Securing Your Business, Part 2: Safety in Your Physical Space

In part one of our small business security series, we covered how to protect your organization from cybercrime. Though much of life is online these days, old-fashioned criminals still pose a threat to your business. Keeping your physical security up to date is as important as ever. Here’s a refresher on why physically securing your workspace is so important and how to make it possible on a small business budget.

Common Small Business Security Threats

Possible physical threats that could hurt your business include burglary, theft and vandalism. In 2016, 8.8% of small business owners filed an insurance claim for burglary or theft. This made stolen business property the most common reason for filing a small business insurance claim after client complaints and staff injuries.

You also need to worry about your employee’s well-being — you don’t want to increase the chance that they could get assaulted or robbed on your work site, especially if they work late hours. You also may need to protect your business against possible theft by current and former employees.

The Benefits of Physical Security

Criminals often pick their targets based on ease of access. If your small business is well lit, securely locked and doesn’t provide an obvious route to valuables, chances are burglars will move on to the next one. Why waste time on a tough target?

If you have been robbed, effective security measures could minimize the damage. For instance, security camera footage helps police track down criminals and stolen property. Insurance companies may also offer discounts on your premiums when you upgrade your security.

Your employees and customers will also feel better knowing your business operates in a secure space. It’s hard to concentrate on the job at hand when you’re worried about whether your belongings could get stolen or if you’ll be safe during the late-night walk back to your car. A robbery in the workplace, whether it affected employees or customers, would definitely affect your business’s reputation and morale. Fortifying your physical security is a simple way to help everyone feel safer.

8 Ways to Secure Your Business

Improving your small business security doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are some of the most effective but inexpensive ways to stay protected.

1. Upgrade Door Locks

Your exterior doors should have high-quality locks, including deadbolts and mortise locks. Regular door locks can be incredibly easy to break through. If you have a storefront, you could also add a roller shutter door with a padlock. Consider adding or upgrading locks for other parts of your business with valuables as well — like your inventory room — to have one more barrier to entry in place.

2. Secure All Other Access Points

Check that your building’s windows lock properly. It might be a good idea to cover lower windows with a security laminate that makes them harder to break. If your work site has a fence or gates, make sure that there are no holes and that everything locks properly. You could also add spikes or other anti-climbing devices to the top of the fences to make unauthorized access even more difficult.

3. Track Key Access

Have an up-to-date list on hand of everyone with keys to your property. That way, if a certain room gets robbed and you think the culprit may be an employee, you can narrow down the suspect list. Whenever an employee leaves your company, make sure to retrieve their keys. If you recently moved into your building, change the locks — you don’t know who has keys from the previous tenant.

4. Install More Lighting

There should be plenty of lighting outside your building, especially around the parking lot and entrances. That makes it harder for criminals to sneak in or use the darkness to cover their activities. Set up lights with sensors that turn the lights on automatically whenever they detect movement.

5. Lock Down Computers and Other Valuables

Computers and other electronics tend to be popular targets for theft. A simple desk lock may be enough to keep a criminal from swiping a computer during the day. You should also protect your devices with strong passwords. Then, even if something is stolen, the thief can’t access company data.

6. Use Alarms and Security Cameras

If you have the budget for them, door alarms and security cameras could go a long way toward preventing crime. You don’t need to have someone watching a camera 24/7 for it to work: If a burglar sees cameras around your building, that alone could make them think twice. And when an alarm is going off, crooks aren’t going to stick around.

7. Ask Employees to Keep an Eye Out

Your employees have a part to play in keeping your business safe. Establish policies explaining what to do if they notice people they don’t recognize around the workplace or anyone exhibiting unusual behavior like scoping out entrances or entering restricted areas.

8. Split Security Costs With Neighboring Businesses

You may not have the money to hire a security firm or pay for cameras on your own, but splitting the cost with neighboring businesses could make the investment more affordable.

By taking advantage of these small business security measures, you’ll keep your company, your belongings and your employees all safer. You can’t guarantee safety for your staff and larger community at your workplace, but you can offer peace of mind. Stay tuned for part three of our series, on “XXX.”

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