How to Improve Your Business Security Through Staff Training
Business premises make attractive prospects for thieves, because they often contain valuable assets and sensitive data that could be sold illegally for a profit. They’re usually vacant on evenings and weekends too, which makes them an easy target for experienced burglars.
To ensure your business premises is kept secure, you’re going to need your staff to contribute to your security efforts. In this guide, we’ll explain exactly how you can utilise your staff to keep every aspect of your business secure. So, read on to find out:
- How to perform a risk assessment of your business premises
- How to create a security checklist that will drastically improve your on-site security
- How to get your staff on board with your new security protocols
- How you can learn from security failures
Perform a risk assessment
Before you can improve your business’ security, you need to know where you currently stand. Performing a risk assessment is the first step in creating a successful security plan, as it helps you to identify and reduce the risks your business faces.
Why are risk assessments important?
A risk assessment is the first step in improving your business’ security. By taking a detailed, objective look at your premises, you’ll become aware of your weaknesses and be able to take steps to improve them. Neglect to take this crucial step, and you could be leaving your business vulnerable to thieves.
While you can perform one yourself, you might want to hire a professional security firm, or ask the local police to guide you through a business premises risk assessment — especially if you don’t have much experience in this area. Starting from outside your business premises, you should consider:
How obvious is it when your building is unoccupied?
An unoccupied business premises is a prime target for burglars, as it promises a high reward at a low risk.
If it’s obvious that your workspace is unoccupied during evenings and weekends, you should make it part of your security plan to change this. Something as simple as putting a few lights on a timer could be enough to deter a would-be thief, making it well worth the effort.
How would you break into your business premises if you had to?
Try to adopt the mind-set of a burglar and consider the ways they might try to gain access to your building. How easy would it be to break into your premises with a few basic hand tools? Take a look at our guide to the most common tactics used by thieves to give you an idea of what to look out for.
Are any valuable assets visible from outside the premises?
If valuable assets are visible through your windows, it will increase the risk of your business being burgled. Make hiding expensive items out of plain sight at the end of each working day, a part of your security checklist.
How secure are your main entry points?
Could an assailant easily break into your property through an unsecure door or window? If your main entry points aren’t up to scratch, you’re putting your assets at risk. If there is room for improvement, you can upgrade your entry points with our certified security doors and window grilles and cages. It’s also crucial that you make locking each of them, at the end of every workday, a part of your security checklist.
Are there any objects on your premises that would help a burglar break in?
If a burglar can gain access to an upper window by standing on a bin, or there are heavy objects outside your premises that could be used to break through a door or window, your business will be vulnerable. It should be part of your security checklist to hide these out of the way, so your property stays as secure as possible.
Are there any deterrents on your premises, such as an alarm or CCTV?
If your business is protected by deterrents such as security doors and window grilles, an alarm, security lights, and CCTV cameras, all but the most determined of thieves will move on to an easier target. If you invest in these security measures as part of your security strategy, you will go a long way towards securing your business against thieves.
Create a security checklist
Once you’ve completed your risk assessment, it’s time to turn your newfound knowledge into actionable steps to improve your site’s security.
The best way to do this is by creating a checklist that details the steps that need to be taken at the end of each work day, to ensure your business remains secure. This should be written in a way that any member of staff can understand, and it’s a good idea to put a number of trusted employees on a rota to go through the checklist at the end of each work day.
Your security checklist will be unique to your business, but it should include steps like:
- Searching the premises at the end of the day.
- Making sure all doors and windows are locked.
- Making sure the alarm is activated.
- Making sure any money left on-site is locked away.
- Making sure nothing valuable is visible from outside.
- Making sure deterrents such as security lights and CCTV cameras are activated and fully-functioning.
- Making sure there are no items outside your premises that could help a burglar break in.
Depending on the details of your policy, your insurer may refuse to pay out if you fail to follow any of these steps, and your premises is broken into. It’s therefore crucial that your staff follow this security checklist at the end of each day.
Brief your staff on basic security measures
You should also brief your staff on some basic security measures they need to take. Again, these will be specific to your business and largely depend on your industry, but they should include principles such as:
- Keep doors and windows shut and locked whenever possible.
- Lock valuable items away when they’re not in use.
- Never leave the reception desk unattended.
- Keep as little cash on-site as possible, and always count it in private.
- Only hand out office keys to trusted members of staff.
- Change the locks immediately if a key ever goes missing.
- Staff should speak up if they notice any suspicious behaviour on-site.
- Sensitive documents should be shredded when they need to be disposed of.
If your staff stick to these guidelines day-to-day, your business will remain as secure as possible.
Create a maintenance schedule
When your office is unoccupied, your security equipment is your only line of defence against burglars. Therefore, it’s crucial that you put a maintenance schedule in place, to ensure your deterrents remain in full working order.
You should perform this maintenance routine quarterly, and it should include tasks such as:
- Checking that all the locks on your premises are in full working order.
- Checking that any CCTV cameras are fully-functioning, pointing in the right direction, and set to the correct date and time.
- Checking that security lights are functioning, not affecting the footage recorded by any CCTV cameras, and set to turn on and off at the right time.
This simple maintenance schedule will help keep your business premises as secure as possible, whenever it is vacant.
Get your staff on board with your new security protocols
No matter how comprehensive and well thought out your new security protocols are, they’re useless if your staff don’t follow them. If you want your workforce to comply with your new security demands, you’ll need to get them invested in the changes.
Here’s how to make sure your entire workforce takes securing your business premises seriously:
Demonstrate the benefits of improved security
If your staff maintain the security protocols you introduce, you will minimise the chance of your premises being broken into, burgled, or vandalised. This will allow your staff to enjoy a safe work environment, and also prevent the company from suffering financially as a result of having to replace assets that have been stolen, or repair equipment that has been vandalised.
If you want your employees to co-operate with the new security measures you bring in, you need to express these benefits to them effectively. It’s a good idea to introduce the changes in a meeting, as this will give staff a chance to raise any questions at the end. You should then reiterate your points in a company-wide email.
Lead by example
If you want your staff to carry out your new security protocols, senior management will need to take their turn on the rota along with everyone else. Fail to do this and your workforce is unlikely to follow your instructions.
Give them time to perform the daily checks
Whether it makes more sense to have one person run through all your security checks each day, or several people who are responsible for their own tasks, you need to make sure you give them time to run through the checklist at the end of each day, if you want it to get done. If you expect staff to run through your security checklist in their own time, then don’t be surprised if it doesn’t get done to a high standard (if at all).
Give your staff the training they need
If your staff need any training to operate your more complex security equipment, you should retrain them at regular intervals to make sure your entire workforce knows how to operate it. It’s also a good idea to get senior members of staff to train new recruits in your security protocols, to refresh their memory.
Keep your staff accountable
Each of your employees should be held accountable for properly securing the office when it’s their turn on the rota. This should apply to senior members of staff, just as it does to new starters.
How to learn from your security failures
If the worst comes to the worst and your business premises is broken into, it’s important that you learn from your mistakes to make sure it doesn’t happen again. You may want to hire a security firm, or ask the local police to help you analyse how you and your staff can improve your security going forward.
When you’re studying the break in, it’s important to be objective. If it could have been prevented with more thorough security protocols or better deterrents, you should look at improving them as soon as possible.
It’s also important to reassure your staff that you’re taking all the necessary precautions to protect your premises, going forward. Reiterate the importance of following the new security protocols you’ve set, and your business will remain as safe as possible.
If you want to improve the security of your business premises and ensure your most valuable assets are safe, it’s crucial that you get your staff on board. If you follow the advice we’ve listed in this guide, your employees should know exactly what they need to do to help protect your business, ensuring your assets and staff stay as safe as possible.
If you have any questions about how you can improve your business’ security through staff training, or you’d like to know how Bradbury’s range of physical security products can help to secure your business, please contact one of our experts today.