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How to protect your new business from crime

Image by Codelocks Ltd (Creative Commons)

Starting a new business can be an exciting prospect. With the right idea, lots of hard work, and let’s face it, a bit of luck, you may find yourself at the helm of a very successful enterprise.

There are so many things to consider – revenue, funding, tax, new business deals: the list goes on and on. It would be all too easy to forget security with all that to think about, but crime is a risk faced by every business owner.

In fact, as a still developing new business, you may more vulnerable to crime than more companies with more assets to fall back on in the event of loss. So be sure to take full stock when considering the risks you may face. A comprehensive survey of your premises and assets is the recommended place to start. At each key location, consider the potential for criminal activity and take corrective action.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  •         Could your windows and doors withstand the attentions of a determined burglar?
  •         Are tempting valuables typically left in your premises overnight? If so, can they be stored securely (for example in a safe), or should they be taken off the premises at the end of each working day?
  •         How effective is your burglar alarm? What would happen if it were to go off?
  •         Do you have any other physical deterrents in place – for example, motion-activated security lights?

And then there’s cybercrime. With so much business conducted online these days, cyber security could not be more vital. If malicious hackers did gain unauthorised entry to your IT systems, dire consequences could result: they could steal your funds and mission-critical data, copy intellectual property and even hold you to ransom.

So it’s vital to ensure your IT procedures are secure. Here a few points to consider:

  •         Are all your employees up to speed with IT security, and understand the importance of not opening email attachments from unknown parties or clicking on embedded links?
  •         Does your email software come with robust spam and malware protection? Your risk of infection will be lower if dubious emails never even reach the inboxes of your employees.
  •         Do you have a routine and comprehensive data back-up procedures in place? Gone are the days when that meant laboriously copying data onto fragile disks: nowadays it is more likely to mean copying data into the cloud for secure storage at a remote location. Backups serve two functions: they ensure you do not lose your data in the event of fire, hardware failure or a similar disaster; but they also mean you will still access if it is stolen or held to ransom by a malicious third party.

Protect yourself and your business by properly analysing the situation and planning for every contingency. Remember the old maxim: forewarned is forearmed!

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