1. Security is business critical
Let’s firstly understand the effect an intrusion could have on your business:
- Protect your cash flow. Cash flow is the lifeline of all businesses: up to 80% of small business failures can be traced back to cashflow issues (1). Intruders may steal stock, equipment, and data. They may also do damage to your premises, such as tampering with doors and windows. Both would require having to draw from cash reserves to recover material losses or damage, with the additional risk of higher insurance premiums and loss of revenues should the business need to temporarily close. These unexpected costs consequently affect cashflow.
- Put safety first. Intruders could pose a risk to the safety of employees and customers. They may put people in uncompromising situations to get what they want – e.g. access to a secure area, money or stock. In a worst-case scenario, intruders may be armed.
- Be proactive in reputation management. If sensitive data is stolen, or the safety of employees and customers is put at risk, this can affect your ability to remain attractive to existing or prospective customers and employees. A 2016 Lab report by Kaspersky estimates the combined cost of data breaches to small businesses to be as high as $117K, ranging from IT costs to brand damage repair or lost business. Customers may deem it risky and unreliable to do business with you, and employees may think it’s not safe to work for the company. This can result in a loss of business and talent.
2. Eliminate weak points
A 2017 UK Victimisation survey found that between 30% and 60% of small businesses (under 50 employees) experienced crime. When trying to gain access to premises, intruders look for weak points. This could include windows, back entrances, and side doors – or generally any area that hasn’t been secured. Once inside, they’ll continue to look for internal weak points to access sensitive areas – such as stock rooms, cash offices, and staff areas.
3. Professional site security surveys: a positive and important first step
To avoid having weak points in and around your premises, it’s beneficial to conduct a thorough site survey. This involves reviewing your entrances, exits and any other openings around the premises. For peace of mind, it’s recommended to get the survey done professionally, as an expert will be able to identify unsecured locations and suggest which security measures to put in place.
4. Keep forward-planning and risk management in focus
Building a solid ecosystem of reliable expert advisors and vendors is crucial to the longevity of young businesses. To ensure risks are managed appropriately as the business grows, security should be one of the areas you approach strategically from day 1. This includes understanding the how risks might evolve over the life of your business and what might trigger changes in your risk profile. Having the backing of a reliable security partner will help you plan and anticipate these changes, ensuring your security systems are effective, right-sized, and adaptable as your business grows.