There’s so much to know and do to protect your business, your employees and your customers that many owners of small and mid-size businesses are not sure where to begin. Our advice is to look at the basics, starting with three key areas:
1. Deter crime by using proper lighting and strong locks on doors and windows.
2. Detect events proactively to allow for an appropriate response.
3. Maximize your investment in security equipment to also help you gain a competitive edge in other areas of your business.
Smart business owners recognize their businesses are targets for criminals and even employees or customers, who can be tempted to take advantage of access to your products, equipment or production supplies. Doing nothing is not an option because 30 percent of U.S. businesses fail as a direct result of crime.1
Let’s explore how you can act in all three areas to reduce the chance that your business will be hit by burglary, vandalism, employee theft or fraud.
How to Deter Crime at Your Business
The first basic rule of good security is to deter criminal activity by making your place of business uninviting to opportunistic criminals.
Criminals typically don’t like an audience. Check your lighting both inside and outside of your workplace. A well-lit business is both inviting to customers and discouraging for criminals, who prefer to remain unnoticed.
Pay close attention to areas that are out of sight from the road and passersby. Are these areas of your business lit well enough to discourage someone from hiding nearby or attempting to break in?
New LED commercial lighting systems are inexpensive both to install and maintain. They consume less energy, and the bulb life is so long you won’t have to worry about gaps in coverage areas.
The landscaping around your business may appeal to your eye and be inviting to customers, but it may be tempting to an opportunistic criminal as well. A balance must be struck between eye appeal and opportunities for criminals to conceal themselves or their activities. In addition, keep trees and shrubs trimmed and away from your building so that they don’t block the view of windows and doors.
Take a look at your business as though you were going to play hide and seek. Criminals do.
Are there hiding places that could be reduced or eliminated? Pay special attention to parking areas where your customers and your employees are momentarily vulnerable as they concentrate on getting into and out of their cars, especially when they have an armful of goods they just bought at your store or in the case of employees who are taking cash to the bank drop.
Early Detection Is Your Best Defense
Rule No. 2 is detect events as quickly as possible as they're taking place inside or outside your business.
Early detection includes being alerted to break-ins, unauthorized access to restricted areas, equipment failures or even fire detection. A multifunction alarm system can provide a fast-response mechanism to promptly and adequately alert you as well as police or firefighters.
In addition, you should consider the following steps to help guard and expedite alerts in these areas of your business:
- All movable doors on the first floor should be protected with door contacts that alert you when the doors are opened.
- Install motion detection in interior hallways, stairways and high-value areas.
- Provide silent duress notification through keypads and/or under-counter buttons so that your employees can call for help in an emergency.
- Monitor building refrigeration and ambient temperature in sensitive areas such as computer rooms, as well as water detection and flooding from busted pipes.
Another proven way to detect events – perhaps even before they happen – is through video monitoring. Live video can help you see loitering and suspicious behavior so you can look into potential threats against your employees and customers.
Today’s security cameras connect directly into your business network and feed high-quality images to network video recorders (NVR) that are designed to make archived video searchable so that security personnel and law enforcement officials can quickly find the images they need to help solve a crime.
Video and alarms also can be monitored and managed remotely, enabling business owners to work at other locations – or even take time off – while still being able to respond to what’s urgent at their workplace. Many of today’s security systems use everyday technology that business owners are familiar with on their smartphones, tablets and laptops, making remote security management not only affordable for small and mid-size businesses but easy to use as well.
Make Your Security Investment Contribute to Other Areas of Your Business
You’ve done the right things to help protect your business.
There’s good lighting surrounding your facility. Landscaping has been cut back to deny criminals an easy hiding place. Your doors are automatically locked by your access control system, and the intrusion alarm is set each evening. Your fire suppression system is regularly inspected and maintained.
And you’ve added a video surveillance system that enables you to keep watch over your facilities 24/7 with a smartphone or other mobile device from virtually anywhere in the world.
But did you know that your same security equipment can also help you mitigate risks and gain a competitive edge?
Here are just a few ways you can maximize your investment:
- Help reduce the risk of false liability claims with a review of your recorded video.
- Monitor the premises for unsafe conditions that could result in lawsuits and worker compensation claims.
- Increase marketing insights by remotely viewing how customers react to product placement and special promotions. Making a few adjustments can help to increase your sales and profits.
- Schedule your staff to be on the job when they are most needed. People-counting software added to your access control system can help you know when you routinely need more employees on the floor.
- Help train your staff to correctly handle vital tasks. Your video surveillance system can show employees what they’ve done well, in addition to those areas where they need to improve.
There are likely other non-security tasks you can think of to meet your specific business needs.
You’ve spent the money to help protect your facilities and employees from criminals and fires. Now it’s time to stretch that investment to help your business become more efficient, effective and profitable.An experienced security professional can determine what solutions are right for you, so you can protect your assets, employees and customers with efficiency and confidence.
Tyco Integrated Security is North America’s leading commercial security integrator, providing security and business optimization services to more than 250,000 customers in business communities across the United States. With more than 140 years of experience and more than 10,000 employees – including a Worldwide Security Monitoring Network that helps ensure a fast, local, 24/7 responsiveness to your security infrastructure – you can rest assured that Tyco Integrated Security will be there when you need it.
Request a free, no-obligation security review today. We will work with you to understand your operations, identify your security risks and concerns and help you to excel in your day-to-day operations.
1 U.S. Chamber of Commerce
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