Every business should consider the importance of its security. Often, small businesses do not include this in the immediate ‘to-do list’ because they might believe they aren’t targets, since they are only a small operation. This type of thinking is dangerous, and should be avoided.
Something to keep in mind is that there are mass attacks out there targeted to infect systems in order to get credit card numbers, and these types of attacks can be disastrous for small businesses. In addition, larger companies are already ramping-up their security so smaller businesses are becoming more attractive as targets – easier to crack open. Security threats are also not limited to attacks from the outside, but can come from within your own company.
So what can you do to limit the possibility of security threats?
Businesses should always be alert and vigilant. The most important times when people need to be very conscious about their surroundings would be during opening and closing hours. It’s very important for employers to pay extra attention to both employees and those outside the company during these key times because many people will try to take advantage of any distraction.
Provide Proper Lighting
When it comes to the area where the business is located, bright lighting should be installed on all the doors and parking lots to improve security for both the business and its employees. Make sure that your business is clearly visible from the street so that any police or security people will be able to see into the store or area clearly. Remember that burglars often target offices and businesses located in areas not viewable from the street.
Get Help from a Security Company
It also pays to have good security installed in your premises. Getting a proper alarm system is really quite affordable and it could pay for itself the first time it is triggered. Since there are a lot of companies ready to provide security you can get competitive quotes from them and choose one that you can afford and be comfortable with. Make sure to shop around first to find the right one for your business.
Take Care of Your Data and Limit Access
The information that you get from your customers as well as the information you have for your business should be well protected. Don’t wait for a breach in security to secure all of your information. A mistake like that can mean spending a lot of time and money to make up for it. It’s best to always take precautions to avoid leakage of sensitive data.
- Make sure that you limit the computer access your employees have to only websites and actions that are needed in order to perform the job. You do not want them to access external websites or networks where there might be a threat lurking that is just waiting for an opening to get into your network.
- Each of your employees should also be given their own usernames to use when logging on to the computer. Also, remind them that passwords should never be shared and that they are responsible for any activity that happens when their username logged into the system.
- Another option you can explore is to set aside one computer for keeping all of your financial records and transactions. Then limit this computer to only being able to browse your banks website and only open applications related to any recordkeeping. It’s also smart to only give access to this computer to one or two parties so accountability can be firmly established.
Always Use Firewalls
The use of firewalls is to contain communication to within a specified network and to disallow communication with other networks not related to the business. Firewalls should be activated for all computers in your business. This really will increase the security levels of your company to limit any unauthorized access coming from outside your network.
Have Emergency Plans in Place
Make sure that you already have documents outlining steps to follow in case of an emergency. It’s best to always be prepared for eventualities such as fire, theft, floods and the like. And even if it does sound cheesy, having drills performed regularly will pay-off, and is sometimes required by fire prevention or insurance agencies.
Evacuation plans should always be displayed in an area where employees will see them often and can familiarize themselves with them. Important telephone numbers should be included in the same document, including telephone numbers for the police and emergency services.
One area that you should also explore as a business is E911. Having this feature as part of your telephone plan means that as long as someone dials 911, the police and emergency services will be dispatched to your location immediately. There’s no need for anyone to speak with the 911 operator, having E911 means your address is already in their database and is readily accessible.
Audits of all the information and data that your employees store in their computers or in their profiles should be done regularly to reduce security risks. Apart from the softcopies of the files, make sure to also do audits on the hardcopies kept in their drawers.
Make it a rule that all paper documents containing client or business information should be shredded on a regular basis once it is no longer needed. Setting up a regular schedule for shredding is a must. Make sure to cascade it to your employees so everyone will get used to setting aside documents to shred. This protects not only you from liability, but it also protects your customer’s personal information.
The real key to security for small businesses is simply being vigilant. Placing precautionary measures for eventualities might seem too much at the start, but having things happen because you haven’t prepared for it is much worse. Remember that the time and the resources you will have to allot if you suffer from any type of security attack will infinitely be more expensive compared to taking precautions in the first place.
If you find setting up security for your business to be daunting, it’s always good to consult a professional. This might seem like an added expense, but proper security is a vital part of your business and should not be taken lightly.