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Ways to Improve Workplace Security for Your Small Business

Business network security

Small business owners know that a safe and secure environment gives employees confidence and shows that they care about their workers and value their productivity. Business owners should regularly inspect both physical and information security measures in the workplace and ensure ongoing compliance with security protocols. One of the most important ways to improve workplace security for your small business is to get your employees’ buy-in; involve them in decisions about how to best protect them and their work.

Physical Safety

Secure access to your business with keycard entry and policies that restrict visitor access. Don’t forget to add deadbolts to the doors—criminals are skilled at hacking electronic door locking devices. Install an alarm system and security cameras. This is especially important if you run a business that’s open to the public: you should have a way for your employees to alert authorities, and work with those authorities to put in place plans that tell your employees what to do when threatened.

Comply with building codes for fire safety and run drills for your employees so they can react quickly if an alarm goes off. If your business is located in an area with frequent severe weather, identify shelter areas in the building.

Small business owners are naturally concerned with costs, but compromising safety to save money is a losing game in the long run. It sends a message that you don’t care about your workers, and workers who don’t feel you care won’t stay. Regulations about hazardous materials, machinery, and your building’s physical layout are there to protect you and your workers. Take them seriously.

Information Security

Securing your business data is essential to your success. Clients and customers need to know that you respect their privacy and will keep their personal and financial information protected. Threats to data come in not only from computers, but from phones—both yours and your employees’. Assess your information security practices and policies. Consider the following tactics and tips:

  • Maintain a private, encrypted Wi-Fi system with a strong firewall to ensure network security. Implement a password policy that requires strong passwords and two-factor authentication to access your network. Provide a VPN (virtual private network) for employees who must access your network remotely when traveling or working from home, and require employees to install VPN on their phones as well.
  • Enforce a social media policy. Workers should not share business information through their personal social media accounts. Train employees how to update their privacy settings, and remind them to use caution when handling business information.
  • Often ignored as a basic measure for improving workplace security for small businesses is the simple act of locking the computer screen, especially when a desk is near a window and the screen is visible from a street or sidewalk. If your business is set up this way, look into special filter screens that obscure the view of the monitor or laptop from indirect angles.
  • Backup your data in a separate, secure location.
  • Secure telecommunications equipment and consider using shielded cables rather than unshielded cables if you deal with highly sensitive information. You may also need them if your location is subject to higher levels of electromagnetic interference from appliances, machinery, or nearby power lines.
  • Keep software, virus, and malware protection up to date, warn employees about spam and phishing, and install a spam filter for your network.

Remember that your employees may still have lots of data on paper. Lock file cabinets and implement policies about securing sensitive information that exists in hard copy. Securing your business both physically and electronically is a way to preserve and advance your success.

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