start to establish a business security plan without identifying current flaws. Entrepreneur points out that potential security flaws are everywhere, not just physically but online in increasing numbers. That’s because, as new digital pathways into your business open up, more holes will appear and more criminals who know how to exploit them.
Before you start to implement an office security strategy, ask yourself a few questions: Do ex-employees still have sets of keys? Do you know how many sets of keys there are and when these were last changed? Do people who no longer work for the company have access to online passwords and sensitive information? If you can’t answer these questions, your business is vulnerable.
Spotting these flaws takes more than a quick look around the office. It takes collaboration and communication with staff and potentially outside security professionals. You can’t guarantee that burglars or cyber criminals won’t successfully target your business, but you can make it as difficult for them as possible.
Invest in access control for your office
In terms of physical security, the most effective way of tightening business security is by literally controlling who enters your office. Installing an access control system goes one step beyond traditional locks and alarms.
For a start, access control cards are much harder to duplicate than keys; these cards will also give you data on who came into the building and when they did so. Of course, some access control systems use even more sophisticated methods of controlling who enters a building. Bridger Security, who are specialists in property security, state that modern access control systems are tailor-made to fit any commercial property, and “while basic systems may use audio entry, more sophisticated equipment includes high-resolution video entry systems.”
Of course, many small business owners may be put off by the perceived extra cost. However, although you will need to spend more on an access control system than traditional locks, you won’t have to worry about calling out a locksmith every time a set of keys go missing. For properties of any size, this may represent the safest and most efficient form of security.
Keep your digital network secure
Most businesses will have some sort of digital presence, and for smaller businesses, online hackers and scammers pose a new and unique threat. A 2016 research paper found that all sectors are vulnerable to this type of attack. However, the sectors experiencing by far the highest online crime incidence rates, administrative and support services and information and communication, are both generally office-based.
For small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), the most severe digital breaches cost as much as £310,800. For many businesses, losing that amount of money would be devastating. There are simple steps you can take to counteract online threats, which include securing wifi networks, and introducing network Firewalls like pfsense or Cisco ASA firewall.
Again, this may seem like more needless expenditure. However, investing in digital security is not just a necessity, it can also be an opportunity. According to Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey: “British businesses remain an attractive target for cyber-attack and the cost is rising dramatically. Businesses that take this threat seriously are not only protecting themselves and their customers’ data but securing a competitive advantage.”
Make sure your employees are aware of security protocol
The last and most important aspect of business security is not installing high-tech entry systems, or making sure your digital network is watertight, but that all of your staff are trained and are working together to ensure the safety of your office. Any security system can be rendered useless without employees who are committed to making it work.
The same applies to cyber security; training staff and creating a security-minded culture is key. Hackers usually gather information by using ‘social hacking’ techniques, which involves tricking staff within a business to give up sensitive information.
To make sure everybody is on the same page, business leaders should introduce a workplace security policy. According to the Employment Law Handbook, setting rules and guidelines for decision-making in routine situations will help with efficiency as well as security, as employees and managers will not need to continually ask senior managers what to do.
There will always be threats to your business’s security, but if you establish a well thought out security plan, there’s no reason why your business should be in danger.