Whether it’s damage to your car park or internal theft within the business, safeguarding your premises, property and assets is essential. Without the proper precautions, you leave yourself open to countless opportunities for others to take advantage of your business.
And, of course, the modern business faces more threats than physical theft – data breaches and cyber attacks can strip organisations of vital information and sales records. This means it’s vital that all threats are considered, and preventative measures are implemented.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can protect your business against theft. With the help of tips and advice from business owners, we’ve come up with a list of things you can do to deter the behaviour that can be detrimental to your organisation.
Secure your premises
If you deem it necessary, install security lighting, put locks on the windows and strengthen the premises’ doors as a deterrent to burglars. Weigh up whether you want to incur the cost of security against your insurance premiums going down in the event of damage or robbery.
Shutters and grilles might need planning permission from your local council, but can provide some excellent fortification if your building is targeted.
It may be worth seeking the advice of security specialists and your neighbours to identify the level of security your site requires. For locations with expensive on-site equipment, 24-hour manned security could be essential; whereas robust locks could be sufficient for a small set-up with minimal valuable items and equipment stored on the premises overnight.
Furthermore, your physical premises aren’t simply the four walls which house your team and equipment, it extends to every part of your site. It’s important to safeguard an on-site car park for example, especially if your business owns a fleet of commercial vehicles.
Install the appropriate lighting, surveillance and signage to achieve ParkMark accreditation – the national standard for UK car parks with low crime and intelligent safety measures.
The implementation of ANPR can also help you manage and safeguard your car park. ANPR tracks vehicle movements on your site, throughout work hours and beyond, so you will have access to information about how many cars are on your site, at what times and for how long. This will provide a solution for managing unsolicited parkers, without any disruption for authorised personnel. Police can also request the information procured by ANPR – a great deterrent against repeat offenders.
John MacMahon, executive director of Re:sure offers: “Remote CCTV monitoring can help to mitigate theft on your premises in a dramatic way. Having a CCTV system is a great help but unfortunately, it will only record the crimes being committed.”
John makes a great point; without monitoring, you can only know of the crime after the fact. “A monitored CCTV system, however, can have a dedicated team monitoring your premises, car park or even internal areas of the building during the times you decide. This means that you can be sure there are people on-hand when you need it.”
“With this, you could prepare a PA system that can be triggered from within the control room monitoring your premises,” says John. This allows security to ward off a criminal before a crime is even committed. Alternatively, the police can be called as soon as an intruder sets foot on the premises.
Curb information theft
Cyber crime is a growing problem in the UK, affecting businesses, organisations and individuals alike. Criminals continue to adopt new, highly-complex methods of extracting data from IT systems, and all devices, including smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, are vulnerable to cyber criminality – meaning your data is almost always at risk.
To prevent your business from falling victim to a cyber attack, you need to take a proactive approach to protecting your assets and data. Financial records, employee details and other things of that nature are hugely sensitive documents that require the utmost protection. Ensure they stay safeguarded by restricting entry using access controls, reviewing which members of staff have these privileges and changing passwords regularly.
Additionally, make sure your IT systems are protected from external threats by installing firewalls and anti-virus software.
The National Crime Agency cites two-factor authentication as one of the best ways to safeguard personal data and business assets online or in the cloud. This is a form of multi-factor verification that requires you to input two or more details, so that your identity can be safely confirmed. You should also make sure that all your systems and software are kept up to date with the latest security features.
There are a number of employee best practices that can be adopted by businesses in order to minimise theft opportunities, such as thoroughly checking the details of any new potential employees, ensure a high level of customer service, and setting clear instructions and rules around what employees are allowed to use and what they are allowed to take home.
Take, for example, a retail business. Tom Bourlet, Marketing Manager at Nature’s Healthbox, says: “If you grow to a certain size, you might even consider a loss prevention manager, while mirrors are also a very inexpensive alternative, or addition, to cameras, allowing you to see different angles of the store while still behind the till.”
The majority of the time, employee misuse is down to a misunderstanding of what is allowed, the correct procedures, and not carrying out the proper training beforehand. “The lines can sometimes be blurred,” Tom notes. “They might be able to help themselves to a stationery cupboard, but then what is to prevent them from taking any items home?
“From previous experience at a past company where employee theft did occur, we achieved great results by placing one member in charge of managing the stationery cupboard and giving them the only key. That way, each time someone wanted something, they had to make a request and sign it off. This might seem a little extreme for some companies, but it yielded results and it made staff more accountable.”
Cash handling and point of sales systems
Another part of minimising employee theft is having the correct cash handling processes in place within your business. To start with, it’s a good idea to limit the employees who handle the cash itself; assign the responsibility to supervisors, who will then be responsible for reviewing transactions and other duties like recording receipts.
These members of staff should also be well-versed with the steps involved with picking up floats for cash drawers, how they get change when running low, how to make deposits and how they can reconcile their floats once their shifts have ended. Additionally, when they count money in the back office, make sure they’re counting every coin and tracking all discrepancies.
If you use a point-of-sale system, then ensure you’ve taken the appropriate steps to improve its security, prevent malware infections and avoid POS data breaches. The number of threats that face POS systems continues to rise because new POS malware is being created or updated all the time. Retail, hospitality, food service and others that rely heavily on POS systems should prioritise the security of such systems. The potential blow to your company’s reputation isn’t worth foregoing such safeguarding.
Any location where your business deals in cash should be well-lit, secure and well-provisioned to reduce the risk of theft or loss.
Of course, there are ways to prevent theft that will be specific to the sector your business operates in. Alongside the other measures taken, here’s a chance to use your organisation’s uniqueness to its advantage, implementing security precautions that relate in a specific way.
Consider PB Supercars, a supercar hire fleet of 20 £100,000+ vehicles that requires top-of-the-range tracking and driver monitoring systems to prevent thefts by both hirers and misuse by delivery staff. Andrew Calf, PB Supercars’ general manager states: “We use SmarTrack units that are hosted by Global Telemetrics. These systems enable us to constantly monitor the vehicle’s location and speeds and shut the cars down if required in the event of a theft or misuse.”
Andrew also notes that the cars have G-force sensors on them, sending alerts to the right department if harsh driving such as rapid braking or acceleration is detected, “something that can easily get out of hand when younger drivers use the cars.” Another great benefit, Andrew says, is the remote view of the driver and the road ahead at all times provided by in-car cameras. These systems are supplied and run by I-Plant in real time, uploading the data via GPS to cloud storage, preventing unauthorised users from driving the cars.
“Without these monitoring systems, it would simply no longer be possible to safely operate the hire business,” says Andrew.
We hope these tips could help give you some ideas about how to better secure your business, and reassure your current actions are a beneficial use of resources.
ParkingEye is the market leading provider of ANPR, a key service for businesses looking for a reliable and secure approach to car park management. Head over to our car park management solutions page for more information, and get in touch with us today.