How to increase physical security for your small business

Editorial Team

5 min read
Security camera attached to a building

While a lot of attention has been given to cybersecurity recently, it’s easy to overlook the importance of physical security. In fact, retailers are increasingly concerned about theft and security breaches, and restaurants notoriously suffer from employee theft. What’s more, maintaining physical security isn’t just about protecting your business from revenue loss, it’s also about fostering confidence among your customers and employees.

To help keep your brick-and-mortar location, goods, employees, and customers safe, read on for five physical security tips for businesses. 

What is physical security and why is it important

Physical security is simply protecting the assets of your business–think facilities, employees, inventory, fixtures, hardware, and more–from physical actions or happenings that could cause serious loss or damage to them. This can include protection from fire, flood, natural disasters, burglary, theft, vandalism, and terrorism.

Since employees are one of your most important assets, their safety should be one of your top priorities. These five physical security measures can help boost their safety and the security of your business in general.

1. Assess vulnerabilities

Before implementing new physical security measures, take time to assess your current security set-up, your business premises, and its vulnerabilities. Whether you’re starting from scratch or you’re just planning to update one or two safety components, start by walking the premises and taking a look around with fresh eyes. Potential vulnerabilities could include blind spots (whether surveillance blind spots or simply corners that are difficult to see around), poor lighting, unprotected employees-only areas, and the physical condition of doors and windows.

Be sure to consider ways to protect your business from inclement weather, too. Do you have surge protectors to help safeguard your electronics from sudden power losses?

To make sure all your bases are covered, consider hiring a security consultant. Depending on your needs, security consultants (or analysts) can assess your business and provide tailored insights based on your location, premises, and requirements.

2. Introduce a surveillance system

There’s a reason so many businesses invest in security cameras. Not only do they provide indispensable footage in cases of theft or vandalism, but they can also help deter potential criminal activity before it happens. Generally speaking, you have two main options: CCTV cameras and surveillance cameras.

If you just need video monitoring, you might opt for modern, high-resolution cameras with features like remote monitoring and cloud storage. CCTV cameras, on the other hand, are considered to be the most efficient and cost-effective form of video surveillance since they use traditional radio frequency. Another benefit to CCTV cameras is that they can be linked with other intrusion-detection devices. 

Regardless of the cameras you choose, be sure to place them strategically to monitor all critical areas, especially entrances and exits.

3. Control who has access to your business

The most efficient way to protect a restricted-access area is with an access control system. These systems replace traditional lock-and-key mechanisms with more sophisticated technologies like electronic key card readers or even biometric scanners. A primary advantage to having a system like this is your ability to tailor access based on individual roles within the organization. Because employees only have access to the areas relevant to their role, the risk of unauthorized entry is minimized. Most access control systems also have a number of convenient features, like remote management, automatic updates, and instant alerts. 

4. Install an alarm system

Along with camera surveillance, alarm systems are considered a gold standard for small business protection. And, like cameras, alarm systems aid in theft prevention–and emergency response. You may even be able to lower your small business insurance rates because alarm systems are among the most prudent and accepted physical security measures. 

A good system will include motion detectors and sensors for doors and windows. Some can even be integrated into your camera system.

5. Minimize potential damage from inclement weather

You don’t have to look too far to see how inclement weather and power outages can affect businesses. Whether your region is prone to tornadoes, ice storms, hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes, or even internet outages, a large part of boosting your business’s physical security is preparing for inclement weather. To protect your facilities, electronics, and other machines, be sure you have surge protectors and uninterrupted power supplies to help prevent damage. Storm shutters can protect windows from debris, secured tarps can minimize water damage to outdoor inventory, and a POS system like Clover that can accept payments even when the internet goes down can be invaluable to a retail business.

READ: 5 ways small businesses can prepare for the unexpected

A note about securing your business data and information

Finally, a word on the topic of the moment–cybersecurity. Just as you don’t want to overlook the physical security of your small business, you also don’t want to assume that bad actors aren’t interested in targeting your small business. In fact, small businesses are often the object of attacks precisely because hackers know small business owners might not be keeping cybersecurity top of mind. 

There are plenty of ways to arm yourself against a cyber attack. You can start by educating yourself on the 4 biggest cybersecurity threats to your business and how you can protect it: malware, ransomware, keylogging software, and card testing. Do you know the difference between a key logger and a screen scraper, for example? 

And, you can make sure your POS system is protected. For instance, Clover Security Plus uses the latest technology to help protect your customers’ data. Perhaps most importantly, make sure to train your employees. Since up to 82% of data breaches involve a human element, this is a crucial step.

Taking the necessary precautions to protect your business’s physical security–and your data–can give you peace of mind–and that can help you rest easier even when the going gets tough.

To learn more about how you can protect your business with Clover, contact a Clover Business Consultant today.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. For more information, consult your local law enforcement department or professional security company.

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