Congratulations on starting your own business, or on getting your own business address and opening your business office. Now that you’re done with all that, let’s talk about security.
Whether you are in the business of providing a service to a customer or providing a product, there will always be a risk factor with the information that you handle: for both you and for your customers. It is a good idea to put safeguards in place before any major problem comes up.
Protecting sensitive information is a must, but making sure your physical premises has safety precautions and safety plans in place will make everyone feel at ease and should be something that you consider as well.
Create a Code of Proper Conduct
Before you hire the first employee, you should establish a Code of Conduct. This document should outline what is acceptable or proper behavior within office premises and what repercussions there will be if an employee violates the terms. Though this document does not need to detail all necessary actions, it is best to outline necessary areas such as protecting company property and keeping sensitive information safe and within company premises.
A Code of Conduct should be communicated to your employees upon hiring and they should signify that they will abide by it. If there are any changes you need to make to the document, go ahead and do so and ensure all your employees will be informed of the changes.
A Code of Coduct document should also be accessible to your employees at all times and should be included in each one of their personal employee files.
Schedule a Weekly or Monthly Shredding
Protection of your documents should not only extend to the security you install on your computers. Most of the documents that contain personal information for your customers or even for the business are stored on paper. It’s safer to schedule a weekly or monthly shredding of documents. This way everyone will be used to setting aside documents for shredding ahead of time.
If you find weekly or monthly shredding to be a hassle you can also choose a different schedule. The point is to make sure there is a regular schedule followed in shredding and disposing of old documents.
To further place a level of security on documents and information, schedule audits annually. This means you will be able to check on documents kept by your employees both in paper form and in their computers. After you’ve done the audits, audits will allow you to identify areas where security can be improved.
Make the most out of the audits you conduct. After identifying the areas where security can be improved, see what can be done about it. Do not put it off: putting it off will allow the possibility of the weakness in your security to be exploited.
Audits aren’t there to look for faults in your employees. They are in place to evaluate the security measures that you have set up on computers and around your office area. You should emphasize this when you notify your employees of the audits. This way no one will misunderstand your purpose in conducting the audit.
Designate Computer Access Levels
Whether your business utilizes one computer or utilizes a network, it is best you designate a username for each individual user. After you designate a username, you should also limit the access levels of the profile of your employee. This not only guarantees you know what your employee can access but it also ensures that you will not have problems when it comes to any unauthorized changes that might be made.
Protecting the password of each user is also a must; require that their personal passwords should have a capital letter, a number, and a special character. Passwords should always be changed after 30 or 45 days. If employees are not at their desks, make it a requirement that they lock their computers to avoid unauthorized access. Your employees should also be responsible for protecting their passwords and should not write them down on any piece of paper and most importantly never share their password with anyone.
Be it at home or at the office, you should already have set emergency plans. Instructions should include what to do in case of emergencies such as fire, robberies, theft, or tornadoes. Your safety plan should also have complete contact numbers for the police and emergency services.
An evacuation plan should also be outlined and displayed in a prominent area where your employees can view it and familiarize themselves with it. It’s also a good idea to provide reminders or safety tips periodically to employees.
Keep in mind that placing safety measures for your office premises is best rather than waiting for something to happen to force you to put them up. Investing in a good security company is recommended as protection will be set up around the clock. But before you get this option you can make sure that all doors, windows and storage areas have their own locks and that keys to each of these are properly monitored.
Your office should also be located in an area that can be seen from the street easily as most thieves or burglars are attracted to businesses that are hidden from view. If your business is hidden from view, an audio alarm might help to reduce the risks of not being seen easily.
Adequate lighting is important not only for the interior of your building, but it is also a must for the exterior. For your office space, always leave a light on when you leave for the night so police or security can see into it. For the perimeter, always maintain good lighting on doors and in parking lots.
This precaution is simple but it not only keeps your space safe but it also keeps your employees safe if any need to extend their hours into the night.
These are only tips that you can consider after you have set up your business, this will take time and effort on your part and will likely not be terribly cheap to implement. But do not ignore security measures simply because of an additional cost. The amount of money you will spend for security measures is significantly low compared to any instance your business might suffer due to a breach in security.