These days, it seems that just about every business has security cameras or an alarm system in place to discourage theft, vandalism and other problematic activities. While this is certainly a good start, the truth of the matter is that installing a few cameras is far from enough to address all the physical security issues your business could face.
Even though digital security threats typically get most of the attention in our increasingly digital world, physical thefts and even workplace violence occur with much higher frequency than you might think. Doing the bare minimum to address these potential threats leaves your building, equipment, employees and customers at risk.
So what can you do to improve your business’s physical security profile? Here’s a closer look at six effective procedures and policies that you may have missed:
1) Perform a Security Assessment
Quite often, some of the most dangerous threats to a company can go completely unnoticed by untrained eyes. But just like you would hire outside help to perform an audit of your finances, you should also regularly schedule a security assessment for your business.
In a financial audit, a trained professional points out glaring issues that you may have overlooked and offers suggestions to help you overcome these obstacles and achieve monetary success. Similarly, a security assessment gives a security professional the opportunity to review your facility both inside and out. They examine your current security measures and identify any deficiencies or vulnerabilities.
After assessing your business, security professionals offer customized suggestions that will help you better secure your property.
2) Train Your Staff
Does your staff know how to defuse a potentially hostile situation? What about responding to an active shooter? In light of recent events that have dominated headlines, an increasing number of schools and businesses are requiring employees to participate in active shooter training.
Without proper training, staff members are more likely to panic and make costly mistakes during a crisis. By providing adequate resources to your team, they will have a better understanding of how to respond. Such trainings can often be completed in an hour or less, but they could very well save a life.
Training can go well beyond preparing for an active shooter situation. Even something as simple as quarterly reminders on site security rules can help prevent thefts and other incidents. Consistent training will also reduce your liability should an incident occur.
3) Limit Access
Many businesses focus their physical security efforts on keeping dangerous persons from ever entering the property. But even authorized individuals could still pose a security threat, such as stealing sensitive propriety data.
When it comes to confidential data, you should do everything in your power to limit access. Only a select few individuals would have a legitimate reason to look at customer data or employee confidential files — you don’t want this information to be easily accessible to a member of the cleaning staff.
While strong passwords, timed computer lockouts and other digital efforts can go a long way in preventing unauthorized access, this often isn’t enough on its own. Valuable equipment and sensitive data should be stored in an access-restricted area. Dual-authentication entry and other access restriction methods will enforce these limitations so that only those who truly need the information can view it.
4) Keep Inventory
Businesses that sell a physical product generally keep inventory of their stock so they know when they need to re-order needed supplies. But do you keep inventory of the equipment that keeps your business running?
Even startups that don’t have much of a tech focus frequently make use of company phones, laptops, USB drives and more. While these tools can be very convenient for employees, their portability also increases the risk of loss or theft.
Because of this, businesses large and small should also keep detailed records regarding what devices have been assigned to employees, as well as who has such equipment and what type of data is stored on it. Such record-keeping increases accountability with employees and helps you act quickly, should a theft occur.
5) Establish Clear Security Policies
Do your employees know the visitor management policy? Do they know what they need to do if they lose their ID badge? A detailed and organized security plan for your business will consider these and other questions that will affect employees on a daily basis.
Security policies are only as good as their weakest link. As such, all policies must be clearly communicated to staff members. A rule does no good if it isn’t enforced. When employees understand what is expected of them, they will be more likely to buy in to your procedures. They will hold each other accountable for the safety of the office.
By covering everything from visitor access to badge replacements, your entire team will be on the same page and will be less likely to inadvertently create a security hazard.
6) Security-Minded Maintenance
Building maintenance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of improving your security, but it can make a significant difference. Facility maintenance is closely tied to what is popularly known as the “Broken Windows theory,” which states that the appearance of disorder can directly influence crime rates.
Addressing maintenance concerns as soon as possible can help you avoid more expensive repairs later on. But when you act swiftly, you’ll also maintain an ordered appearance that appeals to potential customers and discourages those who would do your company harm.
Maintenance tasks that have a direct impact on physical security, such as repairing locks or exterior lights, should always take top priority. Even something as simple as trimming bushes away from cameras and windows can improve security.
This Is Simple: Now’s the Time to Take Action
As the above principles illustrate, many of the best ways to improve your business’s physical security don’t require a massive investment. However, each step you take will greatly reduce your risk of being victimized and potential financial exposure.
From preventing theft to ensuring that everyone knows how to respond during an emergency, making additional investments to your physical security will provide big dividends in the long run.