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Online and Offline Small Business Security on a Budget
by Jessica Thiefels
May 9, 2022
Technician installing CCTV camera on wall indoors

Protecting the office, vulnerable technology, and documents, along with you and your employees, may not be at the front of your mind—yet office security should be among the top items on your to-do list. The good news for business owners is that upgrading your office security doesn’t require a lot of time or money.

With some minor tweaks and improvements, you can protect your digital data online and keep your materials and employees safe offline.

Offline Security

Your office is home to important contracts, expensive technology, and irreplaceable documents. Keep them safe with these simple security upgrades.

Setup a Wireless Security System

Benefit: Remote security access

Wireless security systems are inexpensive, easy to install, and versatile because you can select only the components you need for your individual office space. Most security systems come with a receiver, and you can add components like motion sensors, door alarms, and smart locks to sync with your receiver.

Most wireless security systems also sync with your smartphone, so you can receive real-time alerts no matter where you are. Security systems add an additional line of defense against burglary, vandalism, and unwanted intruders and allow you to keep an eye on the office when you’re not there.

Install a Security Camera

Benefit: Video proof of burglary, harassment, vandalism, and more

Security cameras allow you to capture the proof you need to prosecute if anything goes missing or is damaged in your office, or if an employee has been a victim of harassment. Simply having cameras hung around the office will deter burglars; so if you only have a limited budget for office security, install a fake camera instead. Dummy cameras look just like the real thing and cost much less. Put your fake camera in a conspicuous location (inside and outside the office), scaring potential intruders away.

Buy a Fireproof Safe

Benefit: Safety for hard copies of critical business documents

Break-ins aren’t the only potential threat for an office. An unexpected hazard, like a fire, can cause devastating damage to your office and your important documents. While you should always keep sensitive or confidential information in a safe, go a step further and buy a fireproof safe to keep these documents secure in case of an emergency.

“A safe with a fire rating means that it will maintain an inside temperature that does not exceed a certain level for a particular amount of time,” according to experts at The Home Security Superstore. “Adding fire protection to a safe increases the cost slightly and a fire safe is approximately double the weight of a regular safe. However, if your home or office burns down destroying everything you own, yet everything inside your fire safe is unharmed, it is well worth the investment.”

You’ll likely only need a small amount of safes for top-level management, making it a small investment to provide significant peace of mind.

Distribute Locks and Use Locking Desks

Benefit: Personal and private items stay safe

While we would all like to think our possessions are safe at work, we can’t ensure that nothing will ever go missing. Provide your employees with locking cabinets and desk drawers to keep their personal items safe, and use others to lock inventory cabinets, document cabinets, etc.

If you provide employees with laptops, include a laptop lock as well. Your employees may not want to lug them back and forth between home and work, and this ensures it stays safe in the case of a burglary.

Online Security

In today’s digital world, online security is just as important as offline security. Use these tips to make sure your office is under lock and key, safe from hackers and viruses.

Assess Your Network

Benefit: Know where your greatest vulnerabilities lie and protect them first

Now that you’ve taken steps to increase offline safety, it’s time to consider your current digital security situation. Unless you’re an IT or cyber security expert, start by hiring someone to assess your current network. This is one area where you don’t want to cut corners or pinch pennies; a secure network is vital to prevent cyber security threats or stolen data. A professional can tell you where the vulnerabilities are what upgrades to prioritize in terms of securing important company assets.

Create Strong Passwords

Benefit: Keep online portals, content, and data as secure as offline documents

Once you have your network in place, make sure you create strong passwords for anything that requires a login and create a different password for each account or application. Use an extension/app like LastPass to keep all of your passwords in one secure place.

When creating passwords, cybersecurity experts from Phoenix Lockmaster recommend:

  • The less pronounceable your password is, the better it is.
  • Go crazy with numbers and special characters when allowed
  • Each password should be longer than 10 characters

Remind employees of these basic guidelines, and send around the following links, which will help them maintain this security:

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Benefit: Extra layer of security

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) takes your online security a step further. When you enable 2FA on your accounts, you need an additional piece of information other than your username and password to log in. This could be a code you receive via text message or an image you specify that must be identified each time you log in; even with a username and password, criminals will need to get through this extra layer of security.

Use this guide from LogDog to see how you can add two-factor authentication on Gmail, DropBox, and more.

Secure Your Business—Online and Offline

Invest in online and offline security for your business. Small changes, like updating passwords or hanging fake security cameras, can make a big difference in scaring off burglars and protecting your online space. Add these items to your to-do list, or enlist someone else to tackle them for you—when it’s done, you’ll have greater peace of mind, allowing you to focus on running the business.

About the author
Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels is the author of 10 Questions That Answer Life’s Biggest Questions, podcast host of Mindset Reset Radio and founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency. She's been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications including Forbes and Entrepreneur.
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