It is a new year, and a good time to ask yourself some hard questions about your business’ physical, on-site security features. Unlike online security features, which send you notifications when it is time to upgrade your software or switch to a new password, the only person keeping track of your store, office, or warehouse security is you. Consider this your reminder, and allow us to share five tips for you to keep in mind:

security gates

1. Take a Walk: The simplest and most obvious move you can make is to walk around the property. Security always starts with human eyes. What do you see? Is there a crack in a window that nobody noticed? That car parked in the back corner of the lot, does it belong to one of your employees? Are the door hinges exposed to the elements and getting rusty? Is there evidence that someone has been going through your trash looking for documents that might jeopardize your employees or customers? Consider the loading dock – is there an overlap where supplies going in could get mixed up with supplies going out, creating a situation where your products could get “lost”?

While you are taking that walk, make sure that the motion sensors are picking you up. Notice if the lights are not as bright as they should be, or if there is a better direction where they could be pointing. Inspect every door knob and every lock. Are there scratches? Signs that somebody has been trying to use tools to break in? When you go back inside, test the alarm systems. Did they react fast enough to your presence? Is the alarm loud enough to be heard not only inside the building but in the parking lot and adjoining lots?

2. Change Your Passwords and Passcodes: Do not just change your passwords and passcodes once a year. Generally, they should be changed at least once a month. Once a week might be more appropriate for the following reasons:

1. Other businesses in the area have been burglarized.
2. An employee lost a key card or dropped a piece of paper with the numbers recorded on it.
3. When there is frequent turnover. Former employees can become disgruntled employees, and disgruntled employees can be tempted to break in to their old workplace.

While you are changing your codes you might as well make them better. If it is a sequence of numbers, have it be more than four numerals. If it is a word or phrase, include capital letter, symbols, or add numbers to it. Never use the same codes twice, even if it is a password from five or ten years ago. There is no reason to take a chance.

3. Reevaluate Your Vulnerabilities: Has your business added more products in the past year? It could be that those products are more likely to catch a thief’s eye. Perhaps a year ago your priority was to keep items like clothing and jewelry secure, so all of your security cameras are pointed in that department. But now you sell car parts, car parts that are not monitored by any cameras. It might be prudent to purchase additional cameras or reposition the ones you already have. You could also purchase product cages. These are the metal or plastic containers that house the most valuable goods. They require an employee to open it with a key before the customer can even touch the product.

Have you considered that your landscaping makes your business vulnerable? You naturally want your employees report anything suspicious that they see out of their office windows, but what if that window is blocked by an overgrown bush? Trim the shrubs and, if possible, consider making your landscaping an ally by mixing in thorny plants like rose bushes. They will not keep out a determined thief, but they could make your facility look like it is not worth the trouble.

4. Keep Track of Every Person on the Property: Get familiar with your employees’ faces and institute mandatory name badges that include their title and department. Have badges for visitors, too. That includes husbands meeting their wives for some pizza on their lunch break, employees from other buildings associated with your business, and also any contractors, caterers, maintenance workers, landscapers, and delivery men. Requiring badges is a very subtle, unobtrusive, but effective security measure. Someone who is not wearing one is instantly visible to everyone.

Require parking badges, too. Even if you do not have assigned spaces, even if your parking lot overlaps with other businesses, it is extremely helpful to know what car belongs to who. Especially at the end of the day, when your employees are cleaning up, being able to identify whose car is next to theirs keeps them safe.

5. Educate Your Employees: Update the security section of your employee handbook, and hold a meeting together with everyone to go over every policy. It could be a potentially dangerous threat if you assume that everyone is on the same page about security measures. Someone on the first shift might open a window and forget to tell a worker on the third shift to close it after business hours. Your closing employee might be assuming that the opener is in charge of taking the cash from the register and locking it up in the safe. Maybe only five people are supposed to have the pass codes for the doors, but you find out in the meeting that fifty people know (change it right then!).

Don’t forget to remind your employees that their security depends on more than alarm systems. They need to be vigilant and report anything suspicious – unfamiliar cars, unescorted visitors, and fellow employees who are not acting like their usual selves. Additionally, remind everyone about where the tornado shelters are located, and decide on a rally point if they have to evacuate the building due to a fire.

Make an annual security check a priority. Mark it on your company wide calendar every year.

Are you looking to install security gates at your business? Call us at 718-614-0616 or e-mail info@nygates.com for more information.

Remember – we’re always available to answer your call.