The National Crime Prevention Council estimates that crime – in particular burglaries, robberies, vandalism, shoplifting, employee theft and fraud – are particularly devastating to small businesses. Although such crimes have will undoubtedly have significant consequence for all organisations, the scope and impact of crime against smaller businesses can be much greater, having serious consequences in terms of the future of the business. These crimes can have a devastating impact both psychologically and financially on the business owners, the company’s customers, as well as the staff, from which the growing company may struggle to recover from.
For many small businesses however, security is not a top priority. In today’s tough economy, most small businesses are focused on expanding their organizations and improving customer satisfaction while controlling costs and often security budgets are the first to get cut. For many other small organizations, they simply just haven't thought about security. In fact, it is often not until an organization is hit, that they will even consider installing a security system or implementing a security plan.
There comes a time when business owners must consider what the consequences would be to the business and its future operations, if an incident were to occur and there wasn’t a security plan in place. The best way to address the security risks of your small business is to carry out a full company risk assessment analysis to identify the key areas of concern, and determine the necessary procedures to take to secure all of the company's assets and personnel. The assessment should ideally include analysis of physical security (gates, fences, access doors and windows), and internal procedures to protect against fraud and theft.
The most important asset which needs to be protected in any organisation is the lives and safety of all staff, experts agree. Other important items which need to be protected include the building and infrastructure of the business itself, the businesses physical assets, as well as any stock or finished goods. Customer and financial records, marketing databases, personnel files and intellectual property, including documents related to research and development, represent just a few examples of business-critical data that businesses use every day to drive continued success and which should be protected.
It’s never too late to make security a priority in your small business. In this climate where property related crime is on the increase it is imperative that small businesses develop and implement a security plan to protect their valuable assets. "Most importantly, however, it is essential that companies provide a risk-free and safe working environment for their employees" says Niall Kelly of Netwatch.