Small business owners have a lot to think about: keeping investors happy, establishing a solid business plan, onboarding new employees, and more. With so much going on, security may not seem like the biggest priority. Whether you have an office building or you work from home, however, theft and vandalism can be devastating for a small business. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to keep you, your inventory and your employees safe. Here are five security upgrades you should consider for your small business.
Install an Alarm System
If you already have an alarm system through your building or property manager, go ahead and skip this one. If you don’t have some sort of alarm system installed, however, add this to your to-do list, ASAP! Between your inventory, money and important documents, there are many things you need to protect in your office. An alarm system will make sure these things stay safe when you’re not there. Based on a study from UNC Charlotte, approximately 83 percent of burglars surveyed said they would first try to determine if an alarm was present, and 60 percent of burglars said they would find a new target if they discovered an alarm.
If you’re hesitant about installing an alarm because you think it will be costly, rest assured; there are some fantastic, budget-friendly wireless alarm systems. Instead of installing an entire system and paying installation and maintenance fees (like traditional alarm systems), you can purchase the components you need and have them up and running in a matter of minutes. A wireless alarm system is an easy, inexpensive way to boost your security.
Note: Make sure you display alarm stickers and decals so it’s clear that there is an alarm system in your office.
Use Security Cameras
Security cameras outside your office can deter potential burglars. If your camera is visible, an intruder may not want to risk getting caught on video. If you have a hidden security camera, you will have video proof if theft, damage or vandalism occur. You can also use a security camera inside your office, if you want to keep a watchful eye on employees when you’re not at work.
Depending on the features, security cameras can cost anywhere from $90 to $400, but you don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles; even a less-expensive security camera can do the trick to boost your safety. If you don’t want to shell out the money, consider installing a fake security camera. Dummy cameras cost less and are still effective.
“Studies show the mere presence of security cameras and/or fake cameras decreases crimes of opportunity,” according to security experts at The Home Security Superstore. “Simply installing a false security alarm or a fake security camera could save you thousands of dollars or even save your life.”
Upgrade Your Locks
Take a look at the current lock on your door. If you have the pre-installed, standard locks the building put in place, they may be easy to pick or not strong enough to withstand forced entry.
There are several options if you want to upgrade your locks. A double-cylinder deadbolt is a great option because it requires a key to unlock from the outside and lock from the inside. A burglar can’t break your window and twist your lock by hand. A mortise lock is another good choice because it’s built to withstand force and combines a standard door lock and a deadbolt in the same unit.
You may also want to consider swapping your current lock for a smart lock. You can get smart locks with digital keypads, so you can use an access code instead of a key. Some smart locks sync to your phone, which gives you remote access. A smart lock may be the way to go if you have careless employees who lose their keys or forget to lock up when they leave.
Note: Make sure to check with your rental or property manager before you do any manual labor on your locks or doors.
Use Security Lighting
The majority of burglars like to work in the dark so they have a place to hide. Security lighting, which includes motion sensors and timer lights, take away a burglar’s sense of security. Motion-activated lights outside your business can scare burglars away because there’s a greater risk of being spotted or caught. Timer lights, inside or outside your office, are also a valuable safety tool.
Thieves prefer to hit unoccupied homes or businesses. If you have lights and electronics on a timer, a potential intruder won’t know for sure if someone is inside. There are several different options for security lighting, you can definitely find lights that fit your needs and your budget.
Upgrade Your Online Security
You may not have a large IT team for your business, but you definitely need to take a vested interest in your cyber security. Business transactions take place online and your user data is also stored online. If your website or email is hacked the results could be devastating: you could lose money and customers.
Small business owners used to believe they were exempt from cyber criminals and hackers, but in some cases, small businesses are an even more enticing target. “Smaller companies are attractive because they tend to have weaker online security,” according to John Brandon from Inc. “They’re also doing more business than ever online via cloud services that don’t use strong encryption technology. To a hacker, that translates into reams of sensitive data behind a door with an easy lock to pick.”
At the very least, your business should have anti-virus software, a secure firewall, data encryption, two-factor authentication and unique, strong passwords for all your accounts. You should also educate your employees about cyber threats and phishing scams. While it’s important to have these things in place, you should hire a knowledgeable IT professional to get your systems up and running or find a cyber security company to help you lockdown your online accounts. Remember, it’s your responsibility to protect your customers’ personal information.
Now that your business is up and running, it’s important to do what you can to protect your investment. Even minor security upgrades can make a big difference. Prioritize safety upgrades and give yourself peace of mind that your business is safe.
Author: Maile Proctor is a professional blogger and content editor. She writes on health and fitness, family and lifestyle, business, education and more. Maile earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking in San Diego, California. Follow Maile on Twitter @maile_proctor.