All businesses are at risk to a degree, but small businesses are particularly vulnerable.
Because they lack the resources to defend themselves against every threat that’s out there, they can sometimes be targeted by would-be criminals and other threats. However, a lack of resources or finances doesn’t mean small businesses can’t do anything.
Most threats can be managed without spending a penny: it just takes a little bit of time and effort to make sure things are under control. Below, we outline ten safety practices to keep your small business out of harm’s way.
10 Safety Practices for Your Small Business
1. Open Dialogue
The first step you can take to create a safe business and workplace is to foster an open dialogue in the workplace. Things can begin to fall apart when the communication channels break down. For instance, if an employee noticed a vulnerable aspect of your business but kept quiet because they assumed you already knew, you’d be putting yourself at risk for no good reason at all.
Make sure that you have strong, open communication with all your employees, from the lowest, ranked all the way to the top. Your company will be much safer – and stronger in other ways, too – if your workers feel comfortable talking to you about their concerns.
2. Rogue Employees
Though it’s not a particularly nice thing to think about, sometimes it is our employees who present a threat to our company. If you think an employee may be intentionally harming your business, you may be able to dismiss them on the spot: take a look at 5 common examples of gross misconduct to see the kind of things that merit instant dismissal.
Your job, as the employer, is to be vigilant when it comes to your employees, and also encourage other employees to speak up if they see someone doing something they shouldn’t. You can also reduce the chances of this happening by making sure you follow up on all references and background checks when you employ a person in the first place.
3. Perform a Review
Sometimes, we don’t even realize just how vulnerable our business or workplace is until we perform a review. You should be taking a look at all aspects of your business from the eyes of someone who might want to do you harm.
How easy would it be for them to achieve it?
If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, get an outside security expert to perform an analysis of your business. Once you know where the holes in your company are, you’ll be in a better position to improve your security practices.
4. Securing the Goods
You might think that your workplace is unlikely to be targeted by thieves…but that’s what everyone who doesn’t invest in security measures thought before they were targeted. You can never really know if a thief would target your space, but if you have expensive equipment, then why take the chance?
You can also invest in some form of spy cameras to monitor your workplace 24/7. There are a number of these that can be found on Amazon.com and other online ecommerce stores.
5. Outsource Your IT
When it comes to staying secure, your biggest obstacle will be your IT. This will be one of your most vulnerable aspects of your business because it’s where hackers and other criminals make their most money, and they nearly always target small businesses. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure your IT security is in tip-top condition.
Unless you’ve been studying IT, you won’t have the necessary skills to keep your IT safe, and as such you’ll be better served by outsourcing the work to an IT company. Aside from keeping you safe, doing this will also improve other areas of your business and allow you to keep your focus on the things that you do best.
6. Teaching Your Employees
Your employees are your first line of defense when it comes to keeping your business safe. But they’re unlikely to know how they should do this if you’re not teaching them the procedures you want them to follow when they’re at work.
It’s particularly important that you discuss how they should be using their computers, including setting passwords and which links they open. When you have new ideas on how to improve workplace security, hold training sessions. Keeping your employees up to date with this will help make your entire operation more secure.
7. Social Media Engagement
Of all the online areas in which your business can suffer, none are more threatening than your social media pages. While they have the potential to deliver plenty of positives to your business, it’s also where the most damage is done. Most of this concerns your company’s reputation: nothing will hurt it more than sending an inappropriate tweet or Facebook post.
Not taking the time to vet each post to ensure they don’t contain any sensitive data and so on can also be problematic. Make sure that only the staff who are authorized to post on social media are doing so, and that they know exactly what is allowed and what isn’t.
8. Back it All Up
As a business, you’ll have plenty of data that is crucial to your daily operations. What would you do if suddenly, all those important documents were to disappear, and never be brought back? The risks are small, but it does happen, and when it does it can pose big problems for business. That’s why it’s crucially important that you backup all your data so that, should you have a problem with your main database, everything is safe and secure elsewhere.
Of all the options, cloud storage is best, as this cannot be destroyed even if your computers or other hardware fail. All your documents will still be there, in a safe online space.
9. Site Safety
How safe are your actual premises, both from would-be criminals and from a health and safety point of view?
To ward off thieves, it’s always a good idea to make sure the outside of your building is made to look unattractive to thieves. This can involve making sure it’s well lit, hard to get into, and having visible security cameras.
On the inside, keeping all safety exits – and also teaching your staff where the safety exits are – will ensure everyone can leave should they be required to suddenly down tools and leave the building.
10. Always Review
The art of keeping your business safe lies in constantly monitoring and reviewing your safety operations. Criminals, especially online, are always coming up with new and clever ways to target a business, and if you’re not aware of the new things they’re doing, then you’ll be a risk.
Every few months, take the time take another look at your security and safety practices and see where and when it can be improved. You always need to stay one step ahead of the people who intend to do you harm!
It’s unlikely that your business will suffer from any of the attacks outlined above, but it always makes sense to be prepared. You never know what will happen in business, but if you’ve taken steps to stay safe, then you’ll have little to worry about. With your peace of mind intact, you’ll be able to focus on improving your business knowing that you don’t have to worry about any harm coming your way.