More than ever, security now remains a top consideration for any small business. Installing quality locks and alarms is only part of the solution. Most businesses will also need to consider investing in a safe to protect valuables on-site. Safes not only provide a safeguard against theft but also against fire.

If you’re in the market for a safe there are a few important considerations to take into account before you make the purchase.

What Contents Are You Securing?

Not all safes are created equal and the type you choose must reflect the contents you are intending to secure. For documents, you can probably invest in a smaller safe whereas items like electronics will require a larger safe. It’s generally recommended that you future proof the investment by buying one slightly larger than you need. That way you’ll minimize the need for an upgrade as the business needs change with time.

If you are intending to store digital data on CDs or DVDs, you’ll also need to ensure your safe has a good fire protection rating because temperatures exceeding 50˚C easily destroy these items. Once you have a clear idea of the contents you need to protect, estimate their value both in terms of monetary cost and importance. How important are the contents to you? The greater their value, the better quality safe you should invest in.

What is the Best Location for Your Safe?

The location of where the safe is going to be installed will also play an important role in your security solution. It shouldn’t be visible to customers, clients, or even general staff. Large safes are extremely heavy and can be free standing in a backroom. Others can be installed in the wall or floor and hidden by rugs or wall fittings. Smaller ones can be securely anchored inside a cupboard or under a desk to allow quick access while remaining out of sight. It’s vital that smaller safes are securely fastened to something that cannot be broken to prevent thieves taking it. Your security professional will install your safe correctly and securely.

What Type of Locking Mechanism is Best?

Just as there are many sizes to choose from, there are also different types of locking mechanisms which will affect the security of your safe. Generally, there are four types to consider.

Keyed locks are popular for businesses when only a few people need access. They are quick, convenient, and cheaper than the other systems but they are also less secure.

Combination locks are the most popular and cost-effective, however, if you aren’t good at remembering the codes they might not be the best option. Writing your code down on the same premises as the safe is a very risky practice!

Electronic locks are very common now but they can be more expensive. They provide easy access and tend to be one of the more secure types of locking mechanism.

Finally, you can consider a hybrid locking system—one that combines an electronic lock with one of the other systems, such as a key.

What about the Rating of a Safe?

Quality brands come with a security rating. This can include separate ratings for theft and fire protection. A high-end safe might include a rating from Underwriters Laboratory, a professional body which provides a number of industry standards. Insurance companies also rate safes on their level of protection.

Many entry level safes are only fire-rated for 30 minutes so you might want to consider one with a higher rating if your contents are particularly vulnerable to heat.

What Brands Can You Trust?

If you are serious about protecting your valuables, you’ll need to invest in a brand with a proven track record. Most of the leading brands are well-established and recognizable by most people. Yale, Chubb and Rhino are great brands for business owners to invest in.

Author: Jayde Ferguson writes for Central Lock & Key – Perth’s security professionals for commercial businesses and residential properties supplying quality Yale Safes. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

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