Businesses are vulnerable to a number of potential security risks. Some could potentially destroy your businesses, while others could lead to disasters that involve extensive costs to mitigate. Business owners need to be aware of the types of risks their businesses face and take proactive steps to protect their physical and digital assets.
What Types of Risk Does My Business Face?
Common safety and security risks to your business generally fall into these categories:
Physical risk: These include hazards to the building or property itself and the assets it contains.
Technology risk: Your data is vulnerable to theft, hacking or loss.
Human risk: Employees or people visiting the property can pose a risk of theft or security loss.
To keep your business secure, it's important to make security and safety part of the workplace culture.
Protect Your Physical Assets
Starting with the basics, deadbolt locks on all exterior doors will help protect your building against forced entry. They might not be a high-tech solution, but they are effective against intruders.
Closed-circuit security cameras keep an eye on the outside and inside of your property. They can be a deterrent simply by being seen, but will also record what happens on the premises. Having a visual record of suspicious activity will assist an investigation if necessary.
An alarm system can work alongside security cameras. As with visible cameras, signs indicating the presence of an alarm system can deter intruders from attempting forced entry.
If employees have physical keys to the building, a policy to track them is a good idea. If keys are not returned or go missing, locks can be changed to ensure that only authorized personnel can enter the building.
Physical security measures can seem expensive at first, especially if your business is on a small property or you don't have costly inventory. However, investment in security systems can help with the safety of your assets as well as your employees. If you're working to build credit, a secured credit card can help you pay for expenses as you improve your credit history.
Keep Data Secure
Protecting data is always a challenge as technology changes quickly. Hackers constantly find new ways to breach company systems and access sensitive information. Therefore, digital security is critical.
Employees can help protect data by using strong passwords on any computers, software and websites they access, and by changing them frequently. Passwords that are long and use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols are recommended by most data security experts. High-quality, up-to-date antivirus and firewall protection can also help protect against incoming threats.
Another avenue for leaked sensitive information is through social media. Putting a policy in place will give employees a guideline for using social media in regard to your business and keep them aware that confidential information can be leaked, even unintentionally, through these channels.
If employees have smartphones and use them to access sensitive data, security measures can also be taken to protect them as with computer systems.
Address the Human Aspect
Unfortunately, one of the most common risks to a business is the abuse of alcohol or drugs by an employee. Companies can take proactive measures by adopting a drug-testing policy as well as offering insurance that covers total or partial payment for treatment. Offering coverage of mental health programs can support efforts to minimize the chance of employee drug or alcohol abuse.
Embezzlement, theft and fraud are also risks that can devastate a company. When possible, avoidance is the best policy. Conducting background checks on applicants can help reduce risk.
Visitors can pose a threat to your business if they are unauthorized or unaccompanied by an employee. A visitor policy will help with consistency, prevent misunderstandings and keep track of all people in the building in case of emergency. Consider having visitors and vendors sign in and wear identification upon entering the building. Visitors can be directed to enter the building through specified entrances and check in with designated personnel. Some areas of your property, like production areas or offices, may be off limits to those not employed there.
Make Everyone Part of the Solution
Safety and security affect everyone in your company, from top management to entry-level employees. Building a safety-conscious culture will keep security in the forefront and empower everyone to take part in security measures. For example, the IT department can educate colleagues on the importance of leaving suspicious email attachments unopened. Managers can encourage workers to report unusual activity without fear of retribution.
The best way to keep your business safe and secure is to address potential risks before they happen. Creating a plan to protect your employees, property and data can lessen anxiety and empower those with whom you work, and give you the peace of mind you need to focus on building your business.