Securing your business against threats outside and inside starts with your employees. Depending on the nature of the work you do, your employees will have varying levels of access to both your facilities and your company's data. While this is integral to conducting business, it could also be one of the single most overlooked aspects of your overall security.
But it doesn't have to be. Just follow these steps to reinforce your business's integrity on-site and in cyberspace:
"A single file misplaced by an employee costs your company around $150."
Don't let employees push your buttons, unless they're pushing the right ones
If people want to open suspicious emails or download files of ill-repute off the Internet on their own time with their own devices, they are free to do so. But during business hours and on company property, owners should expect a certain level of technological decorum and forethought from their staff. After all, much more is at stake when an employee takes risks with a computer or mobile device linked to company servers. According to a 2015 IBM data breach study, a single file misplaced by an employee or stolen because of his or her negligence costs companies around $150, a 6 percent increase over 2014.
Proper time and resources must be spent training employees on how to use office equipment to ensure these sorts of mistakes don't happen. If they do, you'll know an employee's inattention to protocol was the cause. It could help you remedy the situation as best as possible. For instance, explain to your staff that while your office may have a secure network through which they can interact and access data, the Internet cafe across the street might not boast the same guarantee.
However, employers take heed: Be as specific as possible with what procedures you expect from your workers. If part of your employees' jobs is to scour the Internet for information, no amount of "best practices" seminars will stop them from accidentally clicking on a malevolent link – especially since SC Magazine reported 86 percent of all websites have at least one major security issue. Anti-malware software and other preventative measures must already be in place.
It's hard – but necessary – to say good bye
Employees sometimes quit their jobs. These are the facts of life. But whether they leave on good or bad terms means little when it comes to office security. There's a time to be sentimental and a time to be practical. Throw an outgoing employee a party with cake, a card and maybe an embarrassing speech about how much they meant to your organization. Just don't let these things get in the way of what needs to get done for the sake of your business's data integrity.
Any and all clearance credentials must be confiscated and disposed of intelligently. Sure, the chances a disgruntled ex-employee will sneak in and run amok with your servers or customer information might not seem likely, but what if this person simply threw the passkey in the garbage and it was discovered by someone else? Additionally, SafeCardID recommends changing the passwords to all cloud-enabled services or portals accessible over the Web that the employee leaving used regularly. This includes any email or social media accounts this person handled during their time at your company.
Foot traffic: An intruder's worst nightmare
Let's not get too hung up on digital security. Businesses should take physical office surveillance just as seriously. While cameras and keypad locks are sound investments, make sure the layout of your office doesn't give a trespasser the tools he or she needs to steal equipment or files from right under your nose.
Take account of every single entrance into your office. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Procurement and Property Management suggests posting a member of your administrative staff at desks adjacent to these points at all times. These people are not only concierge to arriving guests, but will be your first line of defense against intruders or anyone just walking in off the street. Moreover, if you restructured your floor plan to encourage other employees to routinely travel past these entrances, undesirables will be less likely to think they can get away with sneaking in unnoticed.
Security equipment and surveillance industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, a nationwide provider of commercial lending solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Marlin's equipment financing and loan products are offered directly to businesses, and through third party vendor programs, which include manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.