The holidays are over, the calendar has turned, and it is time to get back to business. But that doesn't have to mean that it’s back to business as usual. Now is the time to sit down and evaluate your security and efficiency practices as a whole. Immediately after the new year is the best time to reassess and re-evaluate your security measures.
As a small business owner, finding the time and resources to protect your business can be a challenge, particularly because you face such a variety of risks. Here's a look at some of the top types of risk entrepreneurs face, with some suggested solutions for being proactive about security.
The risk: Intrusion risk, including theft of equipment, is most often the first concern of any business owner. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that employee theft costs about $50 billion annually, a figure many experts believe is conservative—it could be as much as twice that! And equipment theft can lead to several other kinds of risk, as it leaves you open to scenarios such as data loss, tainted reputation and more.
The tools: Video surveillance, access control solutions and intrusion detection and interactive solutions allow you to monitor video remotely from almost any web-enabled device, such as smart phones and tablets. You can even set text alerts to give you a heads up about specific activity at your business. These types of systems alert both you and the police to break-ins immediately. Also, a security system with a panic button can send a silent signal to the alarm station, which will protect you and your staff if an intrusion or robbery occurs while your business is staffed.
The reward: Helping to reduce incidence of theft, both by outsiders and employees, and increase peace of mind, thanks to a higher level of security and safety for your employees.
The risk: Reputation risk might sound like a vague concept, but in many ways, having your reputation attacked is among the most serious hits your business can take. If you aren't trusted in your industry, community, or line of service, it can be hard to win (or win back) customers, vendors and suppliers. Some experts believe that corporations now spend more time protecting their reputations than designing new products. A study in the Harvard Business Review found that 70 percent to 80 percent of market value now comes from reputation-related intangible assets.
Many things can cause your reputation to suffer, some which are out of your control. But some things you can control, like the mistrust and anger that comes along with the theft of data or other assets.
The tools: Video surveillance, access control solutions and intrusion detection are all tools that can help prevent the theft of data which, if made public, could undermine your brand and reputation.
The reward: Confidence and trust in your brand.
The risk: Financial risk. Many things can take a toll on your bottom line. Even costs from seemingly small things like energy bills can reduce profits. In fact, energy costs are one of the top three business expenses for 35 percent of small businesses, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
The tools: Many interactive automation and security platforms allow you to remotely control devices like appliances and lighting, helping you better monitor your business’ energy consumption. Gaining insight into when thermostats and lighting should be turned down or off will ensure that you don't pay for what you don't need.
The reward: Potential energy conservation and savings
The risk: The risk on everyone's minds: Cyber risk. While cyber criminals have historically targeted large enterprises, many of those corporations have made heavy investments to apply more sophisticated security measures, shifting the cyber crime dynamic. The move has pushed digital predators' focus to smaller, more vulnerable targets. In its most recent findings, cyber-security firm Symantec reported that in 2012, 31 percent of targeted attacks were aimed at businesses with fewer than 250 employees, up from 18 percent the previous year
The tools: Security protocols that determine who has access to certain information—including a process for creating and changing passwords—is essential. Electronic access controls allow you to monitor for the proper use of these protocols. Don't forget that laptops and tablets should always be locked away when they are not being used to prevent unauthorized access. Video monitoring can also help you keep an eye on these assets.
The reward: Help reduce cost—in both dollars and man hours—and added peace of mind knowing employee and customer data is safe.
The risk: Insurance risk. Of course you have insurance, and of course you hope to not need it. But when you do, you need to be as prepared as possible. Otherwise it may cost you in the man hours needed to file claims as well as real dollars.
The tools: Video surveillance can help address insurance and liability claims by allowing you to go back and view what caused an incident, like a slip or fall. Monitored security—24/7—means that fires, break-ins and more can be dealt with immediately, even if you’re not on the premises at the time.
The reward: Faster and more accurate settlement of insurance claims when events occur.