Businesses in these tough times continue to seek cutbacks and savings. At the same time though, a spike of business frauds, hack-ins and plain old fashioned thefts is proving a greater than ever threat to companies’ stability. And the boss who skimps on safeguards, far from ensuring the future for his or her staff, may be digging a financial grave for all of them. the home office’s first ever research into crime against business (2012 commercial Victimisation Survey) published this year, estimates that around 9.2m crimes against businesses interviewed had occurred in 12 months prior to the interview.
Almost half (46%) of interviewees had suffered at least one of the main crime types covered by the survey. thefts were the most common (6.8m), making up 74% of all the incidents. So business security, perhaps more than ever before, is paramount. it needs to be reviewed, invested in and upgraded regularly. Employees also need to be briefed regularly on the importance vigilance plays in safeguarding their jobs. While computer hacking tends to make headlines, burglary remains the second highest incidence of business crime reported to police. Attempted burglary comes fifth and thefts by employees figure highly too. Consider the impact a sudden theft of all of your it equipment will have in terms of downtime, lost data, client management, staff distress, and the expense and time needed to repair physical security. to protect stock, valuables, cash, office equipment and - more importantly people, businesses will benefit from regular security reviews that ensure adequate measures are in place.
Reviewing security is about knowing a building’s function, then optimising safeguards around it. Start from outside in. check doors and windows for faults, broken locks, weak frames and damage. if need be, replace them immediately. review gates, fences and grilles to ensure they’re in good repair. To boost security, consider window grilles, fences, electronic access entry systems, CCTV, fogging systems and alarms. next, consider how to regulate access. restricted or patented keys can’t be copied without providing proof of ownership. So only official keys are in circulation and as long as you can account for all keys you can ensure that no-one has unauthorised access. If even one key goes missing, or there’s concern over a breach in security, a lock can be reconfigured and new keys issued. this is an ideal solution for ensuring keys aren’t copied while in the hands of employees or visitors. master key systems also work well in business, with one key opening all locks in a set, and others opening select locks. this works particularly well in large buildings split into departments or in smaller firms. Such systems enable select personnel to enter all areas but limit access of others to authorised areas. Electronic access in the form of fobs, digital locks, video entry, keypads and swipe cards are cost effective and a simple way to manage different areas and prevent unauthorised entry.
Electronic access can also help firms comply with the Disabled Discrimination Act (DDA) and meets employee “duty of care” responsibilities by enabling safe access. Before you store sensitive data, valuable stock or money, what security measures are in place to protect it? Would high quality secure storage cabinets help protect valuables? is a safe room required? Are dangerous or sensitive materials stored correctly? is a safe needed for valuables? Finally, it is vital to pass security protocol on to all employees. As security products are evolving, health and safety regulations are changing and responsibilities are growing. Seek advice from a trusted and reputable security expert - such as a member of the master Locksmiths Association (mLA) - on which security measures to install. Hal Rose runs Cathedral Lock and Safe Services and also chairs the Master Locksmiths Association in the North East.