As small-business owners focus more on keeping their digital information out of harm’s way, many can neglect to provide the same level of security for their physical assets -- including company-owned cell phones, laptops, tablets and digital cameras.
The good news is that a growing number of affordable products, beyond traditional alarm systems, can help keep your physical facilities and equipment safe. Here are six tools to consider if you’re looking to secure your company's valuable devices as well as the data that's on them:
1. A Keypad, Key Card or "Biometric" Lock System
Digital lock systems can replace a traditional key with a digital combination, employee identification card, finger print or retina scan. Systems with keycards or passwords can be centrally controlled and monitored, and they are more convenient than traditional locks and keys. Prices for these systems can start as low as $100 per door.
2. Device-Tracking Software
With more employees taking company equipment home, there’s a greater chance that some items can go missing. Installing tracking software can help you locate and retrieve these devices when they go missing.
Tracking software uses global positioning system coordinates -- just like the GPS in your car and the mapping software on your mobile phone -- to pinpoint where your missing device is. Some systems also can locate your mobile device through proprietary technology if someone uses it to access the Internet.
There are free, open-source options such as Prey, as well as numerous products with additional features that you can buy. Absolute Software’s LoJack for laptops, for example, starts at $40 for one year.
3. Portable Device Locks
Laptops and other portable technology devices are among some of the most commonly stolen business items. But installing locks that tether them to desks or other hard-to-move objects can reduce the likelihood of theft. Such locks typically start around $20 and can go as high as $100, depending on the brand and style.
4. Non-Removable Identification Labels
Metal tags engraved with company information can be attached with weather resistant and tamper resistant “high bond” adhesive to business equipment that can be easily stolen. Thieves know that it will be harder to sell stolen devices with permanent labels or to use them in public.
Prices vary depending on the type of label and quantity ordered, but expect to spend about $8 apiece for metal labels with adhesive backing. Two companies to consider for custom metal labels are Metalmarkermfg.com and YEUELL.
5. Motion-Sensing Lights
Motion-sensing light technology systems trigger lights when there is activity in the immediate vicinity, alerting employees to suspicious activity. These detectors can work with any light, whether in a secure area inside your office or in a dark area outside.
Simple outdoor motion-sensing spotlights are relatively inexpensive, such as the Lithonia double-head spotlight (about $120). The price of indoor systems can vary depending on the size of your space.
6. New or Updated Surveillance Equipment
Unless you’re a relatively new business, chances are your security cameras and monitoring system are outdated. That is, if you have any at all.
For less than $500, several systems allow you to view your security camera feeds from any device, using a Wi-Fi network. Options include an entry-level Uniden three-camera wireless system ($300) and the Lorex four-camera set ($650) which is designed for mobile viewing.
The physical security of your business and the devices you use is as important as the safety of your business data. Using one or a combination of these tools can help ensure that your business is not an easy target for theft.