When your business is small, you’re probably juggling lots of balls, and keeping them all in the air may mean making some assumptions about safety that just aren’t smart. Okay, so you’re a decent judge of character, and your facility is in a pretty secure area. There are still lots of ways you may be leaving yourself open to potential losses.
Small Business Security Is About Key Consciousness and More
Locks and Keys
You should keep track of the number of facility and other keys you have in circulation. Better yet, invest in patented locking systems. Keys for these OEM systems are strictly controlled, so it’s a lot harder to duplicate them. Areas that are sensitive and should be secured are:
- All exterior doors
- Server rooms
- File rooms or cabinets
- Supply cabinets
- Executive offices
- Warehouse areas
- Tool storage
- Parts depots
After you’ve changed out your locks, manage your master keys carefully and only give employees access keys to areas they use. You can generate keys that will only work for certain locations, like the front door and administrative areas, but not the warehouse. Maintain a roster of who has which keys, and keep it current. This may seem like a suspicious way to conduct your affairs, but it will save you money and regrets later.
There are lots of other facility security measures you can take, from installing razor wire topped fences to using guard dogs, but reliable locks and keys that are hard to copy are a good start.
Just because someone looks honest doesn’t mean you can trust your instincts. Employee background checks have become more widespread in recent years, and for good reason. A negligent employee’s actions could lead to lawsuits, and even simple incompetence can lose customers and call your judgment into question. Hiring someone who has inflated his resume will result in wasted time and money replacing him when the truth comes out too.
In a difficult job market, people are more inclined to overstate their qualifications, too, so it pays to double check references and obtain background verification on new hires. With the proliferation of online background search sites, what used to be a costly extra step has become much more economical. A simple background check may cover these areas:
- Associate interviews (previous employers, neighbors, etc.)
- Automobile registration
- Court records
- Credit check
- Criminal records check
- Driving record
- Drug test records
- Educational background
- Medical records check
- Military service verification
- Personal reference check
- Social Security number verification
- Workers’ compensation claims check
This is a huge topic with far reaching ramifications. As you grow your business, be vigilant about recognizing the power of new technologies to make information instantly and irrevocably available to others. Make internet security an ongoing mission, and hire the expertise necessary to implement updates and stay current as technologies change. Data encryption, effective password policies and even visitor security are important areas to address. Monitor:
- Social networking
- Mobile devices
- Camera use
It’s also important to protect your ideas. If you’ve been lax about protecting your intellectual property, think about all the things that distinguish your business, and make sure to protect them by securing:
- Utility and design patents
- Confidentiality agreements
- Non-disclosure agreements
Keeping your business safe and secure takes planning, a strategy, and consistent implementation. The first step is to identify the areas in which you’re vulnerable.