StrategyDriven Risk Management Article

How To Make Your Business Safer

As a business owner, you have an important responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone who works for you. Of course, there are always going to be times when accidents happen, but you need to take steps to reduce the odds of this happening. Anything negative or dangerous events which happen at your business and are your responsibility could end up being very destructive and damaging to it. So, let’s take a closer look at a couple of the ways that you can make your business safer for the benefit of both you and your employees.

Develop a Risk Management Policy

The risk management policy which you create for your business very much depends on the type of company that you are running. Obviously, there are some environments which are more dangerous than others, but you still need to take the proper safety precautions even if you just run an office environment. Your risk management program needs to be ongoing and adaptable. After all, there may be new risks which present themselves during the lifespan of your company.

To start off with, look at your current risk management program to see if there are any improvements which you could make to it. Have you set safety goals and are they measurable? Look to your managers and ask how committed they are to workplace safety. If they are not giving this aspect of your company the attention that it deserves, you need to ask why not and reiterate just how important it is to everyone. While everyone should have the same priorities when it comes to protecting staff members, you will probably want to have a few trusted staff members who can lead the initiative.

There are a number of factors involved in creating a risk management policy. First of all, you should conduct some inspections of your property to identify potential risks. You may decide that you need to invest in additional equipment and protective measures such as safety rails. It is worth having an inspection completed by a professional who knows what they are doing and can make recommendations. Be aware of any potential hazards around your work environment including faulty machinery, unsafe practices or things which could result in trips and spills. You also need to ensure that your employees are protected ergonomically and you have dedicated first aiders who can help to handle any emergency situations which may occur. If you have any vehicles which you use for business, these should all be fully insured and taxed.

Put Your Program into Effect

Once you have established your policy, you then need to take steps to put it into effect. To start off with, you should consult your key members of staff to tell them all about your safety practices. These in-person consultations will ensure that you are all on the same page. You should also offer safety training sessions to all your staff members. Provide them with any additional resources as required. It is also important that you have an open-door policy when it comes to offering suggestions from your staff members. After all, they are seeing a totally different side to your business and are well-placed to offer improvements and suggestions that could help you out in the long-run.

Choose the Right Insurance

As we mentioned at the start, you can have all the best measures in place, but sometimes, accidents may happen. For example, your business could suffer from a fire or another act of God which was impossible to predict. Therefore, it is important that you have the right insurance policies to protect you from a wide range of circumstances. If you are not sure what you need and what you don’t, it is always going to be worth consulting with a professional advisor who can steer you onto the right path. Insurance is the one thing that you want your business to have in times of need.

Making your business safer should be one of your main priorities as a responsible company owner. The points listed in this article give you a few of the main things to consider. Of course, every company is different, and you will need to come up with a health and safety policy which is bespoke to your business and covers a wide range of different circumstances and eventualities. When all else fails, it is important that you have the insurance measures in place to keep your business protected.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article

6 Easy Office Security Tips

Whether you are at home or in the office, you’ll agree that security is important. At home, you worry about the doors being broken into and you install a top alarm system, double lock the doors at night and even invest in a dog. Life is busy, though, and security can be easily forgotten about. You get complacent, you shut the door but don’t lock it. You leave the building without setting the alarm and all is fine. Then all of a sudden, that complacency will bite you when you end up being broken into. Your home and your office have got to be places that you look after, but your office is going to be the place that your livelihood gets messed with. Almost every business out there is at risk from theft by employees or outsiders, criminal break-ins and data theft. It’s a tough world, full of competition and you should be doing everything that you possibly can to look after your office and home, keeping them both secure.

People tend to get more concerned about their homes when they go out to work in the day, but they have a lot less concern for the security of their office. Unfortunately, it’s not potted plants that are at risk of theft or damage when people decide to take it upon themselves to break into your office. It’s going to be your data and your personal information, along with the personal information of your clients and your financial data. As a business owner, document storage and retrieval is going to be a big deal for your company, and paying attention to every way that you can secure your office is going to tighten up your business. Working in an office is going to mean you are exposed to certain threats, and we’ve got a list of tips for both you and your employees to keep as safe as possible while you are there:

Social Media

Your job doesn’t have to be completely online, but social media is important for any business. Your whole business is going to be critiqued and reviewed online, and so it makes sense for your staff to be very careful about what they say online; whether it’s business related or not. Social media profiles should also be private as much as possible, so that nothing about work that is shared is visible online. Sensitive information about your workplace that goes up about your office can leave you in a position of vulnerability. This could end up in lawsuits and leaving your business open to those who want to pick your business apart.

Integrated Security Systems

When you have a physical office building, you need to have an integrated security system to stop people who are unexpected from coming into your space. You should ideally have doors that are opened with key cards and a video camera system that can see the doors from every angle. Some offices that keep highly sensitive information on site also choose to use facial recognition software or video cameras for access. Making sure that your internal and external doors are locked at night, and auto-locked throughout the day with glass that isn’t easily breakable is so important. People may not be able to bypass the electronic systems, but it only takes a power failure to short circuit the whole thing. This is why manual locks are so important, and double-locking the place isn’t going to be over the top.

Employee Screening

A big reason for theft in a company is via the very people that work there. While you want to be able to trust your employees, it doesn’t mean that you can be complacent about the people that you hire. You could have the most stringent checks around and still find yourself at the mercy of the people working for you. Criminal record and referencing checks should be done upon hiring, and the control that you give your employees will need to be monitored. Do not allow employees or anyone outside a very tight and trusted group to have full access to the documents and data in your company. Financial documents should only be accessed by the proper finance teams at all times.

Lock & Key

Server rooms in your business are going to be the very place that sensitive information is stored. Anywhere that can be infiltrated by outside influences has to be kept under a physical lock and key as well as a data lock and key. Using the Cloud is a good way to keep sensitive information safe and away from servers, but it’s still precarious. Those servers have everything that makes your business what it is, and only those with an in-depth security clearance should have access to the server room. Ensure that you install your server room in the middle of an office and make sure that there are no walls that lean into your office neighbours. We’re not suggesting that there’s going to be a great heist with drills through the walls, but you never truly know!

Secure Workstations

Most of the time, people will bring their own tablets and laptops to the workplace so that they can work off something portable. If you have desktop computers, instead of portable laptops or tablets, you need to get these locked down so that in the event of a break-in, they cannot be stolen. Paperwork and documentation, if not in a secure storage centre, should also be under lock and key. Any desktop computers you’re not using should be locked away, as well and wiped of any data. Anything you don’t intend to keep should always be shredded and not just placed into recycling bins, as criminals tend to keep sensitive information including names and addresses. You’re not being overly cautious by taking a moment to look at your office security and not wanting to lose thousands of dollars in equipment.

Disable The Drives

Ideally, you don’t have someone among your staff that will steal information from you, but just in case you should disable the drives. USB ports and floppy drives are the perfect way for people to steal information from inside the office and bring it outside; all they need is an external drive to plug in and go. You can have your IT team disable these drives or remove them altogether, which will prevent any of your company documentation or data that is held on the main server from being removed and brought anywhere outside of your office.

While you are making sure that your office and your data is completely secure against outside unwanted access, you should also be keeping your knowledge updated about the recent cyberattacks and office break-ins that are in your area and could affect you. It’s so essential to ensure that your IT team have brought the best malware and latest antivirus to you to install on your machines. If you are truly concerned about whether your office will get broken into, you could ensure that you bring in a security company and hire some guards for the front and back of your office. Protecting the company assets, data, software and equipment is an absolute must and as a business owner, you must do everything that you possibly can to ensure the safety of your staff and your information. Physical security is rather overlooked by most businesses but ensuring that you have the right security in place could change whether your office is a target or not for would-be thieves.

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Why It’s Important To Stay Protected Online

The internet has become an essential part of business management for numerous reasons. Primarily, it is an incredibly useful tool that enables any company to reach out to more people, conduct safe transactions, assess their processes, and source an immense range of tools and resources that can streamline your business management and grow your company. However, with the huge benefits that the digital age offers, there are also some significant risks. It’s vital for any company that is looking to improve and increase its reliance on the internet, to assess the possible risks and limit the chances of them happening. The reasons for this may seem obvious, but some of the issues may not have occurred to you, so here are the three reasons why you should be protecting yourself online.

The growing threat of cybercrime

It would be hard not to have noticed the prevalence of news articles and headlines that report on the latest incidents of cybercrime. Large and small companies are both at risk of costly and damaging cyber attacks, so it’s vital that you as a business owner are not merely aware of the latest threats, but also the reasons why protection is so important. The increasing sophistication of cyber attacks, in whatever form, means that you need to not only prepare yourself for the risks but ensure that your employees are as aware as you are. It is for this reason why staff training sessions on basic internet security are an essential part of your weekly business management.

It’s a business risk

One of the main reasons why you need to make a concerted effort to protect yourself from cybercriminals is down to the damage that they can cause. This is not simply a case of financial risk, although that’s certainly one of the issues that you need to concern yourself with. However, one of the primary targets of cybercriminals is not simply access to your bank details, but access to your data. That data, whether it’s that of you, your employees, your customers, or your suppliers, can be used in a number of nefarious ways, with identity theft and phishing targets the key issues to concern yourself with. The growing sophistication of hackers has led companies to optimize their security methods, with many opting to upgrade rather than update, and transferring to SonicWall firewall technology to create an extra layer of protection between the data that you hold and the criminals that want it.

Staying safe can grow your business in ways that you may not have considered. Having a strong security attitude is not only a good way to stress the importance of strong and secure internet use in your employees, but it can also become an additional selling point when it comes to attracting new customers. As consumers become ever more comfortable browsing and making purchases online, they are also becoming more aware of the risks when it comes to sharing their personal information. Having a robust security system in place is not only vital when it comes to protecting yourself; it could make the difference between a customer trusting you enough to click the transaction button or choosing your competitors.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article

Is Your Company Safe?

This is a question you should be asking yourself all the time. Your company is never safe, and that is something you should always remember, but can you keep your company safe? Yes you can. All you need to do is know what areas you might be most vulnerable at. Everyone is always so focused on the strengths of their business, but the weaknesses are often where safety issues might lie. So we’re here to explore why your company might not be as safe as you think it is.

Cybercrime

Whenever everyone thinks about crime, theft, or damage, they usually think about the physical things in life that can happen. But one of the main ways that businesses will fall under attack is through cybercrime. It is important to remember that all businesses now run through the internet, or nearly all of them. For example, a marketing company will have a database that is storing thousands of details of different companies. This could just be a name and address, or it could include bank details as well. This is what hackers are after. Sometimes they don’t even steal the information to do anything with it, they just do it to send the company into a frenzy. Theft of information, whether it be the companies fault or not, is a breach of data protection. This in turn can open a whole new can of worms that will leave your company in the dirt. Make sure you have strong encryptions on your website, and make sure you’re changing login passwords monthly, if not more regularly.

Office Safety

Again, something not a lot of people seem to consider. Just like a house, and office is going to contain thousands worth of technological goods, information, and equipment. All it takes is one person to decide your office is their target, and you could have every part of your business put on hold. Using a security guard company to protect your office should be the first step you take. Even if you’re in a managed office space, you can still hire an external company to protect the office you’re in. It is important to remember that thieves won’t necessarily wait until everyone is gone to do the deed. If you have something in your office that they really want, they’ll take it no matter what. Not only will this put your business in jeopardy, but your employees safety too.

Keep Your Ideas Quiet

Theft of business ideas is so common. There was a recent article in the news that claimed even business giants such as Donald Trump stole ideas from small entrepreneurs trying to get funding from him. So what does this mean you need to do? Trademark your business, and copyright any idea you have, even if you’re not planning on implementing it any time soon. It just means that the law is protecting your from the potential of having everything stolen! Make sure you keep your ideas to yourself as well, even if it is something you’re proud of. One of the main ways ideas get stolen is due to word of mouth, and that mouth might be someone you thought you could trust.

Think Like A Hacker, Protect Like A Pro

In physical spaces, companies rely on security guards and cameras. They place these measures in areas thieves are likely to target. Cameras point to expensive products. Security guards stand at possible entrance points. Systems like these were built by getting into the minds of thieves.

But, when you take business online, internet security becomes the primary priority. Here, instead of security guards, you’ll have anti-virus software to take care of matters. But, with big companies such as Yahoo still falling foul to breaches, it’s easy to see that anti-virus software isn’t enough. It’s possible, in fact, that the best way to beat breaches online is to get into the headspace of hackers. Just as you would in a physical store, you should think about where such individuals will target you. That way, you can put much more informed protections in place.

Of course, most of us have had years of dealing with thieves. But, hackers are a whole new breed. What’s more, few of us get to watch them in action. While thieves are right there for us to study and understand, hackers operate under a veil of secrecy. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t at least go some way towards getting into the mindset. And, we’re going to look at how.

Work out which information matters most

You don’t need to understand what hackers do to realize that they only target specific information. They’re unlikely to care, for instance, about how many views your page has received that day. Instead, they’re going to target your more vulnerable information. For the most part, that means they’ll go after any credit card details you store. Email listings and customer addresses may also be points of interest. In short; all the information that you want to keep as safe as possible.

When you’ve worked out exactly what hackers are after, it’s time to spread those details thin in your storage files. That way, you’ll make life much harder for potential hackers. And, you can rest easy that a breach in one area won’t compromise everything. Once you’ve spread the information, consider ways to increase security in vulnerable areas. Obviously, you want to protect your site as a whole. Any breach is going to bring a hacker closer to this information than you’d like them to be. But, it’s worth taking extra measures with these files. It’s the only way to be sure they’re as safe as can be.

Know your security weak spots

It’s also essential that you recognize your weak security spots, and strengthen them. Before attempting to breach, any hacker will suss your business and find their in-point. This is no different from thieves who aim for the back door. The only problem is, you can’t just stick up a CCTV camera and have done with it. But, that doesn’t mean you’re helpless. If you know about these vulnerable areas, you can take extra care to keep them protected. Often, knowing what information hackers will be after can help you here. So, consider that first. Then, think about areas where this information will be at weakest. In most cases, this happens when customers are first sending information to you. Here, hackers could gain access to card details and such before it even arrives at your site.

But, there’s plenty you can do to cover weak spots like these. Taking payments from an outside source such as Paypal can go a long way towards security. This can also help keep addresses and email information safe, as Paypal covers all this. You can keep your non-Paypal customers safe by providing secure connections. Urge them to check for the secure padlock before entering anything.

Another weak spot you should be aware of is when you outsource services. When you pass information to another company, you compromise security. What’s more, hackers know it. If your process involves software development outsourcing, or even remote workers, hackers will attempt to gain information during transfer. Even if they fail here, you can’t be sure of the security used by your outsourced options. To get around this, speak about the issue with companies in question. Together, you can develop plans and passwords which work to keep things safe.

Can one breach lead to another?

It’s also important to consider whether one breach can lead to another. Hackers are out to take everything they can, and will attempt to get as far past your security as possible. Adding many layers to your security system will at least ensure they can’t gain access to everything in one easy hit. And, that’s crucial if you want to provide any reassurance for customers. There are different ways to do this. As mentioned in a previous point, keeping information in different areas can go a long way. It’s also worth operating with a few different security systems in place. That way, working out one doesn’t give a hacker instant access to another. If you’re unsure where to start here, you could always turn to an outside company who can take care of this matter for you. Companies like these make their livings premeditating the actions of hackers. As such, they’re sure to be in a better position here than you.

Conclusion

Thinking like a hacker isn’t always easy. As we’ve already mentioned, these individuals will also have anonymity on their side. As a business owner, you just don’t have the choice to watch them as they work. Hence, you’ll always be operating on guesswork here to some extent. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop a decent security system. In many ways, hackers aren’t all that different to physical thieves. Only, instead of a shop, they’re breaking into your website. And, instead of expensive stock, they’re out to steal information. With that in mind, you should be able to take any action necessary here. At every turn, think back to the hacker mindset. Remember, too that technology is developing all the time. As such, you should revisit security measures often to keep up.