Taking Care of Business

A beginner’s guide to small business security


Commercial properties are a popular target for thieves for a variety of reasons. For starters, most businesses are vacant during the evenings and weekends, making them an attractive target to thieves. In addition to this, commercial properties generally possess assets of a higher value than domestic properties. Both stock and office equipment command a handsome re-sale value and are easier to sell on compared to personal items.

So what can you do to protect your business from break-in and theft? Before you do anything, we recommend you carry out a thorough risk assessment to help identify which areas are most vulnerable to attack. To ensure you don’t miss anything, it can be helpful to segment your property into areas or zones such as the perimeter, external areas and internal areas.

The perimeter of your business premises is your first line of defence against attack. A sturdy gate lock is an excellent way to limit access to key holders when the property is vacant such as evenings and weekends. Ensuring your fence and gate is of a reasonable height will also help slow down the removal of items; if it can’t be lifted over the fence, it can’t be stolen.

Next, have a good look at the external area between the perimeter and your building. Do you keep any tools or ladders outside? If so, make sure they are secured using a cable and padlock, preferably inside a shed or garage. It is equally important to ensure your shed or garage is securely fastened with a hasp & staple, garage door lock or shutter lock. As the old adage goes, out of sight, out of mind!

That same adage applies to the internal areas of your business premises. Staff theft is more common than you may think but there are a host of preventative measures you can take to help avoid such incidences. For example, store your petty cash in a cash box and limit the number of key holders. Keep important documents stored in a cupboard safe and if your business deals with large volumes of cash, you may want to consider installing and under floor safe. Ensure internal doors are locked at the end of each business day, as this will slow the progress of a thief should a break-in occur.

Theft from staff and patrons can also be deterred through effective access control measures. For larger businesses, a proximity control system may be the most effective solution. For smaller companies, access control is easily achieved with the use of digital locks. If you’re considering using mortice locks for personal offices, we would recommend that you choose an Oval or Euro profile mortice lock so that you can easily change the locks if necessary.

And don’t forget to consider the safety of your business online. If the founder of Facebook can get hacked, you can too! In 2015 alone, over 70% of British small businesses experienced a breach of their cyber security. For specialist advice on how to protect your business online, we recommend visiting GetSafeOnline.org.

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