Keeping your data, customers, staff and assets safe is crucial for business growth. However, many SMBs struggle to find the time and resources to give business security the attention it deserves. Every time a business suffers an intrusion, theft or damage, fixing the situation costs money. And, if security incidents happen too often, they can threaten a company’s survival.
We’ll examine why excellent business security fosters growth and share business security tips to help keep your organization safe.
How does business security help your company grow?
Business security helps companies grow in myriad ways, including the following:
- Business security boosts productivity. Security measures like CCTV cameras can help boost employee productivity. When your staff understands they might be monitored, they may be more diligent about getting work done. Additionally, managers can use technology like door entry passes to check attendance and hours worked. Your employees may respond to these more structured processes with improved business productivity.
- Business security can lower insurance premiums. Business insurance firms offer lower premiums as a reward to companies that invest in security. That’s money you can use elsewhere in the business more productively.
- Business security means replacing fewer items. Enhanced security equals a reduced threat of theft or damage. Fewer stock items or assets go missing; you don’t have to spend money on replacements, increasing cash flow and profitability.
- Business security fosters customer trust. Customers won’t trust their personal and financial information to companies that don’t safeguard their data. You’ll gain customer loyalty and a competitive edge when you uphold your promise to keep customer data secure.
- Business security can boost foot traffic. Your customers feel safe visiting you when you provide a secure environment. Customers are more likely to take their families to retail or leisure ventures with robust physical security.
- Business security safeguards commercial secrets. You’ll preserve your competitive advantage when your business security safeguards your intellectual property, sensitive information and customer data.
If you have an online store, e-commerce website security best practices include choosing a secure e-commerce platform, implementing SSL certificates, and using a virtual private network (VPN).
Physical business security measures to help company growth
Securing your business’s physical location and assets is crucial. Employees, contractors, visitors, customers and intruders can steal or damage anything in a workplace, including sensitive documents and valuable equipment.
Consider the following best practices for your business’s physical security.
1. Take basic initial steps to ensure physical business security.
Begin your physical security measures with the following actions and decisions:
- Create an inventory list. Make an extensive list of what your company owns, including stock inventory items and off-site assets like vehicles and machinery. Update the list frequently.
- Secure company documents. Decide how you’ll secure the company documents that need the greatest protection. Prioritize documents that would damage your business or compromise your competitive advantage if stolen.
- Plan your alarm response. Decide how you’ll respond to an alert from your business security system telling you that assets, inventory and documents may be under threat. Even after an alert, there may still be time to protect these items.
- Consider outside help. You may wish to involve an independent security consultant to conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment and help you develop a physical security policy. They’re often able to see threats that you can’t because of their experience.
2. Track assets and vehicles via GPS.
Tag your vehicles and assets with GPS trackers so you know where they are at all times. Sensors transmit location information frequently, so you’ll be able to see their positions almost in real time.
Many of the best GPS fleet tracking services offer geofencing functionality, which alerts you when vehicles or assets stray outside of a predefined area.
3. Designate a secure room to keep physical assets safe.
Assets like desktop computers, tablets, laptops, flat-screen displays and projectors are portable and easy for thieves to conceal if you don’t have door security.
While the face value of this equipment might not be high, it might contain proprietary and private data and information. Some devices may automatically log in to your company network, putting your wider IT network at risk.
Consider creating safe rooms in convenient locations for co-workers to store this type of equipment overnight to keep company data and assets safe.
4. Hire on-site security guards to protect your premises.
Onsite security guards are a proven theft deterrent. If you’re concerned about theft, security guards can conduct door checks as people (customers, visitors, employees and more) come and go. Security guards can protect stock in big warehouses just as much as they can in a retail outlet.
If the cost of 24/7 guards is too high, consider hiring a mobile patrol for when your premises are closed. They’ll be onsite immediately if a burglar alarm goes off or CCTV detects movement when there should be no one in the building.
Additionally, mobile patrols can be your keyholders if there’s a break-in. They can let police in to investigate a potential crime scene without having to wait for the company to open.
5. Fit industrial-strength locks on your buildings.
Determined criminals can beat standard commercial-build locks. Most commercial rental properties will allow tenants to change locks once the owner gets a key.
Replacing a location’s standard bolts with more sophisticated locks should be among the first changes a business makes to ensure its continued security.
6. Stop unauthorized entry with a door access system.
A range of access control systems can restrict entry and serve as visitor management systems.
The most straightforward access control systems use RFID-enabled key fobs that unlock the door when held up to the reader. Be wary of these systems; these fobs all use the same company-wide RFID code and are easy to clone. Many vendors have replaced key fobs and cards with biometric access control systems that use fingerprint and iris identification, similar to the technology used to unlock modern smartphones.
Many access control systems run off databases with codes specific to each person. You can generate new cards using the software and printer the vendor provides. You can also deactivate an existing card to deny someone entry access.
To prevent “tailgating” – which is what happens when an unauthorized user sneaks in behind an authorized one – some of the best business security systems now track when more than one person enters after granting access. Security guards can then deal with the issue.
7. Install security cameras to boost business security.
For a time, CCTV lost its power as a deterrent. Video from security cameras was blurry, which made identification challenging, and it couldn’t be presented as evidence in court cases.
Now companies put up signage to warn intruders that their CCTV system records in HD or 4K. High-speed internet has also enabled HD and 4K picture transmission to remote control rooms. If an event is detected, a control room operator can view it and judge whether a mobile patrol or the police should be informed.
Another significant CCTV development is the use of AI to alert controllers to unusual behavior and incidents in real time. Instead of watching a bank of screens for hours, the software captures video of unusual behavior and presents it to the control room operator, who decides what action to take.
8. Invest in an alarm system for your business.
Much like with car alarms, people no longer react to burglar alarm activations. Companies use them now to inform mobile patrols and other security firms that there may be a breach.
If mobile patrols get to the scene and discover the breach report was correct, they can send for a police response.
9. Create a storage and disposal process for sensitive files.
Documents left on employees’ desks are easy to remove and may contain sensitive commercial information you want to keep within your company. Ask co-workers to store documents in locked drawers at their desks when they’re not using them. Also, have them retrieve their printouts immediately if they share a printer.
Consider digitizing documents in an online document management system. This means scanning, indexing, and uploading documents to a secure cloud for easy retrieval as needed. For added security, ensure all physical documents are shredded after they’ve been uploaded.
Business security system costs depend on your required features, such as video surveillance systems, intrusion-detection alarms and electronic access control systems.
Online business security measures to help company growth
With constant business internet connections, thieves don’t have to break into your premises to steal vital company assets like customer data, intellectual property and other sensitive information.
Organizations can take the following steps to protect sensitive business information and protect a business from data breaches and other cybercrime types.
1. Create a list of approved devices internet-connected devices.
Any device connected to your IT network that can access the internet is a vulnerability.
Create a list of devices that can connect to Wi-Fi. Include everything that connects wirelessly, such as security cameras and shared printers. Deny access to any unregistered device trying to connect.
Additionally, consider the following:
- Use Ethernet connections where possible. Many SMBs use Wi-Fi to network office computers and other devices, even though WPA2 Wi-Fi – widely in use today – is vulnerable to hacking. A connection via Ethernet cable is far more secure in all cases.
- Disable your router’s beacon signal. Switch off your Wi-Fi router’s beacon signal so it becomes invisible to the outside world.
- Discourage BYOD. Be very wary of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. If a company-owned device goes missing, you can remotely shut it down permanently. You may be unable to do this to a co-worker’s lost personal device.
Comprehensive wireless security in the enterprise requires the latest available technologies, including WPA2-Enterprise.
2. End the use of physical media to bolster online security.
Despite declining usage, many people still like CD-ROMs, USB sticks and flash drives. Physical media devices come with many security issues. Most significantly, they’re easy to lose and steal.
If a colleague uses physical media for work and personal purposes, that can be a problem. They may unwittingly download a file containing malware that could infect the office network when plugged into a computer at work.
Consider using a service like Dropbox or Google Drive to share files between colleagues.
3. Create a human firewall with effective training.
According to the Tessian report “The Psychology of Human Error,” human error leads to 85% of data breaches.
One of the most successful cybercriminal tactics is phishing, which is what happens when hackers try to persuade employees to unwittingly take action to harm the business.
For example, cybercriminals may pretend to be from a company’s IT department. They’ll call an employee and tell them there’s a problem with their computer. The cybercriminal will instruct the employee to go through a routine that typically involves switching the device off and on. When the device is back on, they’ll ask the employee to log out of the Wi-Fi network and then log back in. The scammer will ask for their username and password to update the central password database. Now, the cybercriminal can gain remote entry to the network with a legitimate username and password.
In most cases, employees are unaware – and never become aware – that they’ve done something that threatens their company’s data security.
Training is the most valuable defense against phishing and other cyber attacks that prey on human error. Develop an effective cybersecurity training program and monitor your team to ensure they’re putting their knowledge into action.
4. Strengthen your technical firewall to deny cybercriminals.
Cybercriminals take the path of least resistance when targeting SMBs. They’ll hack someone else’s company if they think it’s easier than getting into yours. The more complicated a system is to crack, the less attractive it is for a hacker to spend the time and effort to infiltrate it.
Consider investing in an intelligent firewall solution as a minimum security measure for your business. Firewalls can detect and block suspected traffic, shutting down an attack immediately.
5. Use encryption and virtual private networks.
Earlier, we mentioned that Wi-Fi is often insecure and that, where possible, employees should avoid it. If employees must access the internet outside the office in a public space on their device, they should use 4G or 5G connections instead.
This is because cybercriminals often create spoof Wi-Fi access points using the venue’s name to make people think they’re accessing the correct network. When someone connects, data sent to and from the phone can be intercepted.
If an employee must use Wi-Fi, insist that they connect via a virtual private network (VPN). The best VPN services encrypt all data, so even if the employee uses a spoofed network, the intercepted data will be indecipherable to the hacker.
Firewalls, VPNs and antivirus software all play critical roles in shoring up your company’s cyber defenses. For the best results, use a layered strategy that includes all three.
Start securing your business now
Your business’s future depends on your ability to protect your assets, people and reputation from bad actors, both internal and external.
It costs time, money and effort to deal with the ramifications of physical attacks or data breaches. Your energy and resources would be much better spent planning for growth.
High security standards are among the factors that can directly support your business growth. However, not addressing potential threats to your location, assets and data can lead to catastrophic consequences and business failure.