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4 Security Tips To Help Your Business Grow Technology is the key to making sure no one unlocks your doors or data.

By Chris Porteous

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The world of corporate security is a dangerous place. Small businesses in particular can find themselves on the back foot very quickly, especially when arrayed against criminals that have experience in breaking down much larger security systems. Small Business Trends noted that nearly 9 percent of small businesses were victims of theft or burglary in 2016. Despite this threat, there is hope, since a company can take steps to increase its security.

The most common security issues involve computer systems and customer data, but many companies don't realize the necessity of securing brick-and-mortar premises the same way they would their online presence. By increasing security to a physical location, the company can benefit from increased brand confidence and better job performance and satisfaction among its employees. And loyal employees, in turn, usually translate into loyal customers. Fortunately, there are a few actionable steps any business can take to make itself more secure, and here are four.

1. Install proper internal security measures.

A business that has its premises on a commercial property is more than likely using the bolts and locks that came with it. Replacing them may seem like an unnecessary expense, but as Great Valley Lockshop advises, complex high-security locks are a much better choice.

But locks are just the first step. All businesses should invest in a proper, fully monitored alarm system (i.e. more than just a standard loud alarm). In the event of a break-in, having armed response may mean the difference between major and minor losses. Additionally, having a response team makes it less likely that someone will chance breaking into the premises in the first place.

No commercial security system would be complete without security cameras. Thanks to new technology, cameras can be programmed not only to record all data as it comes in but to allow the owners to log into the system remotely and view those cameras. In the case of a break-in, the cameras will also help to identify perpetrators and may be used in prosecution.

Related: 6 Reasons for Entrepreneurs to Invest in Security

2. Perform proper security checks on vendors.

Businesses that require suppliers to enter the building need to establish a good working relationship with those vendors and perform valid security checks on any personnel. Among these checks should be the vendor's credit history and any past complaints or pending cases it may have. Online reviews are also useful to gauge tthe vendor's level of service and efficiency. Some businesses leave the security checks up to the vendor, but this could lead to awkward situations if the examination was not thorough enough and the cleared personnel manages to gain unlawful entry.

3. Invest in data security.

Physically securing a business is one thing. Ensuring that its data systems are impenetrable is an entirely different matter. In a recent survey, 81 percent of executives admitted that a lack of cybersecurity compromised their business over the last two years. Small businesses are the most attractive targets for hackers since they offer a goal that has far less security than a large corporation but the same level of returns.

All a small business needs to secure its data is a cybersecurity system that makes it inordinately difficult for a malicious user to gain access. Most hackers aren't interested in spending massive amounts of time trying to gain access to a system, and if the security is too high, they will just as quickly look elsewhere.

Additionally, businesses may look into employing a VPN to secure data transmitted online. While a VPN provides a secure method of transferring data, it doesn't actually allow one to protect ownership identity. VPNs are most useful when sensitive information needs to go from the company's server to a remote one. By developing a secure connection between both sender and recipient, it ensures that no third party can intercept the data.

Related: The Major Security Risks Small Businesses Face

4. Shred or wipe documents before disposal.

Shredding documents may seem like a throwback, but it doesn't just apply to paper anymore. There is software that ensures digital data is similarly erased for good, ensuring that if the hardware gets into someone else's hands, they'd be unable to recover any data. Invoices, customer quotes and printed communications are among the items any company needs to deal with adequately before disposal. For physical materials, shredding is still the disposal method of choice, and as an added plus, the shredded documents can be sent for recycling, completely obliterating any possible recovery.

The continued growth and success of a business is ultimately dependent on its ability to deal with potential breaches from the outside. Security is an ever-changing landscape, and companies must continually update and revamp their protocols and methods to stay one step ahead of lurking predators.

Chris Porteous

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

High Performance Growth Marketer

Chris Porteous is CEO of SearchEye, which offers unbundled digital marketing projects for clients and agencies across the globe.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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