Any breach of security could cost you immeasurably at a time when you are conducting a balancing act to manage growth without overstretching your budgets.

You can never completely rule out the risk of a theft taking place or a breach of security within your business. What you can do is ensure that you have carried out a few basic tasks that will give you and your business the best possible chance to limit that risk.

Risk Assessments at an Early Stage
Carry out a thorough assessment of your business premises and the surrounding areas in which you are located. There might be clear vulnerabilities or historical weaknesses in the area and building prior to the arrival of your business. Find out as much information as you can before commencing with securing the premises.

Security is Key
If you have the available budget it is always a good start to secure the whole property, or at least as much of it as you possibly can; especially if you have concerns following the risk assessment. You can install CCTV and alarm systems to cover weak points of entry. Security lighting is always a good option, as are strong window locks and the strengthening of doors around the property. Cost is always a consideration when it comes to security, which can be quite costly in some circumstances, but the positive is that your insurance costs will lower significantly should you demonstrate a fully secure premises.

Provide Training to Your Staff
If you have staff members who are in a public facing role training is vitally important. Security training is a way of introducing techniques to your staff so that they are fully aware of how to spot suspicious behaviour in customers. You should also provide training which teaches employees how to defend themselves in the worst case scenarios and how to properly report crime to the authorities. Signage around the premises indicating ‘staff only’ sections are also a great idea to highlight any untoward characters in the wrong areas of the premises.

Secure Your Stock and Equipment
Organisation is key. From an early stage you should set up processes to audit equipment and stock. That way, in the event of anything going missing or stolen you will have a much quicker way of finding out. Serial numbers for company equipment can be logged and anything over a certain value should be kept in a separate, secure location on the premises at the end of each working day.

Carry Out Extensive Checks on Prospective Employees
One of the biggest problems small companies have is how to build a level of trust with employees. There are many instances of stock or equipment being stolen by employees, or information being given to external sources that then carry out a theft. One way to protect yourself is to always undergo an extensive level of employment history and reference checking. Once you have employed a person they should be made clearly aware of your policies regarding breaches of security involving employees.

Be Careful with Sensitive Information
Company records should be restricted to you and a handful of trusted upper management employees. Data security is important to all businesses, including client information and of course your employees personal records. Having a fully functioning and secure IT system will help you manage the controls of access to such records. For physical documentation, anything you may need to dispose of, consider shredding paper waste so no information can be easily picked up outside of your premises.

Keep Checking
It can be easy to fall complacent once you have set up secure premises and have processes in place that work to check on a daily basis for any potential threats. Don’t let your guard down. Theft is a constant threat and if you tread water, you will eventually find yourself coming unstuck. Research to keep up to date with methods of protection and security, provide regular training for all staff and undertake spot checks from time to time to keep everyone on their toes, including you.

Setting Up Your Business