December 13, 2017
Protecting your business from criminals is becoming harder and harder. You don’t just have to protect your physical assets, you now have to make certain that your online security measures are strong enough to protect against many different types of hackers, viruses and malware. Crimes against your business can result in anything from the loss of a few pieces of equipment to losing the private data of millions of customers. Huge losses can lead a company closing its doors forever. If you’re a business owner and you haven’t really thought about how to protect your business from crime, you need to do so. These nine different methods can help keep both your physical assets and your electronic ones.
1. Do a Risk Assessment
Have you determined what your vulnerable areas are and what risks your business faces? If you haven’t, that’s the best place to start. You can carry out one of these assessments yourself, but you can also hire an outside expert to do it, too. This may actually be the better option because an outsider won’t be as familiar with your processes and procedures. They will be able to point out where something is flawed that you might overlook.
2. Secure Your Work Areas
While everyone is highly concerned (and rightfully so) with securing their network and electronic information, you do have to make sure your physical records and equipment is secured, too. There are still people who will go for the low-tech option of simply breaking in and stealing your cash, equipment, or expensive products. Make sure everything is locked, that windows and doors are sturdy, and that the area around your building is well-lit. You might want to install security cameras, upgrade your alarm system and look at fencing in the premises.
3. Train Your Staff
Your team needs to know what to do when something goes wrong or when the business is facing a serious threat. For example, what should an employee do if someone tries to rob them? You should have a set policy outlining what they should do during and immediately after the robbery. Make sure you have rules outlining how much cash is kept on-site, too. Real-time security measures such as cameras, silent alarms and other measures should be in place anytime money is being taken.
4. Keep Equipment Secured
All of your equipment needs to be secured and written records kept of who has what items. Computers and other items should all be tagged and their serial numbers catalogued. For large, expensive equipment, you may even want to secure it to the wall or floor. All vehicles need to be kept in a secure lot, and the keys should be kept in a locked drawer or case when not in use.
5. Keep an Accurate Inventory
Do you know how much stock you currently have in your possession? If you’re not sure what your inventory is, take the time to get an accurate count. That way, you’ll know when something is stolen. Make adjustments when new items are brought into stock or when you sell something. Also take notice of any excessive returns, damage claims, or credits. These can be a sign that someone is creating fraudulent records to embezzle funds.
6. Verify Who You’re Hiring
While you’re focusing everything on protecting your business from exterior threats, you may be losing it all to interior ones. You always want to make certain that the people you’re hiring are trustworthy, especially if they have access to your money or your sensitive data. Do thorough background checks and call all of the references provided, even if you’re just hiring someone part-time. Make sure you have clearly written policies regarding theft by employees and what the consequences are. If you do have proof that an employee is stealing, take quick and decisive action.
There are a number of different ways of monitoring your employees. You may want to set up cameras in areas where cash is kept and employ various other methods of threat detections, including electronic ones, to watch your data and who is accessing it. Only allow access to sensitive information to those who absolutely must have it. Also, be sure to remove all access to any employee that leaves the company.
7. Stop the Theft of Information Before it Starts
For many businesses, their sensitive client information is actually the most valuable data they have. It can even be more valuable than thousands of dollars in product because if this information is stolen, customers lose trust in the business. Many may stop buying from you if they don’t believe you can protect their information.
To protect this information and stop hackers before they can get at it, you need to make use of real-time detections that identify and block suspicious activity as it’s occurring. This includes watching employee logins for odd behavior and quarantining them if necessary. Make sure your employees are trained, too, in how to spot odd behaviors and in how to keep their logins secure.
8. Shred Paper Records When Done with Them
While you need to make certain you have phishing e-mail detections, real-time network security, and other electronic protections in place, you do have to be careful with your physical waste, too. Once you’re finished with records or any paperwork that contains identifying information, shred it before throwing it away. You can even hire a shredding service if you generate a large amount of paper waste or are clearing out years of old records.
9. Regularly Check Your Policies and Systems
It’s not enough to put security measures in place and walk away. You need to continually check to make certain that they’re doing their job. If they’re not, they need to be upgraded so they do protect you. Check your security at least annually if not more often, and bring in experts to evaluate your policies and recommend changes.
Sheza Gary has been a project strategist since 2009 and has been involved in the launching of startups and tech companies in New York for more than five years. She has keen interest in writing her own experiences about business plans and upcoming business supporting technologies. She loves public speaking.