Cybercrime has been on the rise for many years, but it took off during the pandemic. With the sudden switch to working from home, criminals could access a large number of security holes and the larger number of targets and weak points in a system. Therefore, it’s no wonder that there has been a push to protect private individuals and businesses from cyber-attacks. However, focusing entirely on cyber security and neglecting the physical safety of your business is a huge mistake. Criminals always go for the weakest point to make their attack, so you should protect your business from any criminal behavior.
When you think of your physical business, your first thought is probably whatever building you operate out of. If you’re a small business, this might be your home or an outbuilding, and it can be tempting to neglect its security as it is less obvious a target than an office block. However, your house will stand out with odd traffic (perhaps lots of vans) and draw criminal attention. Criminals know that small businesses run in private homes can be less careful about security, making you an easy target to hit and run. Any business should start by ensuring any entry points into your building are protected. You should replace any locks when you move into the premises, and you can talk to a local locksmith to get an idea of the types of crimes committed in your area and your options for security. Keeping in touch with your local law enforcement can help too.
The safety of your employees should always be at the top of your mind. They are a physical aspect of your building and are likely to be your most important asset. Replacing a good employee is incredibly expensive, and caring about their safety will help with employee retention and morale. You should have procedures for your employees and managers to follow, which everyone knows and has access to. Yes, health and safety around working conditions and equipment are essential, but you should also put procedures in place for other occasions. For instance, it is crucial to have a policy protecting your employees’ personal information. No one should ever have their contact details or rota details given out to others – if it’s needed, you can take down the enquirer’s details and ask the employee.
You should always ensure that areas under your control are well-lit and that any employee who feels unsafe can ask for help – whether asking someone to walk to a car with them or asking to go to a break room, or calling the police on an aggressive customer.
Aggression toward your employees should never be tolerated. Losing one badly-behaved customer will always be better than having a full team of staff looking to leave because management does not protect them.
Your business likely has equipment or products as part of its assets, which must also be protected. Install cameras throughout the building as a deterrent and to provide evidence of theft. You could install alarms on lockable cases for high-value items you want to display. Locking office doors or providing keypad entries to employee-only areas can protect these spaces from wandering thieves. You should also consider asset trackers on some of your equipment so that it can be traced even if it does get stolen, and vehicle or plant immobilizers are great, particularly in cases where it is difficult or impossible to set up an adequately secured area.