The Journal of Management and Marketing Research mentions that as many as 30% of business failures may be due in part to criminal activity.
A business that is negatively impacted by crime can't grow, and will inevitably shrink and possibly collapse. Companies should consider investing in security, mainly because of how crime can adversely affect a business's long-term growth projections.
Criminal activity tends to impact the performance of small and medium enterprises negatively. As the journal Tourism Economics reports, a study based in Latin America finds that there is a negative correlation between increased crime rate and small business growth. How then does a business deal with the problem of crime while at the same time remaining profitable? The key to this discussion lies in how the business approaches its security.
Why Business Security Is Important for Growth
Physical business security measures
The first thing a small business must secure is its operating location. The real-world situation of a company is of extreme importance to its growth. Securing that property should be the business's first step. There are several ways companies can go about securing their premises, including the following:
The standard locks that a commercial building comes with are usually not made to deal with dedicated criminals. Most commercial rental properties will allow tenants to change locks, once the owner also gets a key. Replacing the standard bolts that a location has with more sophisticated locks should be among the first changes a business makes to ensure its continued security.
Surveillance of a commercial property can add to the safety of the premises as well as serve as a deterrent to criminals. It is important to note, according to Security Instrument, that a commercial-grade security camera is different from a consumer-grade camera, and one should not be used to replace the other. Security cameras offer peace of mind, and many systems come with an option for the user to log in to the system remotely and view cameras from anywhere with an internet connection.
The age of klaxon alarms to alert the surrounding regions of a break-in seems to be coming to an end. However, that doesn't mean the need for security alarms has waned. Instead, companies have started investing in alarms that send notifications directly to security firms, which can then delegate an armed response if necessary. Some businesses may not require that level of security, but having an alarm that alerts local law enforcement should be high on the list of improvements to any commercial property location.
Security checks on external personnel
Dealing with vendors is part and parcel of being in business, but being aware of the risks that come with letting a vendor's registered personnel onto the premises should be considered beforehand. In a 2018 survey, SHRM found that as many as 95% of respondents indicated that they did at least one form of screening on employees to determine whether their background was suitable for the job. Understanding the hiring process for vendors can alleviate the risk the company may find itself in. Ideally, businesses should try to avoid interacting with vendors that don't have transparent hiring practices.
Online business security measures
While physical security is a significant factor, a company would do well not to overlook the safety of its data. Even physical locations require proper data security, or else they risk falling prey to malicious users that can potentially steal customer data. Data breaches could lead to a loss of business, and potential legal action by affected users, which would negatively impact the growth of the company. These are some of the steps enterprises can take regarding their online security:
Training employees in data security
CNBC mentions that the most substantial cybersecurity risk facing U.S. businesses stems from employee negligence. While proper training might lower this risk factor, employee screening that deals with potential employees who fail to follow security protocols exactly can also minimize the exposure to risk from this direction. Businesses should deal with training employees in the underlying security measures necessary to protect company data.
Installing a cybersecurity system does have a significant impact on whether hackers consider the business worth breaking into. Small businesses tend to be the easiest targets for malicious users because they offer a similar prize to large corporate structures, but without the level of security that corporations invest in. The more complicated a system is to crack, the less attractive it is for a hacker to spend time and effort on it. By having a basic cybersecurity system, a business is already working to deter hackers from trying to gain access to its data.
Virtual private networks (VPNs)
If there are remote workers associated with the business or sensitive data that needs to be sent to anywhere online, there will be a risk of a data breach by interception. VPNs have long been a bastion for those users who seek anonymity online but more than that, it can be used to protect a business from falling prey to interception attacks. VPN's create a direct tunnel between the source location and target location so that data is sent directly from sender to recipient without any third party having access to that data while it is in transit. For businesses, this adds a layer of impenetrable security to their data transmission.
Why invest in security?
Business prosperity is directly proportional to the company's profitability. The more security breaches it has, both offline and online, the less profitable the business stands to be since it will be losing money dealing with restoring systems and appeasing customers. Security is a preventative measure to ensure that the company can withstand attempts to get access to its data or premises. It's an investment that sees a return by allowing the business to be profitable instead of having to reinvest profits into mitigation and settlements. It might not be such a prominent contributor to the growth of an enterprise, but without security, the business would likely fail because of an inability to deal with the constant threats on its location or customer information.