Bu Anita Ginsberg
When you’re just starting up a small business, you’re going to have to build your security system from the ground up. These days, protecting your online assets is just as important as protecting your physical location. When you’re securing your small business against theft, take these 7 steps to make sure that your most important business assets are as protected.
1. Install an Alarm System
Invest in a good alarm system. Complement your alarm system with a few high-tech cameras to further protect your business from security breaches. A high-tech alarm system may be expensive, but if it protects your start-up from petty theft it will be worth the investment.
In addition to a security system, make sure that you install fire, water, and carbon monoxide alarms. These will keep your store and equipment safe during after-hours and your employees and customers safe while you’re open for business2. Use a Reliable Locksmith
Don’t think that an alarm system is enough to keep your physical location protected. Install high-security locks on all entrances to your building. Some businesses, like Davies Lock and Door Services Ltd, a Toronto locksmith company, will come out to your storefront and analyze your layout and location so that they can offer you the best locks for your situation. Be willing to spend the money for a high-quality service so that you can rest easy knowing that your company is safe from midnight theft.
3. Hire Trustworthy Employees
One of the most important things you can do to protect your business is to hire trustworthy employees. Don’t hire anyone without first conducting an extensive background check. Only hire people who have solid resumes and references.
Putting job postings on your company website might be a good way to collect applications, but make sure that you pass up any you have doubts about. A more secure way to find employees might be to hire a job search agent or get references from family and friends who know people looking for employment.
4. Encrypt Data
Whether you run an online company or you sell most of your product in-house, you need to encrypt your online data. Encryption will protect the following online documents from hackers:
- Financial statements
- Insurance information
- Blogs and websites
- Customers’ personal and financial information
Encryption converts online data into code. Users can only access encrypted data through a portal that can read the code, which renders potential thieves incapable of understanding the information. At the very least, plan on encrypting data like credit card transactions—if your customers’ information is stolen due to negligence on your part, you might have a hard time avoiding a lawsuit.
5. Back Up Data
In addition to encrypting your data, make sure that it is backed up in at least one other location. If hackers steal your information, you’ll need to be able to generate another copy. Information can also go missing thanks to computer errors or an employee’s mistake, and you’ll want to prepare for either of those situations too.
Consider keeping paper copies of important data as well. File them in a fireproof box or safe so that if a natural disaster strikes your store they’ll be protected against fire and flooding.
6. Don’t Let Employees Have Passwords
You might trust your employees to run your store, but be careful when it comes to important passwords. Many breaches of privacy in small business come from within your own store; it’s impossible to determine which employees may be willing to break your trust for personal profit. That might be a fatalistic approach, but it’s better to be overly cautious than deal with the repercussions of employee dishonesty.
Limit the number of employees who know how to log onto your systems. Trust your assistant managers or team leads with important passwords and information, but keep the circle small so that you will be able to easily pinpoint breaches of trust.
7. Change Your Passwords Often
Even if you’re the only one who knows certain passwords, change them on a regular basis. There are plenty of online systems that can crack passwords and break into your systems, so don’t ever leave your passwords the same for too long. Make sure your passcodes are complicated enough to withstand hackers’ attempts.
Don’t take your business’ security lightly. Use these tips and do your own research so that you can keep both your physical and online locations as secure as possible.
Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about business, finance, education and home. She graduated from Colorado State University in 2004. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.