Keeping your business secure is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. A single security breach, such as theft, can be enough to sink a small business.
There are some basic and easy ways you can protect yourself, however, especially for the three most vulnerable areas: your virtual, physical, and legal environments.
Keep Your Virtual World Safe
The world is a very different place to what it was ten years ago, and to succeed in business it is vital that you keep up with technology. Moving all our information onto the virtual world of computers and cloud systems means that crime has gone virtual too.
Cyber-attacks, hacks and data destruction and theft aren’t purely the stuff of movies anymore; businesses big and small are targeted by these malicious techniques. Moving your records and customer details out of the filing cabinet and onto the computer has made them less secure; stolen or destroyed records are a costly thing.
You may have to compensate those whose data you’ve lost, or at the very least suffer a damaging blow to your reputation. You’ll also have to deal with the data loss, limiting your access to transactions and financial records, order information and business plans. These all have their own costs. But, there are ways you can prevent such an attack from occurring.
To stop hackers accessing your system, you need strong protection software that guards against viruses and other malicious content. You’ll also need to regularly update passwords, making them hard to crack. Finally, and most importantly, you need to encrypt your data. This means that even if a hacker were to bypass your systems, they can’t read your files. Sure they can do damage, but they can’t steal your information. It’s also a good idea to perform regular backups, to ensure that if data is ever corrupted or destroyed, that you aren’t hurled back to square one.
Lastly, remember that most hackers take the easiest route into your system. Even if you have the world’s strongest software, it counts for nothing if your staff are easily duped into giving access to someone pretending to be a customer. Make sure that your staff are aware of this danger.
A Physical Security Presence for your Business is Non-negotiable
New technology may be taking over the way we do business, but the old ways aren’t dead yet and in some case, computers simply can’t do the job. Everything you use for your business has value, even if most of what you do is online. All the equipment and goods stored in your office, warehouse, or shop, it’s all vital to your business and it all needs protecting.
Using deterrents — CCTV, alarms, fences and signs that advertise your security systems — can prove effective here. Locks, security staff and physical barriers designed to stop potential threats causing damage or stealing your property are also essential.
Having onsite trained security staff is the most effective way of keeping your business secure. Not only can they monitor any suspicious activity, but they can also act to protect your business if necessary. Their presence is also a deterrent in itself, an important presence to have especially if your business deals with difficult customers or valuable property. Locks and cameras can slow a thief, but they can’t stop one unless they are supported by an actual person.
Watch Your Back with Legal Protection
We expect the law to protect our business, but there are those who know how to abuse or misuse the law in order to do us harm. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you inevitably have extensive legal responsibilities, and the buck stops with you.
The sort of legal repercussions that you could fall foul of vary, including accidental trademark to copyright infringement, a customer coming to harm under your premises, disagreements over advice or service you provided, etc. Due to the nature of business and of people, even if you are an upstanding person with an honest and authentic business, you could still find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit.
Many businesses have been accused in the past, and even when they are wrongful, the losses are still substantial. The costs incurred through legal challenges could dismantle your business and so, just as you would against theft data or product, you need to protect yourself against them.
Insurance is your most valuable ally here, as it can provide financial safeguards when it comes to personal and business liability. You may also want to consider discussing with legal experts specific problems that could occur, problems unique to your area of business. This allows you to get appropriate cover.
An example of this would be in the food industry, where failing to declare potential allergens can land you in hot water, as can failing to declare if something is actually hot; hence the rise of “caution-hot” sign at your local coffee shop.
By taking care of these three essential areas of your business, your overall security and peace of mind will be more assured.
Author: The Close Circuit Team is a security services business based in London.