Your business is a small office. You’re probably thinking, why do I need to consider security – “Is someone going to make off with all my paperclips?” The fact of the matter is that while convenience store robberies make the evening news because they often involve deadly weapons and yield grainy surveillance footage, stores aren’t the only small businesses at risk. Office-based businesses generally face three types of security risks:
- Equipment theft.
- Internal theft.
- Workplace violence.
Assess yourselfTake stock of your company’s current security situation. A good security consultant will look at your facility, examine policies of access to assets, question your auditing process and even review the issues your location presents.
Alarm your facilityLook for a monitored alarm system that’s easy to operate and that can support a variety of disarm codes. Giving each employee a unique disarm code allows you to track who has operated the system if an issue arises. Let employees pick their own codes so it’s something they can remember easily, thus avoiding false alarms. Consider adding on a simple “buzz you in” access control system so you can control entry to your office.
Secure your buildingSecuring your building means more than just locking the door and turning on the alarm system when you go home. Windows need protection, too. In fact, large windows may be an invitation to burglars. For one, blinds left open can easily show what’s in your office. Secondly, it’s a lot easier to break glass than to pry open a door.
Secure the premisesThe area surrounding your office also needs a security plan. Provide adequate lighting in your parking lot, make sure the landscaping is trimmed, and look into a camera system or a regular patrol from a security guard if the location calls for such responses.
Secure your physical assetsItems like laptops and computer monitors are common targets. In fact, 2003 data from Safeware Insurance puts the number of laptops stolen annually at 600,000 – and that number is expected to continue rising. The real cost of a stolen IT asset isn’t the hardware, it’s the lost data and the lost productivity.
Examine your employeesPerform routine background checks on potential hires. Note that you may need the applicant’s consent to perform a background check, especially if you intend to pull a credit report.
Empower your IT securityThe risks to your IT assets go beyond losing the hardware. If proprietary data leaves your business, what does that cost you in the competitive marketplace? What if your stolen data included Social Security numbers? IT security issues you need to address include who has access to certain data, where it’s stored, and how it’s protected from network threats.
- Put together a document with details on your security plan, including security alarm operations and who to call if a network security breach occurs. It shouldn’t be a public document; make it available on a need-to-know basis. Do you your homework and talk to the local police about crimes near your office. Find out how prevalent crimes against offices are. Consider doing a regular asset inventory, just like retailers do with their semi-annual inventory counts. That will help you ensure that equipment hasn’t permanently left the building. Consider giving each employee a “last-to-leave” checklist. Are blinds closed? Is the alarm system armed? Are doors locked? Are laptops sitting on tops of desks? Make it simple but effective so your employee can perform the check in about two minutes as they walk from their cubicle to the door.