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How Do you Keep your Small Business Safe and Secure?

Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. Posts: 797administrator Site Admin
edited January 25 in Security
Community, I want to hear from you on this.

What steps do you take to make sure your business is secure? How do you maintain the safety of your employees, as well as your physical and intellectual property?

Do you have regular security audits? What is the best way to go about this?
Ryan O'Bleness
Community Moderator
StartupNation, LLC

Comments

  • Jeff MarlonJeff Marlon Posts: 71subscriber Bronze Level Member
    By keeping employees and company data safe and secure, you should keep it confidential from all. Keep an eye on industry trends and keep your moves hidden.
    Record each and every data and maintain record for each and every activity.
    Get your firm registered into all legal things to get it safe and secure.
    Follow things and processes that are important to your company and employees.
  • ridgejoh@2017[email protected] Posts: 23subscriber Bronze Level Member
    Ryan, thanks for posing this questions because it is a question that I have found many business owners and members of management struggle with on a day to day basis. My background is law enforcement (almost 20 years) and corporate security manager 7 years. So I definitely can add some value to the discussion.

    I recently wrote an article addressing this issue and definitely want to share the elements of that article with the community!

    Risk Assessment

    No matter the size of your business, you must determine your weakness and vulnerabilities when assessing your business security needs. This will give you a snap shot of today and where you want to be in the near future. For those who have a physical location, I would begin with the exterior to determine vulnerability.

    If you have a security system in place, is it being monitored? What is the response time from the monitoring company? Also, you want to have a wireless security system in place if it is a land line system. Wired systems (land lines) can be cut and cause your system to be inoperable. So look at an upgrade if you have not already. Most companies have door and window alarms but also be sure to put in motion sensors. I have seen where burglars have cut into the adjoining business to enter another business undetected.

    Interior Vulnerabilities. Do you have high value merchandise under lock and key? How easy is it to access customer and employee data? Do you have cameras in strategic locations such as entry/exit doors, sales floor, safe, cashier drawer?

    Background checks should be conducted in new hires. Hiring associates without a background check can be costly. Also consider conducting post background checks. See what your state says about this issue.

    Is Your Business Location Secure?

    How safe do your customers and personnel feel? Is it safe to walk in the parking lot? day or night? Do you have exterior security cameras? Consider contacting a professional security company to get a consultation on what would work best for your location.

    If your business is in a shared location/plaza then consider approaching the owner about providing security guards. If you are the owner then considering hiring the security guards or off-duty police.

    People want to feel safe and secure no matter where they are. If they do not feel safe, they will take their business elsewhere.

    Business Security Training

    Business Security begins with a solid foundation. Take a look at your policy/procedures for processing payments. What are your requirements for processing debit/credit cards? Checks? How are you managing cash shortages? If you don't have your rules documented, NOW is the time.

    Your payment acceptance procedures and policy should be documented for all personnel to refer to for training and general reference. Management, office personnel, and sales associates must be trained according to your policy. Make sure the person conducting the training is fully knowledgeable of your policy/procedures. If this is done incorrectly, bad training will be passed on like a virus.

    Also, you should have an acknowledgement form for your policy/procedures and any updates. This helps maintain the integrity of your business. Your business security training should focus on every aspect of your business.

    Make sure that only assigned key personnel should have access to sensitive information. Educate yourself and your team on trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, etc.

    Inventory of Merchandise/Equipment (Random Audits)

    Take an inventory of your equipment and make certain ALL model/serial numbers are documented and kept in a secure place for future retrieval. Taking pictures of high dollar equipment won't hurt! For certain equipment, you may want to make sure it is bolted down. Sometimes equipment grows legs and walks.

    Take regular inventory/audits of merchandise and don't hesitate to conduct at random times to keep everyone on their feet.

    Hopefully you have a P.O.S that keeps track of inventory. If you do not have one that does, consider doing an upgrade. Merchandise pull from stock should be documented or scanned to show movement and who removed the item from stock.

    As you may know, skimmers can be placed on P.O.S and record sensitive customer information. Check your P.O.S on a regular an make sure it has not been replaced or tampered with.

    Follow-Up and Implementation

    Your policy/procedures must remain current and fluid. The criminal element will always look for holes in your system or how to exploit your vulnerabilities. Your policy/procedures are only a guide and will have to change to reflect the operations of your organization and be effective. Reassess your business security as often as necessary and encourage feedback from staff and professionals in the field.
    John Ridgeway
    http://rusecurenow.com/
    #1 Business Security Website for Information and Solutions
  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. Posts: 797administrator Site Admin
    Thank you for your input, Jeff and John.

    Security is not my area of expertise, so I appreciate hearing opinions and the expertise from small business owners who have experience in this area.

    Jeff, do you have specific record-keeping strategies or software you use?

    John, very insightful. Your background as a law enforcement officer and corporate security manager surely allow you to speak on this matter. I think risk assessment is something a lot of smaller businesses may neglect, or don't put enough effort into, because they believe they are not a target. However, every business needs to pay close attention and have a plan in place for when something goes wrong.
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Moderator
    StartupNation, LLC
  • anushkachhakrabartianushkachhakrabarti Posts: 219subscriber Silver Level Member
    Your payment acceptance procedures and policy should be documented for all personnel to refer to for training and general reference. Management, office personnel, and sales associates must be trained according to your policy. Make sure the person conducting the training is fully knowledgeable of your policy/procedures. If this is done incorrectly, bad training will be passed on like a virus.
  • DarissaDarissa Posts: 23subscriber
    We use the services of this company http://www.nationalitsolutions.com.au/, they provide services to us like business it support and cloud computing for accountants. We work with them recently. but very satisfied. At first. they quickly moved all of our information in the cloud. Secondly, we are saving on the purchase of software. Third, they ensure the safety of our data. I think this is a good solution even for small businesses.
  • ElexalexElexalex Posts: 56subscriber Bronze Level Member
    i think your expert and honest employees are your company Asset you should utilized your Asset for Business improvement ,
  • HelenaSHelenaS Posts: 3subscriber Member
    edited May 29
    I'm not an expert in data security, but know for sure that when it comes to choosing a software for data protection, a minimal thing required is encryption (end-to-end).
    For a small business a good solution could be https://www.maytech.net/. There's actually a few solutions. All keep you compliant, make sure your data is secured and doesn't leave the data center (doesn't migrate all over the world)
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