Presented by ADT
If you are still in the process of getting your new business off the ground, don’t forget to include a good security plan to protect against theft. It’s a lot easier to set things up correctly from the start.
There are a number of common-sense factors you will need to consider to protect your small business from threats.
As new employees come in, and you educate them in the ways of your business, be sure to include detailed information about the security for your computer systems. There are many ways an untrained employee can cause trouble. They might:
- Create very weak passwords that are easily guessed. Many people are afraid they will forget their passcode, so they pick something they can remember. Anything that relates to their personal life can be easily researched. And of course, if they pick something generic, like PASSWORD, as their code your system is wide open.
- Write down their secure passwords and put it in their desk drawer. This nullifies any security system. It’s important that they take the time to memorize a random string of letters and numbers, the hallmark of a good password.
- Visit sites, open attachments, or click on links in emails from unauthorized senders. Even one stray click can result in the download of harmful viruses, which can demolish all the information on your hard drives or allow a hacker access to privileged information.
It’s also a good policy to insist that your employees never access your company network through their personal phones, tablets, and laptops. Privately owned devices are outside of your control, so you don’t want your company data stored on them. Also, these types of devices are less secure and if one gets stolen, all your company data is now available to the thieves.
When you’re just starting out, it can be a little hard to imagine a day when you’ll have a disgruntled employee. After all, you’re probably still in the process of hiring people! However, in the spirit of expecting the best and planning for the worst, it’s a good idea to set up policies ahead of time.
Cortney Thompson, CTO of Green House Data, states, “Internal attacks are one of the biggest threats facing your data and systems.” It’s not just large corporations that face this problem; small companies also have to be cautious.
When you are first setting up employee computer accounts, do so with security in mind. Have a way to cancel any account for any employees on an immediate basis. If you have the resources, it isn’t a bad idea to set up a system where you can track all online activity for every employee.
Avoid giving employees access to your wifi network password. It will help mitigate problems later. If you’re careless on this, a disgruntled employee could pull up in your parking lot at night, log in and maliciously wipe all your hard drives clean. Minimally, it’s a good idea to change the password on a regular basis, but be sure to do so whenever you let an employee go as well.
If you have a retail store, you’ll need to set up your space to deter shoplifting. There are quite a few common sense strategies that you can employ, which don’t require a budget.
For instance, you can set up your merchandise so that your salesperson can see most of it from their perch at the register. Shorter displays should be closer to the register, while taller ones should be along the walls. Also, train your employees to move around the store from time to time.
It’s also a good idea to learn the observable traits of most shoplifters. There are telltale signs you can learn to spot likely candidates. For instance, shoplifters often:
- Avoid looking people in the eye.
- Conceal their faces with hoods or sunglasses.
- Act nervously.
- Wear bulky clothes, or carry large bags or backpacks so they can hide things.
If you suspect someone of shoplifting, try engaging them in conversation. A polite, “May I help you?” can be enough to throw off a thief, who is trying to avoid detection. Also, it gives you a chance to get a better look at their face.
If you have a bit of money, consider investing in security cameras. Thieves are secretive by nature, so they avoid shops equipped with state-of-the-art cameras. Some retailers use fake cameras just to deter shoplifters.
If you sell valuable merchandise, invest in a lockable case. Don’t allow customers access to those items without an employee’s assistance.
After hour burglaries
You’ll need to protect your business against after-hour burglaries. Once you and your employees leave for the day, your business is a sitting duck unless you have the proper systems in place. To do so, you’ll first need to anticipate a thief’s modus operandi. If your front door can be opened with a credit card, it doesn’t have adequate protection. Invest in a strong dead bolt with a double-cylinder lock, which locks from both sides. That way it will trap crooks if they’ve hidden inside, waiting for you to leave at night.
It goes without saying that locks only work if the thief doesn’t find a way to get a key. As the business owner, you must control the number of keys distributed and always be aware of who has one. If you’re concerned with employees making copies behind your back, invest in a lock mechanism where the keys can only be authorized by you. Some business owners don’t like this system, because if one person loses a key, the whole building must be rekeyed, which can be expensive.
It’s a good idea to also purchase an alarm with a motion detector and a loud siren to scare thieves away quickly. If you’d prefer to trap and catch them, invest in a silent alarm. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but either is far superior to no alarm system at all.
Criminals like to skulk in the dark, so it’s a good strategy to install security lights. Illuminate all entry points (don’t forget air vents) with strong lighting, as well as any loading bays and parking lots.
Set up your business from the start with good security. Think like a criminal to avoid being caught off guard by one.