When you own a small business, plan to devote a percentage of your resources to a good security system. Having the ability to anticipate unexpected events will help you successfully avoid catastrophes.
There are three main areas you need to consider when planning a complete security system for your office.
External building security
Criminals are drawn to easy targets, so don’t allow your business to fall into that category. Start by selecting a good location for your office, one that isn’t in a high-crime area. This will require a bit of research on your part, by investigating the history, other businesses, and any future plans the city may have for the area. Also, plan to pay a little more for the property. Having a choice spot might mean putting up with more competition, but in the long run, it’s worth the trouble.
Once you have the location, it’s important to look over your property through the eyes of a criminal. What are its weak points? If you were breaking into this property, what would make your life harder? Criminals tend to be lazy by nature and aren’t attracted to a challenge.
Here are some very basic security measures you might consider:
- Strong lighting for all key aspects of the building, including entrances and corners. This makes it hard for thieves to hide in shadows and also allows you and your employees safe access to and from the building at night.
- Cameras on every exit and important areas of the property, so you can monitor activity. Make sure to hook up your cameras to a recording device.
- Fences around the property. The higher the fence, the harder it is to scale. Anti-climb spikes or barbed wire make it more of a challenge, too.
Depending on your business, it might be a good idea to hire a guard to monitor the property. Simply having someone on duty is enough to deter many criminals. Most would rather go to another business that’s deserted.
If you have external storage areas, don’t forget to include them in your security plan. You will also need to secure your wireless internet with a password so that cyber criminals can’t hack your system from your parking lot.
Security inside the office
Now that you have the security for the outside of your property covered, it’s time to evaluate the inside. There are a few things to consider that will help you secure your office space.
Your business will need to be wired with an alarm system that will not only detect burglary but hazards as well. They aren’t very expensive, but you’ll want to make sure the system you get detects the following:
- Smoke and heat
- Carbon monoxide
For each of these functions you’ll want the alarm to produce a very loud sound. The louder the better!
Post signs around your business, letting any would-be thieves know that your property is protected. Stickers and signs should be placed by all doors and windows. These alone will deter most criminals. And if you have a cash register, put a sign up that warns you have minimal cash on hand at any given time.
Hire an outside company to monitor each system around the clock. They will notify you and the property authorities if anything goes wrong.
You want to make sure that you think about the following possible features of an alarm and monitoring system and whether or not your business needs them. You will need to think through carefully how you want the system and the monitoring service to react to intrusions:
- 24x7 monitoring
- owner notification
- remote system access
- instant alerts
- automating alarms and lights
- battery backup
- 2-way voice
If possible, avoid storing anything of value at your place of business. However, if you have no choice, purchase a safe for confidential documents or valuable assets. While you may think a locked cabinet is sufficient, it is very easy to access.
If you do invest in a safe, refrain from talking about it. Conversations can be overheard. Thieves will be more than interested to know that you feel the need to protect something of value in your office, and they can potentially use any information you reveal to break into it. Along those lines, be sure to hide your safe well. It should never be visible from any outside door or window.
Although wall safes are well concealed, they can be very easy to extract. Professional thieves can cut one from the wall and pull it out within minutes. They can just grab the entire box and open it later at their leisure. Floor safes are much harder to pry out, because they are surrounded by concrete.
When deciding on a lock for your safe, consider
getting both a mechanical and electronic lock. That way, if one fails, the
other will work. Whatever lock you decide on, be sure to change the factory
combination and select a random set of numbers. If you stick with zero, zero,
zero, you might as well not purchase a safe. And make sure any safe that you purchase is as fireproof as possible.
Regardless of the security for your computer system, it’s vital that you back up all your information on a regular basis. The best plan is to store all information on an external hard drive as well as on a cloud system. Some files you can save on a thumb drive as well. You can’t have too many back up plans.