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Top Considerations For Businesses’ To Staying Safe Online

Cybersecurity, from a business’s technological point of view, is essential more than ever simply because it is more prevalent to have parts of the company that would need the use of the world wide web. From emailing different departments to accessing documents over the network or cloud services, to businesses that use the web for communication and engagement with clients and customers. In today’s standards, modern-day business ranging from all small, medium, or large scaled enterprises, will need to be even more vigilant and incorporate web technologies, along with safety and cybersecurity, as part of the business framework and will need to adapt protocols or procedures to make sure of workplace safety and that the company and its assets are protected.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | Top Considerations For Businesses' To Staying Safe Online

Network administrators are usually the go-to department for medium and large enterprises and corporate entities, that will be in charge of keeping the workings of the internet of things functional and performing to the best standard for the company. Ranging from the creation of user accounts, privileges, and to monitor software and traffic coming into the business network, to port monitoring and implementing software installation and updates were needed on the different devices, around the business. But for a small business, cyber security may be more doable with being confident and its capability to deploy its own procedures that can help protect the presence of the company when being online.

Here are a few things to consider for any business whether small, medium or large, that would be generally good working practise to adapt within the online procedures, to protect the company from threats from online.

Firewalls

Firewalls are a security system that will monitor all the network traffic and the software that will run through the ports on the network. Generally, Firewalls are the first port of call when protecting the network from numerous types of attacks, but there are other things that can help reduce this risk even further.

VPN’s

Meaning Virtual Private Networks can be implemented to further the security of data transference across the network, especially if the business network needs to communicate to the wider web, which is untrustworthy, to complete tasks. Firewalls and VPS’s can come in software but also can be found in the router settings for some brands.

Virus Scanning Software

When a company has its work that is primarily sorted out on a device such as a PC, or even have the use of services such as emails and Voice Over Internet Protocol communications, it is usually a good idea to make sure that there is a Virus Protection element implemented, to minimise the chance for viruses or malware that can compromise your data and business logic, even data breaches.

PC Procedures and Conventions

The idea for password conventions and procedures is to educate and train company users and employees to have a decent basic understanding of what is to be expected by them, in order to contribute to the security of the company. Such as passwords not to be shared, and created with an uppercase, inclusive of numbers and a special character. That they should not be allowed to plug personal devices or even log into private email accounts while working on the companies PCs.

Being secure and safe online is an important focal point for many businesses, these points mentioned here are a few generic ones to be considered. What do you include as part of your way of keeping the company safe online? Let us know in the comments below.

Strategies for Overcoming Crisis in The Hospitality Industry

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | Strategies for Overcoming Crisis in The Hospitality IndustryEvery organisation is likely to face a crisis now and again. Significant problems may arise once or twice a year, with smaller issues appearing sporadically in the time in between. Predicting what a crisis will entail is impossible in many situations – but it’s how a team prepares and responds that can dictate whether and to what degree a business recovers.

The Covid-19 pandemic is one obvious example of an uncontrollable crisis affecting almost every industry in one way or another. While many wise businesses will have a crisis management strategy in place, it’s a situation few could have directly planned for.

The hospitality sector has been among the hardest hit. Unfortunately, it’s also likely to feel the situation’s impacts the longest due to ongoing social distancing rules and a consequential reduction in demand and revenue.

Sales slumped by 87% in the second quarter of 2020, and despite tentative signs of recovery, over half of small business owners in the sector fear the pandemic will force them to permanently close. The situation has forced many to pivot their approach in order to survive – but effective crisis management could allow some to emerge stronger.

Below we discuss other uncontrollable factors the hospitality industry faces, as well as the strategies businesses can implement to overcome them.

What uncontrollable factors affect the hospitality industry?

The aforementioned Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted what is perhaps the primary uncontrollable variant for the hospitality industry – flow of tourism.

Accommodation providers, food and drink establishments and other leisure facilities all rely on visitor numbers, but tourism can be fragile even in the best of times. Weather, political events, area decline and the arrival of competitors can all lead to unpredictable cashflow and a variety of other challenges from one season to the next.

Another variant looming large over the sector is Brexit. The hospitality industry is a large employer of migrant workers, but new regulations are likely to lead to problems with labour availability. It remains to be seen whether abolishing freedom of movement will also turn international tourists away.

Strategies for overcoming uncontrollable crises

Periodically reviewing plans is one important strategy for managing crisis. By building in trigger points to assess factors such as operational and market performance as well as basic financial metrics, a company can assess whether a long-term plan is still fit for purpose. In light of some of the events discussed above, this process can be vital in adjusting to new parameters to keep a company on track.

There are other practical steps that can be taken to prepare for the eventuality of a crisis. Taking out hospitality insurance with Gallagher for example can protect against damages to a commercial property or other unforeseen disruptions.

When such a situation does arise, establishing an effective solutions team allows a business to focus the right people on the task in hand. Members should have a clear understanding of their roles and ideally some of their typical responsibilities will be delegated. Electing forward-thinking individuals will help generate the most positive and proactive response.

With a crisis management team in place, wider communication is essential in keeping everyone working towards the same goal. Creating a clear ‘change story’ that all workers can understand and get behind – from front of house staff to board members – can be an important step in establishing a collective sense of urgency.

The hospitality industry is undoubtably facing a crisis right now – but with the right team and strategies in place, many will already be on the road to recovery. If you have any additional insights, please feel free to share best practices in the comments section below.

Figuring Out the Best Way to Get Your Business Insured

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | Figuring Out the Best Way to Get Your Business Insured

40 percent of businesses don’t reopen after a disaster. That’s the bad news.

The worst news? We’re in the middle of a disaster. The COVID-19 pandemic is taking the economy to the cleaners and leaving many small businesses on their death bed.

The good news? As a business owner, there are steps you can take to protect your business from foreseen and unforeseen disasters. One such step is to purchase adequate commercial insurance.

This sounds easy and straightforward, but it’s not. You must find out the best way to get your business insured; otherwise, you could end up underinsuring or even over-insuring your company.

Continue reading to learn how to go about insuring your business.

Identify and Assess Your Risks

Every business faces a wide range of risks.

Some risks affect all kinds of businesses regardless of their industry or niche, and others only affect certain types of businesses. For example, owners of medical practices face malpractice risk. Restaurants don’t face this kind of risk.

However, both businesses do face a fire risk. An electric fault can result in a fire that razes down the buildings that house both businesses.

As such, the first step to insuring your business adequately is to identify all the risks it faces. You can do this on your own or you can hire a risk assessment professional to help you.

If you’re hiring a professional, ensure they’ve got enough industry-specific experience. If you own a logging business, for example, an industry risk specialist is in a better position to identify logging insurance risks than a risk pro who specializes in the retail industry.

After identifying all your risks, assess their threat-level. Which risks pose a more imminent threat? Which ones are less likely to affect your business?

Next, what amount of damage is every risk likely to cause?

With a proper risk assessment, you’ll know the amount of coverage you need to protect your business.

Determine the Kind of Insurance Policies You Need

Wouldn’t it be awesome if insurance policies offered a blanket policy that covers all the risks your business faces?

Well, some large insurance companies offer customized policies, but it would rarely be a blanket policy. Also, there’s the general liability insurance policy that covers most of the risks your business faces, but it’s barely adequate on its own.

Yet, a common mistake small business owners make is purchasing general liability insurance and stopping there. Don’t make this mistake.

There are several other types of business insurance policies you should buy, depending on the nature of your business. Here are some of those policies:

Property Insurance

If you run a brick and mortar store and you own the building, purchase property insurance.

Your building faces a number of risks that can result in extensive damage. Fires and natural disasters, such as floods and windstorms, can destroy the building, forcing you to abandon it until repairs are made.

A property insurance cover will compensate you for the damage and other losses.

If you run a home-based business, you might want to add on to your homeowners’ insurance policy, so that it covers your commercial activities as well.

Business Interruption Insurance

You don’t need to look beyond the coronavirus to see how a disaster can disrupt your business operations.

During such times, business interruption insurance is your ally. Depending on the terms of coverage, the insurer should compensate you for the losses you make during the interruption period.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Do you have more than 3 employees?

In most states, that’s the requirement for purchasing workers’ compensation insurance. When an employee gets injured on the job, you won’t worry about compensating them for their medical expenses and other losses. Your workers’ comp provider will do that.

Cybersecurity Insurance

If your business has digitized some or all of its operations, it’s imperative to buy cybersecurity insurance.

43 percent of online attacks now target small businesses like yours, which means your risk level is high. A cybersecurity insurance policy will protect your business from the effects of an attack, including business interruption and data loss.

Other types of insurance you might need include product liability insurance and commercial vehicle insurance.

Find the Best Insurance Provider

You’ve probably heard horror stories of insurance companies that refuse to settle claims. If you don’t do your homework when looking for an insurance provider, you might end up telling such stories.

You want to work with a legitimate, reputable insurance company.

Read up online reviews about a specific insurance carrier before giving them your money. What are past and current clients saying about their service quality? Do they take forever to settle valid claims?

Also, you want to work with an insurance company that provides most, if not all, of the insurance policies your business needs. This way, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate for discounts when renewing your policies.

Consider Self-Insurance

Large corporations don’t typically purchase insurance from other companies. They self-insure, simply because they can afford to cover their risks from their deep wallets.

Self-insurance isn’t just for big companies, though. Even small businesses can develop a self-insurance plan, as long as you know how to go about it.

One effective way is to set up a captive insurance company. This is just like any other insurance firm, only that it is wholly owned by your parent business. You have complete control over its operations.

Get Your Business Insured the Right Way

Getting your business insured adequately can be a costly task, especially if you’re a small business running on a tight budget. However, it’s the right thing to do. Even a minor disaster can bring your business to its knees when you don’t have insurance.

With this guide, you now have the information you need to insure your business the right way.

Keep reading our blog for more business tips and advice.

The Most Dangerous Things for Businesses

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | The Most Dangerous Things for Businesses | Business RiskIf you are in control of a business, no matter how large or how small it is, you likely have problems that keep you up at night. There will always be inherent risks to any business-owner, which typically runs proportionally to rewards; everybody knows that entrepreneurs take big risks by not being employees, but they do so because they anticipate a payoff. In business, you should be looking for ways to minimize inherent risk at every opportunity. Here are some of the most dangerous things for businesses.

Non-Paying Customers

The world of commerce is relatively simple: a customer buys a product by giving you money and leaves with a product in a simple exchange. Unfortunately, this is not how most business operates. Many business transactions involve large sums of money, and as a result, customers become more likely to complete a transaction over several payments instead of one lump sum.

Not everybody pays on time, however, and this isn’t an unusual encounter in the business world. However, problems arise when non-paying customers build up or when customers try to avoid paying altogether, as Donald Trump’s power asymmetry negotiation style is famous for. This can have a major impact on cash flow, which can decimate most businesses. When activist investors take over a company, one of the first things they do is call in any remaining debts to the company with the help of a good legal team.

Fires

A wise man once said that the rich should fear two things: gambling and fire. Fire has the potential to destroy any business, even one which isn’t physical — a fire in a server room can wipe out an entire online enterprise if the servers do not have backups. A glance at a list of businesses that were destroyed during a town’s fire in Tennessee in 2016 would send shivers down a small-business owner’s spine. Fires are impossible to completely prevent, but with regular fire protection inspections and, of course, good preventative measures like working carbon monoxide detectors can mitigate the risk massively.

Legal Action

A lawsuit can be an exceptionally damaging thing for a company to deal with, especially if the business is small. In America, lawsuits have become a very common part of dealing with competition, especially when a larger company is fending off a smaller competitor. In these business skirmishes, whoever is willing to spend the most money can often bankrupt their competitor, causing many small companies to pay special warning to cease and desists from larger businesses.

Legal action can also be completely justified if you have, through negligence, committed a fault that can put an employee or customer in harm’s way. This is especially dangerous for companies that do not have a good vetting process for their managerial employees, as a bad mistake from a managerial representative of a small business could cause a lawsuit that could bankrupt the business completely.

Preventative measures hence become incredibly important. They ensure that all employees and business operations adhere strictly to legal guidelines; also, health and safety procedures can be the difference between a healthy, long-lasting business and a business with good prospects that made a mistake and went bust.

5 Key Fire Safety Measures for Small Businesses

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article | 5 Key Fire Safety Measures for Small BusinessesIf you’re a fledgling business owner or are in the early stages of setting up premises for a new venture, one aspect you are likely not thinking about a lot is fire safety. Starting a new business requires a hefty amount of thought and planning, but most of that will be focused on acquiring customers, financial planning, marketing strategies, overheads, and so on.

Once you’re up and running, ensuring that the bricks and mortar of your small business are physically and financially protected from fire is essential. Below are five safety measures to implement as a small business.

Identify Fire Hazards

The importance of a fire risk assessment cannot be underestimated. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are roughly 37,000 fires on manufacturing and industrial properties every year in the US, resulting in nearly $1 billion in damages. The first place to start when conducting a risk assessment is to evaluate any fire hazards around the facility, such as electrical hazards or combustible and flammable materials. It is also a good idea to review all areas of the office and consider how fires may start because of surrounding materials.

Identify People at Risk

Once you’ve identified potentially hazardous areas or materials, you will also need to evaluate any people who are more at risk during a fire. For example, do you employ anyone who may be visually or physically impaired? Or do you have people whose roles put them at additional risk to fire than others? Identifying these people means you’re able to put secure plans in place should a fire strike.

Invest in Fire Protection Services and Products

It goes without saying that installing the necessary fire protection products around the office is a necessity. Items such as fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, alarms, emergency lighting, and the like will all need to be evaluated and installed. If you are unsure about how to go about this, try consulting experts at a fire protection services company like APFE.

Plan and Practice a Fire Exit Strategy

Every business or office should have a sound fire exit strategy and this should be practiced regularly. All employees need to be aware of the main exit points and what is expected in the event of an alarm. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require all companies to have evacuation maps and visual communication so that staff can quickly refer to guidance if needed. Facilities are also required to have two exit points and paths that are clearly identified.

Train Staff in Fire Awareness and Safety

Creating a fire safety plan for your business is not enough. You will need to train your employees so that they clearly understand the risks of a fire, how they can prevent fires, and what they need to do during an emergency. As fire safety training is a legal requirement, there are various fire safety eLearning modules that your staff can complete online at any time.

The risk of fires is a very real and serious matter to consider when setting up and running a business. To ensure that you and your staff are safe, refer to the above tips and take the necessary precautions. Otherwise, the danger to life and financial consequences for your business could be huge.