The security risks that organisations face in today’s world depends on a huge number of factors. The threat they face depends on the business’ location, size, industry, accessibility and much, much more.
But there is no doubt that businesses of all sorts face security threats. The Crime Against Businesses: Commercial Victimisation Survey revealed that:
- 21 per cent of construction and manufacturing sites experience crime.
- Vandalism, theft and burglary were the most common types of crime experienced by the agricultural sector.
- In the wholesale and retail sector, with shoplifting a significant problem, there were 8,862 incidents per 1,000 premises.
- The information and communication sector experienced 252,000 online crime incidents, almost 8 times more than the volume of ‘traditional’ crimes experienced.
The above statistics not only show a snapshot of the prevalence of crime against businesses but they also highlight the variety of crime businesses can be victims of.
The following tips are focussed on best practice security for businesses in all sectors whatever the size of your site; its location; the inventory on site, or the nature of your business.
1. Make one person responsible for overseeing security
Identify a trustworthy member of staff who you could make project manager of your site’s security. That person could be yourself, or someone who you believe has the spare capacity to oversee all matters ‘security’. This does not necessarily mean they need to be an expert in everything from access control to cybersecurity, but instead that they are able to:
- Track and monitor who is privy to security information.
- Be a point of contact for service providers, such as security systems maintenance teams and your alarm receiving centre.
- Be responsible for ensuring security systems are maintained.
- Be responsible for updating keyholder information.
- Be the site owner’s point of contact for security information.
2. Complete background checks on employees
Many businesses will be familiar with this already, as they often need to complete background checks on employees as a lawful requirement.
It will seem like common sense to most. Completing a background check on employees will allow you to gage the employee’s previous behaviour and whether there are links to any potentially ‘threatening’ behaviour in the past. Of course, this route isn’t for every employer – it is costly and can often slow down the recruitment process.
3. Regularly review technology in place
Technology in the security and IT industry is always advancing and as a result there may be a new product on the market that could enhance your security and offer further benefits, possibly even reducing costs.
Of course, there is most likely an expense in upgrading your systems so you will need to assess how cost-effective it may be. However, being aware of new technology will help you to make a decision on upgrading when the time is right.
Extra tip: Make sure the surrounding infrastructure you have in place (for example, your Internet Connection) is capable of supporting new security technology.
4. Check for planned IT and system updates
This is particularly important for remote monitoring stations and alarm receiving centres. If there are scheduled IT or system updates in place, make sure you let your remote monitoring station know in advance. If the network goes down – even momentarily – it could cut their connection to your site and compromise your security. It may also mean certain steps need to be taken to ensure the connection is re-established.
Similarly, if your systems go down unexpectedly, make sure you let your remote monitoring station know as soon as possible so they can check their connection with your site.
5. Look at what CCTV footage is captured
Check what footage your remote monitoring station receives. This could provide insight on the level of detail you could obtain on intruders and throw up questions about whether your CCTV needs to be adjusted to help you achieve your security objectives.
Make sure you know what you want to achieve from your security system. Do you want to monitor the flow of people to and from your site? Do you require number plate recognition? Do you need high definition to satisfactorily identify potential intruders?
6. Keep security details to a few
Don’t over-share security details. Be conscious of who knows what and why they require that information.
7. Change codes and passwords regularly
Many of us are guilty of using the same password and codes for several devices. It’s often just as bad to leave your codes and passwords unchanged for a long period of time. Even though we know it’s a pain – having to remember what seems like hundreds of different codes – it is hugely important that your security system’s passwords and alarm codes are unique and changed at least once every six months.
By adopting this technique, you will be making sure that only the necessary people have access to codes that could disable your security system or provide unauthorised access to intruders.
8. Quickly disable access for previous employees
Every business has a flow of employees coming and going. Amongst the work of having to find a replacement for a staff member, it is essential that you remember to disable their access to security systems and the building – along with access to the intranet (if applicable) and email systems.
Leaving an old employee with access to your site puts your security at immediate risk – they have access, may have a grudge against the company and will probably know the site well.
9. Be careful what you share
A particularly important factor for small businesses: check what you’re sharing to the outside world. Does your out-of-office state that your business will be closed for a specified period? This could be a clue to opportunistic thieves that your business is unoccupied and vulnerable.
10. Think beyond your site
Sometimes security risks do not happen directly on your site. For example, should you be considering lone worker protection when employees are off site?
Similarly, are building works happening nearby that could lead to increased traffic near and potentially through your site? Is there an event occurring nearby? Assess the level of risk each change poses and consider what measures you can put in place to reduce those risks.
11. Consider sector specific risks
As has already been mentioned, different businesses will face a different set of risks depending on their sector. Retailers will be concerned about reducing shoplifting, whereas farmers may be more considered about vandalism.
Look at industry reports on the levels and types of crime and consider whether they apply to your business. From there, talk to a security expert who can help you minimise any potential risks.
12. Monitor access
Finally, consider whether it is worth introducing access control to your site. If there are many people coming and going, access control can give you peace of mind in knowing that only authorised individuals are accessing your premises.
There’s a wealth of information available out there on how to improve your business’ security but the above gives you a great starting point. And one last point…
Make sure security professionals remotely monitor your CCTV.