Small businesses with a limited security budget will always suffer more than their larger competitors when it comes to security. it’s not just physical security either, with companies trusting the latest technology to protect their finances, private files and company data against a growing cyber threat.
With UK businesses losing over £20 billion a year as a result of fraud, robbery and cybercrime, here’s some key advice on keeping your business secure.
1. Employees are the first line of defence
Small businesses rely more heavily on individuals to play their part in keeping the company secure than their larger competitors, who can set aside a substantial security budget. So, employees need to be aware of the threats facing the business.
According to a report by Business in the Community (BITC), 30% of small businesses don’t have any cybersecurity strategies in place and only 23% have a policy for controlling access to systems that are limited to certain employees.
UK businesses are attacked every 2.5 minutes and if insufficient cybersecurity measures are in place, malware can get into both individual computers and even move horizontally across a local network to steal data.
Employers should provide regular training for staff on the latest online threats and how to spot them, plus best practice for staying safe online.
This may include spotting email phishing scams, choosing and storing strong passwords and protecting individual devices. However, it’s not just online where small businesses are at risk.
Internal training should also be provided for general security best practice like locking up and setting alarms and a physical copy of internal security protocol should be available as a reference.
Consider bringing in an external security expert to talk to employees about some of the most common security mistakes and provide actionable advice on being safer day-to-day.
2. Start a business watch scheme
Just like with neighbourhood watch schemes, a business watch is where a collection of local businesses come together to look out for each other and share advice on threats in the area and how to keep their offices protected.
A notable example of a successful scheme is on the?Slough trading estate, where offices are monitored 24 hours a day by a dedicated security team.
Signing up for these schemes can give businesses access to out-of-hours premises? checks, monitoring systems and a mobile patrol. Look online to see if there’s already a scheme running near your office and if not, consider starting your own.
This can be as simple as popping into neighbouring offices for an informal chat to ask business owners if they’re interested in sharing the cost of security and hosting monthly catch-ups to discuss any local problems.
3. Visitors, ID’s and swipe cards
With many small businesses leasing office space in shared buildings, security and identification are key. Shared offices spaces see up to thousands of employees and vendors through the doors each day, so small businesses are recommended to take control of their own security, in addition to that provided by the building managers.
Use an identification system
ID cards and access control systems are examples of non-disruptive solutions to keeping your business secure from unwanted visitors without taking employees much time or causing hassle.