For centuries, businesses have been threatened by various kinds of dangers: people with criminal intent (intruders and own employees) as well as natural disasters. And in recent history criminals have figured out how to steal through cyberspace. Securing your business is much more than installing alarm systems and electronic door locks on your commercial doors. This article will help you outline an effective comprehensive security plan for your business.
1) Theft in The Workplace
Protecting your business against employee theft is a difficult balancing act. How do you deter a dishonest employee without affecting the morale and productivity of everybody else?
Remember that only the dishonest employee needs a place to hide. They need to conceal their criminal ambition. Eliminate those hiding places by maintaining accountability both visually (via hardware) and digitally (via software).
Create a culture that says “Everything is out in the open!”. Eliminate blind spots by installing cameras. But make sure the cameras are visible. A concealed camera is no deterrent to a dishonest employee.
There’s a reason cashiers have been required to reconcile their cash drawers for decades. It prevents theft. When a dishonest employee knows all business assets are accounted for, they are less likely to steal. Make sure you have a comprehensive inventory management system in place. Inventory management is not just good for profit. It’s also good for theft prevention.
Data Access Credentials Management
No prudent security manager makes copies of the CFO’s office key for the people working at the front desk. In the same way, access to top-level digital information should be restricted to only those who need it.
You may already have access control in place for file cabinets, storage areas, and offices-through keys and key cards. Expand access control to your digital assets.
2) Burglary and 3) Vandalism
A burglar wants to steal property. A vandal wants to destroy property. But both want access to your building. The security measures used to prevent both burglary and vandalism are similar.
Reliable Commercial Door Locks
Secure all exterior doors with commercial grade door locks. Residential door locks will not withstand commercial use. A commercial cylindrical lock with a lever handle on the exterior coupled with a panic bar on the interior is the most common exterior door lock configuration. However, consider upgrading it to a reliable mortise deadbolt coupled with a strike plate. An electronic keypad, a biometric scanning device, or a card reader can be added as an advanced additional feature. This comprehensive guide on types of commercial security hardware will help you choose the right locks for your business.
Anyone with criminal intent is startled when a bright motion light comes on as they approach the building. Motion lights send a signal that someone is watching. Install motion lighting around the exterior of your property. Make sure all entry points to the building are well-lit.
Cameras are a great deterrent to both burglary and vandalism. But they must be highly visible to be effective. To save costs, mix fake security cameras with operational cameras. Also, make sure to post plenty of signs letting criminals know that your property is under video surveillance. If you have a lot of glass surrounding your property, for an added layer of protection, you may want to look into bulletproof window film just in case there is an attempt to do harm and cause damage to the area.
Criminals don’t like being interrupted by loud sirens. Sirens tell them they’ve been noticed-and that they have a limited amount of time to escape. Install sensors in the right places of your property. Although criminals prefer not to break glass to get into a building, glass breakage alarms are also effective.
Good landscaping design will help prevent crime, but as long as it’s done according to the rules. It’s pretty obvious that thorny shrubs can keep criminals away from windows and water features will cause inconvenience to burglars, but the security measures extend far beyond this. Here is what Claudia Chandler, an experienced gardener at a Houston-based janitorial company Quick Response Janitorial Services, shares on this subject:
“When business owners ask us for a quote on upgrading the landscaping of their property for security purposes, they are often surprised by the scope of work and the price for everything. Usually, people don’t imagine much besides a few rose bushes planted here and there, but in fact there is a whole set of rules developed specifically for improving commercial security. It’s called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design-CPTED. It has four components: natural surveillance, natural access control, territorial reinforcement, and maintenance. For considerable results, you should combine different measures according to the standards to ensure you don’t waste your budget”.
4) Natural Disasters
A criminal can’t cause lightning to strike a business. And no security expert can stop an earthquake. But the damage from natural disasters can be lessened with proper planning.
Building Disaster Proofing
Modern building codes require commercial property to be constructed in ways that protect against natural disasters. Older buildings, however, are vulnerable to natural disasters.
If your property has a high risk of fire damage, you can lessen your risk by retrofitting the interior and/or the exterior. You can encase walls, roof, and floor with fire-proof materials. You can contact a company specializing in fire door services to fit some in the building which should prevent a fire from spreading. And you can install a fire protection system for added security. The fires from arson or equipment failure are not considered as natural disasters. But they use the same prevention methods.
If your property is vulnerable to earthquake damage, you can protect it too. My friend Harry Wilkin, a commercial real estate investor from Property Cashin, says:
“In California, each time after a good earthquake, there is a high competition among us, investors, who are looking to buy a property with a structural damage cheap. Unfortunately for us, it’s becoming harder, as with each year we have fewer buildings that are not yet earthquake proof. So we even keep track of properties that are yet undamaged and bet which one is going to be available for sale this year. If you don’t want to have to sell yours to an investor like me someday, consider to hire a contractor for soft story retrofitting. This means improving a building, vulnerable to earthquake damage, by adding to its structural elements or reinforcing the existing ones. In many areas these retrofits are mandated by law, by the way”.
Backing Up Equipment and Documents
Businesses frequently backup electronic information automatically through various cloud backup services. But critically important data should also be backed up on storage devices. They should be stored off-site, unless on-site storage is safe from fire, water, and wind damage.
Important paper documents should be scanned and stored electronically. And the original paper documents should be stored in areas safe from fire, water, wind damage, and even rodents and termites.
5) Cyber Threats
If you retrofitted your business with the latest lockset technology five years ago, you are still up to date. But your cyber security has to be updated on a continual basis.
Accenture Security produced a paper in 2019 outlining what they consider the most pressing future cyber threats.
● Credential and identity theft
● Data theft and manipulation
● Disruptive and destructive malware
● Emerging technologies: Blockchain, cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence
Here you can read the entire report.
Make sure all your electronic equipment has the latest updates for both the system and any antivirus software. Updates are automatically installed in most cases. Calendar updates for those devices that have to be updated manually.
Instruct all employees to use strong passwords. And make sure all passwords are stored in a password manager-not on a piece of paper.
Multi-step verification is a two-step login process. When employees have to verify their identity twice before accessing critical company information, security is significantly increased. If someone is a victim of identity theft through this, they may want to look into using an identity theft lawyer Denver firm, or a firm where they are so they can start the process of defense.
Your general liability policy may exclude cyber liability. Cyber insurance is designed to cover your business’s liability for any data breach involving sensitive customer information. Make sure you have cyber liability coverage.
Personal Device Policy
Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are considered personal devices. They can be brought to work by employees and connected to commercial computers, which increases the risk of infecting your network with a virus as well as data leak. To avoid this, a personal device policy must be in place. It is meant to prevent company information from getting into the wrong hands-intentionally or unintentionally.
Infographic: 14 Tips to Improve the Security of Your Business
In addition, here is an infographic that summarizes measures that could help you protect your business: