All small businesses will have some level of security in place, whether just basic CCTV systems and audio alarms or everything up to maximum perimeter security. Regardless of the amount of security you have, it is really important to check if you have sufficient measures in place and their effectiveness regularly. There is not a more important time to do this check than now, in the New Year.
Although after Christmas and at the start of the New Year, businesses may be low on cash to spare, these are also the darkest months of the year. With many dark nights comes an increase in theft. Therefore, it is crucial that you take the time to check your security and spend what is necessary if these are no longer effective.
The most cost-effective way to carry out this check is to do your own complete security risk assessment, that way it costs you nothing, gives you peace of mind and alerts you to anything that needs attention in these high-risk months. To do your own assessment, you can download our general security checklist here as well as asking yourself these questions below.
It might be that you have all the security you need, but you have a lot to lose if you don’t at least check. Let’s just say that theft will cause a bigger dent in your limited budget than checking and updating your security will!
Security Risk Assessment
Assessments should look at all threats to a business, with the most common being external theft and criminal damage, as well as employee theft. Obviously, it depends on the nature of your business, which threats apply to you, but it is worth thinking about all the possibilities.
Often the easiest and recommended model to us is the ABC model. This will help you to identify your vulnerabilities and the potential impact of exploitation.
It’s always really useful to check what businesses in your area are doing. It can give you a good indication of the safety of the area and what you might need to be doing.
To make sure you have efficient security, take a look at your surroundings and consider these questions:
- Are other businesses in the area more secure, making your site an easier target?
- Is your business in a deprived residential area, which may mean more opportunist thieves?
- What is the accessibility of the area? – Easy access may be beneficial for deliveries, but they also provide fast escape routes so may entice thieves.
One of the most important security measures to consider is your perimeter, this is the first line of defence against trespassers or intruders so it needs to both deter and defend. Examine the physical perimeter of the site and take these into consideration:
- Do you have security signs to deter thieves? – Signs such as “CCTV in Operation” and “Premises secured by RGM Security” are really effective in putting opportunists off trying anything. The great thing is, is that they don’t even have to be real!
- Do you need deterrent fencing? – This includes thick bramble bushes, razor wire, electric fences, rotating spikes, anti-climb paint etc.
- Do you need an on-site security presence (manned guarding)?
- Do you completely control who can walk or drive onto your property?
- Is your fencing effective? – Take into account surrounding land, the strength of the fence and the height of the fence at the shortest point.
- Is there anything on the exterior side of the perimeter that could hinder or assist a would-be intruder? – This includes adjoining land that belongs to another premise, overhanging tree branches, decorative brickwork, and anything fastened to the wall/fence that could be used as a foothold.
- Are there any unprotected dips in the ground which could allow access under the fence?
- Do you have any security monitoring devices? – This includes fence-mounted sensors, underground movement sensors, infra-red beams, microwave beams, passive infra-red sensors etc.
- Are all of your windows and doors secure? – This includes the use of fire exits.
- Do you have sufficient internal security measures? – This includes intruder alarms, safes, CCTV etc.
- Do you have security measures in place if keys or access cards are lost? Would you benefit from access control systems?
When assessing equipment, you need to consider two things: ‘how much would it cost to replace this item if it was stolen’ and ‘how much would it cost and impact business operations if it was stolen.’ The answers to these questions will then determine how secure they will need to be, as well as insurance and other factors.
The second thing you’ll need to consider is the value of these items to thieves and if these products can be easily sold on. If you have a lot of contents that are easily sold and very valuable, this could lead to recurrent break-ins.
To fully assess your contents, it is very worthwhile to talk to employees and contractors on site. They can often make you aware of unknown problems such as weak points in the perimeter and the causes of previous intrusions/thefts. Assessing deliveries and stock levels can also make you aware of ‘informed criminals.’ In these situations, discussions should be carried out with caution.
Having carried out the security risk assessment, you should now know whether your security protection is up to scratch. If not, decide what additional measures are desirable and analyse whether they will be cost-effective. Always try to re-revisit your assessment periodically, especially in the winter months and if anything changes that will increase the risk to your site.
If you want to talk about what security measures are best for your business, feel free to contact us at RGM Security.
01792 293 249