Security is a universal problem everyone faces; however, small businesses have become a prime target for criminal attacks, so addressing the risks and finding a security solution should be something that is high on your radar. This year alone, identity theft firm Identity Force says millions of usernames, credit card numbers and other personal information has been hacked. Cyber-criminals are increasingly targeting small businesses with phishing attacks since they are more vulnerable than bigger companies with bigger IT security budgets. The physical and economic damage to your business after a cyber-attack can be detrimental so here are some ways that you can address the 4 most common security concerns and protect your business.
1. Address Your Virtual Security
The majority of businesses use the internet, most likely to facilitate online transactions. This also means you have access to sensitive data belonging to your customers, which are vulnerable to cyber-attacks if you do not address your internet security. The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology has published a guide on Small Business Information Security. They make a number of recommendations such as:
- Identify who has access to your business and do a background check.
- Limit access using encryption, secure network access points, installing anti-virus software and firewalls, and set up web and email filters.
- Set up a recovery plan in case you are hacked and be sure to have Cyber Liability insurance.
- Create a file backup system.
You should use separate devices for business and personal tasks, and also be sure that every wi-fi network you connect to is protected and requires strong passwords for access.
2. Secure Your Physical Business
As common as cyber-attacks are becoming, criminals can still target your brick and mortar store too. The U.S Chamber of Commerce gives some helpful guidelines:
- Trim the landscapes around your store so that you minimize the places where burglars can hide.
- Install lighting and motion sensors, burglars are more likely to be deterred if the area around your store is bright as it makes them more visible.
- Minimize entry points for criminals by securing doors with deadbolts and make sure that windows have locks or bars on them.
- Install alarm systems and make sure they are always checked and repaired if need be.
3. Have Visible Security
According to a report in The Guardian, half of the former burglars they surveyed said security cameras were the most effective deterrent for thieves targeting businesses. So investing in a security camera is a good idea. If getting security cameras to circle your entire store is too much for your budget, you could possibly mix a couple of fake security cameras with the real ones until you can afford to purchase them all. However, make sure this is a temporary measure and don’t settle for having fake cameras as part of your security system as experienced burglars do know the difference. Plus, fake cameras will be absolutely useless if a real burglary does occur.
4. Is the Cost Worth It?
Investing in security may seem expensive but it’s always better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. According to The Hartford, a burglary could cost a business in excess of $8,000, and the damage to its reputation could be even higher with some business reporting that their revenue percentage went down after a burglary as consumers lost faith in the security of their personal information. This is why in the long run, investing in security and the right insurance can save small business owners thousands.
The Bottom Line
The cost of not investing in your business’ security could be devastating, even career ending. It’ll serve you well in the long run, even in ways that aren’t to do with criminal activity. Security cameras are often used in ways to build revenue such as tracking consumer behavior in your store. You’ll be able to look at what your customers are most attracted to, the displays that work the most, etc. so that you can optimize sales. Carrying out a risk assessment will allow you to decipher exactly what your business needs and save yourself the pain of seeing your hard work being needlessly destroyed.