Unfortunately, we live in a world where you must always be prepared for the worst. Whether it’s hackers, intruders, or natural disasters you need to have all your bases covered. In times of an emergency, people will look to you for guidance, reassurance, and blame. So you make sure you have the proper security systems in place.
Be prepared and keep everyone secure by taking preventative measures. Don’t wait for disaster to strike before doing something, by then it will already be too late. Instead, follow these 9 security best practices. They will help you protect your business and everyone inside of it.
1. Be Proactive
If you think, “It’ll never happen to me” then you’re exposing your business to potential threats. Everyone is vulnerable and failing to take necessary precautions jeopardizes your entire organization. Too many people think of security as a cause and reaction relationship. When in reality, being on the forefront of problems is the best security measure you can take.
Download our Workplace Security Checklist and take inventory of your current facilities. By identifying gaps and resolving issues now, you’ll be prepared later on.
In addition to getting the right security systems in place make sure you have clear policies and procedures. Everyone in your business should know how to keep themselves and the information they deal with secure. They should also know what to do in case of an emergency. Going over these important protocols will help arm your employees with knowledge and protects your business.
2. Use Fail-Safe and Fail-Secure Locks
Safety precautions are highly situational. We generally think of installing locks to limit access, but when emergencies arise it’s often times necessary to let people move freely and quickly. So what’s the difference between fail-safe and fail-secure products and what role do they play in your organization's security?
Fail-safe means that power is applied to lock the door. If the power goes out those doors will be unlocked. These locks normally go in lobbies and entries so that people can get out of the building in case of an emergency.
Fail-secure means that power is applied to unlock the door. If the power goes out the door remains locked. These locks are ideal for areas that contain sensitive information such as IT rooms. Even in an emergency, you would want those rooms to remain locked and secured.
As you can see, depending on the area of the building different locks are required. So make sure you’re selecting the appropriate locks and security systems for different locations. If the power goes out you want to make sure people can get out, but sensitive information stays in.
3. Backup Your Data
Nowadays, everything is switching to digital, this means cyber security is becoming more important than ever. Assuming that your information is safe and retrievable is naive. Ensure all data is protected, encrypted, and updated.
The US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) says you should always follow the 3-2-1 rule when backing up data:
- Keep 3 copies of any important file (1 primary and 2 backups)
- Store the data on 2 different platforms (To protect yourself from different types of hazards)
- Store 1 copy offsite
The US-CERT also breaks down the different options for data backup. They also provide the pros and cons, and important security considerations for cloud storage, internal hard disk drives, and removable storage media You can find the detailed breakdown here.
4. Have a Mass Notification System
Do you have a way to communicate with the masses in the event of an emergency? If something happens a mass notification system can protect people, minimize panic, and instruct people on how to proceed.
One of the biggest challenges and threats during a crisis is faulty communication. If people aren’t notified soon enough then you could be putting them in danger. If false information is spread people may not take the situation seriously or follow proper procedures. Remember, even if people are informed about safety procedures before are emergency, once fear and panic sink in people become irrational.
Having a well thought out and clear message prepared ahead of time ensures that everyone gets the same, concise message when they need it most. Mass notification systems help minimize the chaos so everyone is safe.
5. Install a Managed Access Control System
Access control is an electronic system that regulates and restricts access to designated areas. Generally, you’ll see this as key cards used to open doors. You may not need to control who enters and exits every door, but certain areas require stricter monitoring. Access control enhances security and simplifies the process.
With an access control system, if someone loses a key or gets fired you don’t have to worry about security breaches, and you don’t have to pay to replace the locks. This can be especially beneficial if you’re in a building where the people have high turnover. When someone no longer needs access you can simply remove their key card access.
You can also know exactly who is coming and going. This prevents strangers from getting in and reduces the confusion if people come and go after-hours. It also helps if you’re concerned with theft. When you notice things go missing you can see exactly who was present.
The more integrated access control systems also help reduce energy bills. If your system knows that certain areas of a building are unoccupied they can turn off unnecessary lights and adjust the temperature. This cuts back on utilities without a person having to monitor it.
6. Clean Up Every day
This is such a simple precaution to take that it’s often times overlooked. Make sure that people are cleaning up and putting away sensitive information. The easiest information to steal is the information that’s left out. Backing up all your data on a secure, remote hard drive won’t do you any good if you leave that same information sitting in a fax tray over the weekend.
At the end of the day make sure all important information is hidden by making sure:
- Printer/fax trays are empty
- Documents aren’t left on desks
- Filing cabinets are locked
- Computers are locked
- Whiteboards are erased
7. Use Video Surveillance
Unfortunately, locking the doors at night is no longer enough protection. Not only will people still find a way in but often times the biggest breaches happen during normal hours. Installing security cameras helps protect your organization and keeps people safe.
When people see security cameras they know they’re being watched so they’ll be on their best behavior. This means you can deter potential thieves and increase your employee's productivity. Businesses that use security cameras have seen a significant decrease in theft and an increase in profit.
Even though security cameras are great at preventing crime they also prepare you in case something bad does happen. Video surveillance can provide evidence and help resolve disputes. If it’s caught on film you’re able to see what really happened during the incident.
8. Ensure Areas are Well Lit
A basic security camera won’t do you much good if it’s filming in the dark. Having well-lit areas can deter criminals and ensures that those who still try are fully visible. Motion-activated lights mean that all movements are caught on camera, even if it’s in the middle of the night.
Good lighting can also help protect employees by making sure they’re able to see what they’re doing. Well-lit areas help avoid slips, trips, and falls. This can be very important in stairwells, warehouses, and storage rooms.
In addition to making the buildings safer, perhaps the biggest benefit of good lighting is the illusion of safety. People just feel more secure in well-lit areas. This means employees and customers are more likely to trust your business because they feel safe when they’re inside it.
9. Train your employees
Your employees are your greatest asset and your biggest liability. You need to make sure they’re informed, trained, and prepared. Make sure they learn proper safety protocol during on-boarding and receive continuing education materials. Having knowledgeable employees will help minimize the likeliness of an accident and prepare them in case something does happen.
Every employee should:
- Make sure their work area is clean at the end of the day
- Ask, “Can I help you?” to strangers in your suite
- Follow procedures when taking sensitive work home
- Know all evacuation routes
- Know what to do in case of an emergency
When it comes to security knowing is half the battle, you’ve got to take action and be prepared. Run your organization through the Workplace Security Checklist to identify areas of improvement. Next, take action and improve! Putting it off any longer can jeopardize your physical and financial well being. Make sure your security systems are up-to-date and effective. Train all employees on important policies and procedures.
A comprehensive security plan requires everyone's cooperation, but it's your job to take the lead. Get started by downloading the checklist today,
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