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5 Inexpensive Security Tips for Your Small Business

The frontline of physical security for your business consists of alarms, lighting, locks, security gates and shutters, a good safe, and cyber safeguards like firewalls and virus protection.

Paying for business security systems and equipment can be hard on small enterprises, but there are additional steps for improving security at a business which cost little or nothing and are easy to implement.

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Here are 5 inexpensive ideas for improving business security.

  1. Protection for Lone Workers

Lone workers are employees who must work without direct visual or auditory contact with other workers or supervisors. This includes people working in a kiosk, in isolated areas of a construction site, alone in a retail shop, on a delivery route, and in many other situations.

Workers who are alone on the job are more vulnerable than those who work with others. While sometimes it is necessary for workers to be alone on the job, keeping them safe is an employer’s responsibility. Keeping lone workers in contact with someone at all times protects the worker and the business and is inexpensive to implement.

Even when workers are on their own, it is always possible for them to have fast contact with others via a phone line, text message, or a lone worker safety monitoring service for little or no cost. The person at the receiving end can be the business owner, an off-duty employee, or an automated monitoring service.

If workers must be alone, protect them and your business by having solid policies and procedures to keep them safe. Establishing safety policies and training employees in those policies can be done for little cost. Develop lone worker safety policies with a frequent check-in system, and always have someone available on the receiving end in case the solo employee needs emergency assistance.

Lone worker safety monitoring services and apps are a new business model using wireless technology and automated check-ins to monitor worker safety. Workers can also use the system to quickly summon for help if there is any kind of emergency, similar to protective devices used by seniors.

  1. Secure Computers, Passwords, and Data

The 2014 Internet Threat Report done by the Symantec Company found 30 percent of cybercrime in the previous year was targeted against small businesses with under 500 employees. They also found that more than 70 percent of breaches of organizational data begins with people on the inside of the company.

A significant amount of this intrusion results from unintentional actions by employees – like opening a malicious attachment or downloading something from a dangerous source. Sometimes the breach is intentional and due to poor regulation and vetting in hiring, lack of employee monitoring on the job, or lack of restriction of access to valuable data.

There are many simple and low-cost ways of fortifying the information you keep on your business computers. Bank account statements, contracts, customer lists, tax returns, credit card receipts, patents, correspondence, and similar documents are frequently target by cyber criminals and can be given extra protection in several ways.

Low-cost digital security solutions include:

  • Regular training in online threat detection for all employees.
  • Using different, randomly generated passwords for each computer and for sensitive files and folders.
  • Through vetting of employees, suppliers, vendor, and sub-contractors.
  • Limiting access to files, computers, and other valuable files to those who must have it.
  • Locking computers and valuable paper files in cabinets.
  • Destroying and properly disposing of old hard drives, cell phones, memory sticks, and other sensitive records.

Another low-cost way of protecting data is developing a a risk assessment process to classify data according to its value. Consider the consequences of losing each data type and how such a loss could affect your earnings, reputation, or daily business operation.

Once you have conducted a risk assessment and classified your data, develop a security system reflecting the security needs for each type of data. If some data is more sensitive than others, consider having separate hard drives with greater security for the most valuable files.

If your business involves travel, create a security protocol for the data itself and how it is handled and transmitted. By doing a risk assessment like this, you can focus your resources on those areas of business where you have the greatest vulnerabilities and not waste resources protecting data that does not need it.

Creating a risk assessment for digital and cyber security is low-cost and can be done through a simple conversation between everyone who has a stake in the data. Written policies can be brief and simple. In fact, making them so increases the chances they will be followed.

  1. Establish a Visitor Policy

Develop a policy for keeping track of all visitors entering your facility, office building, or warehouse. Have visitors sign-in when they enter and leave the building and consider using name tags for visitor identification. The most secure visitor monitoring systems use a visitor badge printed with a photograph of the person coupled with an electronic visitor management system.

Have a policy of requiring visitors to make an advanced appointment with the person they want to see, and consider a buzzer and camera at entrances where feasible. When regular clients, vendors, and maintenance workers come in, have them sign-in also and designate someone to escort them to their destination.

  1. Install Surveillance Cameras

If your business location is small and you have do-it-yourself abilities, you can install small, inexpensive security cameras and wirelessly hook them up to your smart phone. The system can monitor your location and be connected to notify you in the event of an intrusion, fire, or other emergency.

You can also use the cameras to check-in remotely from your phone whenever you want to see what is going on at your business location. Be aware there are strict laws about what you can monitor, but as long as you are monitoring as part of an established security plan, the cameras are placed in public areas, and your employees are aware you are using surveillance cameras, installing surveillance cameras and monitoring them remotely is usually legal.

In some locations you must post signs to let anyone who enters the premises know they are being recorded on camera. Signs announcing the security procedures in effect in a business are low-cost and, even if signs are not required, having them may be a deterrent for some criminals.

  1. Develop a Team Approach to Security

You can upgrade your businesses security by working with all employees and partners as a team in keeping the business safe in all ways. Doing this involves having occasional training meetings and a written set of policies and procedure. Trainings can be informal and inexpensive. Letting people talk to one another and share their experiences, knowledge, and insights strengthens the entire security system and is free.

Establishing an environment of accountability and having written security policies and procedures everyone can understand and follow are central to teambuilding for more effective business security. Keep in mind that most cyber threats coming from within a company are caused by mistakes in understanding Internet security, and educating and updating employees is the best defense and is worth the small investment.

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