Certified Public Accountants | Business Advisors

Five Steps to Improve Business Security

Sensible ways to protect your company

Some small businesses are facing a big problem: security issues. In today’s fragile economy, losses sustained due to nonexistent or inadequate security measures could severely damage a small company and even jeopardize its very existence. Fortunately, taking action now to shore up your business security may provide sufficient protection for the future. Here are five steps for business managers to follow:

  1. Surveillance cameras: Cameras can protect against theft by both customers and staff members. Place security cameras strategically in certain areas, storerooms and offices. For example, to prevent retail theft, a business security camera might be used outside the store to monitor ingress and egress. Other cameras might be positioned so you can view cash registers. And cameras stationed throughout a store may monitor customer behavior and other suspicious activity (e.g., possibility of shoplifting).
  2. Alarm systems: An alarm or security system can deter external business theft, especially in situations where cash is regularly handled by employees and customers. The system may also discourage break-ins after normal business hours. It can automatically alert the police if an intruder enters when employees are not present. Security passwords should be privileged to a select few.
  3. Security guards: If your business deals with valuable items such as jewelry, it may make sense to hire a security guard to patrol the premises. In addition to an alarm system, security guards can offer protection after hours and/or take shifts during regular working hours. Using security guards thwarts theft and provides general corporate security.
  4. Computer security: To protect the security of information, many businesses that rely on computers do not allow employees to save files to a hard drive. Instead, the files are saved to a corporate network. This allows the company to monitor all files created, saved and edited within the system, while tracking who has access to those files. These information security measures can prevent disgruntled employees from copying internal documents to a personal disk. It reduces the chance that valuable data can be sold or provided to competitors.
  5. Internet security: Information security goes beyond files stored on the corporate network. Due to a fear of identity theft, many customers will not transact business online with any company not using secure servers (i.e., their information is encrypted to prohibit third parties from being able to intercept and view it). This type of security measure has become standard for Web-based businesses. If your managers ignore the threat and the sensitivities of your customers and prospects, you risk losing valuable business. Even worse, if the data falls into the wrong hands, both the business and customers could suffer.

If you do not feel comfortable implementing these suggestions yourself, or having another staff member do it, you might use an outside security consultant. The consultant can perform a thorough assessment and recommend the types of security measures that fit both your needs and your wallet. Don’t put this off until it’s too late.

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