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New year - new focus on security?

Many people view the start of a new year as an opportunity for a fresh start - a chance to abandon old habits and make some positive changes.

The same is true of many businesses. As arbitrary as the beginning of a new calendar year might seem in the grand scheme of things, it's a perfect time for companies to adopt a renewed focus on issues that could have significant consequences for their overall performance, such as workplace security.

This should be a big consideration for all companies, regardless of their size, where they are based or what industry they operate in. Earlier this year, the Business Continuity Institute, in association with BSI, published the fifth annual Horizon Scan Report, which revealed that physical security is a growing concern for business continuity professionals.

On the list of the biggest perceived threats that organisations face, acts of terrorism moved up sixth places from tenth in 2015 to fourth this year, while security incidents moved up one place to fifth. The proportion of respondents expressing concern about an incident such as vandalism, theft or fraud disrupting their business increased from 48 percent to 55 percent.

So with these concerns in mind, what can companies do to ensure their security is up to standard at the start of 2017?

Conduct a security audit
It's important to conduct security audits regularly and thoroughly. Each check should revisit basic questions such as whether lighting and protective measures like alarm systems are functioning properly. Audits should also concentrate on potential weaknesses and locations that might be targeted by thieves or intruders, such as access points, loading areas, windows and stairwells.

Carrying out regular checks will ensure that your security measures are always up to a certain standard and also give you the peace of mind to focus on running the business.

Get the right services in place
Consulting with a professional security provider can help you to understand your company's unique requirements and what actions you need to take to make sure you're protected. Having the most appropriate, accredited services in place is one of the most effective ways to guarantee the safety of your people and assets.

It might be that deploying front-of-house guards will be the best option to deter criminals and keep your organisation secure, or mobile security could prove vital if you need protection on the move.

Focus on vulnerabilities
There are many ways that your business could be particularly vulnerable to certain threats. If, for example, there are certain times of the month or year when the workplace is particularly quiet, this could be an inviting opportunity for intruders.

You might also have vulnerable employees, such as those who spend a lot of time working alone or in isolated areas. It's particularly important to focus on these concerns when evaluating and planning your security measures.

Look inside as well as outside
It's reasonable to assume that threats will always come from outside the business, but that's not strictly true. Workplace violence, harassment and bullying are extremely serious considerations for all employers, and there should be processes and policies in place to reduce the risk of these problems arising.

One approach that can prove effective is to conduct training with your staff and be very clear about the company's stance on these issues, so there is no doubt about just how serious they are.

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of iStock/AndreyPopov

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