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Cost-Effective Ways to Securing Your Business

Having worked in the Security Industry for about 9 years, it never ceases to amaze me how unclever most theives are and how reactive businesses are when it comes to protecting themselves and their investments from potential loss. Loss prevention and mitigation plans are typically not part of a planning process until a theft (internal or external) has occurred, there was a major accident or the company is facing some sort of litigation. Unfortunately, their response is often too little too late which results in higher costs than if they had integrated a loss prevention plan from the beginning.

Why are businesses so reactive to loss prevention instead of being proactive? In my experience, I have seen many a business owners view security and loss prevention only as a "cost center" of the business and fail to see the pontential ROI. They fail to acknowledge that they WILL lose money and that by investing a little up front they can save a lot in the long run.

It is a simple fact that if you open any type of business, you're going to lose money directly or indirectly. The bottom line is that you will be conducting business with other people and hiring people to work for you...and you simply cannot control their actions; and that is from a purely internal perspective. Now think about external losses and what may someone outside your company stand to gain by stealing information or product from you.

So what can you do to take a proactive approach at increasing physical security and preventing losses at your business without breaking the bank? This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather it is meant to cover a broad range of circumstances that most businesses will face.

1. Get an alarm system. Whether you think you need it or not, the bottom line is you have money invested into your business and you need to protect it. Ask yourself, 'What would it cost for me to be out of business for one day, week, etc?" A monitored alarm system minimizes the time an intruder has in your business and keeps employees honest.

2. Change your locks. When was the last time the locks were changed at your business? How many employees have you gone through since your locks were installed? Where the locks changed/re-keyed before you moved in?

3. Create an access log. Keep track of all your key-holders and document the serial number on their key and the date they received it. Also keep track of their security code to your alarm system.

4. Keep the lights on. Do you shut off ALL of your lights when you leave at night? Leave a light on inside, in front and in back of your facility, preferrably above the doors.

5. Lock it up. What has the most value at your business? It is inventory, customer information, cash, proprietary information? Whatever it is, make sure it's secure and accounted for. It amazes me how business owners who don't maintain inventory can think they don't have anything to protect.

6. Keep it clean. Is your business organized or disorganized? Do you have an accurate inventory/filing system? The sloppier your paperwork, the easier it will be to hide internal theft through sweethearting, discounting, etc. A physically clean premises will also prevent potential accidents resulting in higher insurance premiums.

As I mentioned, these are just a few ideas that can be applied to every business. Some businesses will need to invest more time, energy and money into their loss prevention plan because they stand to lose more if they don't. Some may benefit more from a Closed Circuit TV System (CCTV) while others may benefit from having controlled access to their location.

Whatever your situation, you should take time to consider all of the potential risks your business will face. At the end of the day you can invest all of your time and attention to sales and profits, only to lose it all to one lawsuit or major theft. Call your local security professional today to help you determine your greatest potential for loss, put together a plan and then execute that plan. Be proactive, not reactive.

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About the Author

Joseph Sapko, ADT Security
1120 Palmyrita Ave
Riverside, CA 92507

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