Small Business Security – It’s A Serious Business

People who own and run small businesses may have been overlooked in the past. Not attracted to the big budgets and sophisticated requirements of big business, the security industry has not focused on providing small business security. Small businesses had to settle for inappropriate and overpriced security that resembled home security systems.

But there’s good news. Leading security industry manufacturers and providers are paying attention now. They’re beginning to understand that the unique needs of small business security require tailored security measures and systems.

Small business security does have one advantage. Needing smaller staff and experiencing less turnover than large businesses, small business’s risk for in-house theft is significantly less, reducing the need for inventory tracking and video monitoring for break rooms and storage areas. But small businesses still face serious risks for theft, vandalism, and violence.

Small business security needs are in many ways like those of corporations and individual homeowners. Common-sense security measures are important. Things like removing potential hiding places for would-be thieves by eliminating blind spots on building exteriors is a basic preventive measure. Lighting the building, inside and out, makes it possible for people outside the building to observe criminal activity at night and when the business is closed. Keeping entry points clear of obstructions and shadows is important to safety and security. Installing locks with security codes for individual employees prevents entry by unauthorized people.

Exterior lighting is not only important for security. It’s an important way to prevent injuries to customers and to prevent crimes against both customers and employees outside the building. Liability insurance is a significant expense, and good exterior lighting can qualify small businesses for discounts and insurance savings. So in a way, liability insurance is a good small business security measure.

Every year, small businesses lose billions of dollars to preventable theft and vandalism. Monitored commercial alarm systems are an inexpensive and effective way to protect your small business. They’re easy to install in less than a day, and they’re easy to operate. A good small business security system will include control panels, security keypads, glass break sensors, window and door contacts, motion detectors, and sirens. Systems can be hard-wired or wireless. They can include loud immediate alarms or silent alarms that alert law enforcement without interrupting ongoing business. They can have add-ons like fire alarms and video surveillance. You can get a back-up system to assure your small business security needs are covered at all times.

If you haven’t already done it, you should ask a security professional to inspect and assess your small business for vulnerabilities and ask for a proposal that addresses them. Inherently more vulnerable to financial losses, there’s no such thing as too much security for a small business. An expert in the field can help you identify your small business security needs and create a plan that both meets your budget and makes your small business more secure.

When shopping for a small business security system provider, there are a few basic ways to select the best one for your needs. First, you should always talk to more than one company. Three or four reputable vendors is a logical choice that produces competition and gives you a variety of ideas and options. They should be willing to come to your business for face-to-face meetings. Be sure to get the proposals and price estimates in writing, and make sure the proposals are complete, including monthly charges, set-up and installation fees, and warranties. Find out if they offer training for you and your staff. Once you’ve made a commitment, review the contract very carefully to make sure it includes all the options you discussed with them.

The small business security specialist can analyze yo

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Top 5 Business Security Secrets

It’s no secret that globally businesses are navigating through troubled times. The global economic downturn is having a catastrophic effect on businesses. When well known high street names that have been in business for up to a hundred years go bust, then businesses need to evaluate their business development strategy. One other factor which adds further misery to businesses trying to survive a recession is that crime increases exponentially. Crime against businesses is one of the first sectors to rise in a credit crunch. Large numbers of people are laid off or made redundant,they lose their income and many struggle to come to terms with the low income provided by the welfare system.

Those with criminal tendencies will turn back to committing acts of theft and fraud to raise money. Organised criminals also experience financial losses in any economic downturn and sadly businesses are usually the criminal’s first port of call. My top 5 business security secrets are designed to assist all businesses to increase their security effectiveness and minimise the security risks of theft and fraud.

Top 5 business security secrets #1- Conduct A Security Audit

Every business has security requirements, the problem is most managing directors and owners fail to realise this critical factor until it’s too late. By too late I mean it generally takes an incident of employee theft, fraud or an act of vandalism or product tampering for the MD or owner to consider implementing security counter measures.

This is a positive first step; however security is best applied as a preventative procedure, rather than post incident. If security counter measures are applied post incident then the insurance premiums will have already been increased, or flagged for increase during your next trading year. Many MD’s and business owners then take it upon themselves to conduct a security audit. This generally is pre-programmed for failure as unfortunately most MD’s and business owners don’t know what they don’t know.

By this I mean, very few are skilled security specialists. The MD or owner security audit is generally driven by price, i.e. they will usually purchase security products based on the cheapest price, whereas a security audit specialist will focus on quality security products that will stand the test of time and assist in providing business support to the company as the business grows and prospers. A security audit for an SME size business can often be conducted in one to two days.

Top 5 business security secrets #2- Form A Threat Management Unit

It is safe to say that most business applications and concepts that materialise in the USA tend to find their way across the ocean to the UK at anything between 5 to 15 years later. Threat Management Units or TMU’s as they are known in businesses, are big in the USA and it’s only a matter of time before UK businesses jump on the bandwagon. The role of a threat management unit is to analyse all perceived and actual threats to any business and then implement business continuity strategies to ensure the business doesn’t fail because of critical incidents. All business aspects are covered by the TMU including, business growth, joint venture partnerships, due diligence, directors legal responsibilities to employees, employee checks, risk assessment and risk management,crisis planning, downsizing, redundancies, and a host of others. A threat management unit generally consists of two or three company employees, usually the senior company director or partner, the head of personnel or human resources and a manager. The threat management unit is then supplemented by a security consultant or a security director. ( see top business security secrets #5 for further information on security director.) It is important to realise that a threat management unit can and should be formed by even the smallest businesses as the strategies put in place can ensure that small, medium and large businesses can survive and thrive in the event of any critical incident.

Top 5 business security secrets #3- Design And Test Your Business Continuity Plan

It’s difficult enough surviving the current economic downturn without having to face the corporate trauma of losing your business because an external critical incident had an indirect or direct impact on your business. In the aftermath of the London7/7 terrorist bombings many businesses were affected by this critical incident. Sadly a number of them although not directly affected by the bombing were forced to close down. Many of them were small and medium size businesses. Local coffee bars and retail outlets closed because the police and security services closed down the streets to pedestrians where these businesses were located. Some of the pedestrian restrictions lasted several weeks as scenes of crime officers meticulously investigated these areas. Few small or medium businesses can cope with a loss of all revenue for several weeks.

However if any of these businesses had a business continuity plan in place alternative methods would have been pre-identified to continue with income generation during the time of crisis. Business continuity plans are not restricted to acts of terrorism. They include any type of critical incident which can happen to any type of business small or large. For example; A fire or a flood

destroys your office or shop, an electrical fault blows all your computer and communications equipment. An employee steals valuable data and sells it to your competitors. A disgruntled former employee returns to your business to harm members of your work force. A business continuity plan is a fantastic investment for any business who are seeking long term sustainable business growth.

Top 5 business security secrets #4- Research Your Business Competitors

All intelligence agencies conduct ongoing research and surveillance on their competitors. The old cliché of knowledge is power that every business coach and mentor bands around is severely flawed. Knowledge is not power. Power comes from the actions you take from gaining knowledge. I’m not suggesting you hire a platoon of former KGB agents to spy on your competitors although I personally know that this service is available although generally only to larger businesses. What I do advocate is the ancient Sun Tzu Art of War principle of, ‘know your enemy-know yourself’. If this appears somewhat extreme then it’s time for a reality check, your business competitors are your business enemies and the war is driven by annual turnover and increased profits, hence the need to research your business competitors.

With such advanced research technology offered by computers and the internet researching your business competitors has never been easier. For example most online search engines now offer competitor analytics which allows you an insight into how much they are paying for online marketing campaigns and who they are targeting. Just as it is in covert intelligence operations, being one step ahead of your competitor is key to success. In business this translates to long term business growth, sustainability, increased turnover and profits.

Top 5 business security secrets #5- Hire A Security Director

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