The holidays are a fun, exciting and stressful time. Trying to find the perfect gift for that special someone, celebrating the season with family and friends, and taking a well-deserved vacation are some of the activities that can reduce one’s commitment to security. Unfortunately, criminals know this as well and are waiting for us to lower our guard before striking. In previous times, businesses had to ensure security against theft and shoplifting. In today’s technologically advanced times, in addition to property crime, digital threats like identity theft are a growing issue for many businesses.
This article will discuss three areas (building security, seasonal employees, and computer systems) that criminals like to exploit during the holiday season and provide solutions for ensuring that your business remains secure during the holidays.
Many businesses maintain different hours during the holiday season and could close up shop for as long as two weeks. This provides thieves ample opportunities to commit robberies. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to make your office less welcoming. The simplest way to discourage theft is to not let on that there’s nothing worth stealing in your building. To do that, make sure that all electronics, high value office equipment and expensive merchandise are not visible from the street when the office is closed.
Letting neighboring businesses know your holiday schedule can also be a good way to prevent break-ins. If you have a good relationship with a nearby business, agreeing to keep an eye on each other’s locations during down-times can help prevent robberies from going undetected for an extended period of time. If you aren’t able to work out such an arrangement, it’s important to have someone occasionally stopping by to make sure that all is quiet.
If your office sets up a holiday display, make sure that these displays don’t block or obscure security cameras, motion sensors or other security measures. Should your building have a break-in this information can be essential in tracking down the culprit. It would be unfortunate for a criminal’s face to be blocked by a 6-foot tall candy cane. This could be the difference between a conviction and the perpetrator getting away.
Many businesses hire temporary employees to help deal with pre-holiday crowds. Criminals are aware of this and will often attempt to get people placed in a business in order to gain inside information about a building’s layout and security systems. The hiring process for seasonal employees should be treated with the same care as any other hiring process and the security measures taken also apply to regular employees. To ensure that you are only hiring qualified, responsible people, it’s important to perform full background checks as you would with any employee. This includes checking references and, in many cases, drug testing.
If seasonal employees are being hired for a specific role (as a warehouse worker, for example) they should only be granted access to the areas of a facility necessary for them to complete their work tasks. This can be accomplished by providing access control cards. In addition, workers shouldn’t be provided with passwords or other information that gives them access to confidential or proprietary information unless that information is necessary for them to perform their duties.
Although 99.9% of employees are honest, upstanding people, one bad apple can cause significant damage. Here are a few additional steps you can take to prevent problems from occurring:
Keep current records of all office equipment
- Document the keys that are issued to employees and change locks/combinations occasionally to prevent them from being used inappropriately
- Make regular bank deposits. This should be done at irregular times throughout the day and different routes should be taken from the office to the bank
- Don’t allow employees to work alone
Securing Computer Systems
The holiday season is a busy time for most businesses. This increase in business often results in an influx of information (both customer and proprietary business information) being entered into an organization’s computer system. Computer systems with inadequate security protocols provide an opportunity for cyber criminals to ply their trade. To protect your customers and maintain your company’s reputation, it’s critical to ensure that any information you take in is being entered into a secure environment. This means that any computers used to store this information need passwords and other encryption measures.
In addition to securing computer systems with passwords, employee access to computer systems should be restricted to the information they need to perform their duties. As well, Information like customer credit card documents should never be printed or exist in paper form. To protect your computer system from “hacking”, employee behavior guidelines should discourage:
- Sharing computer passwords with co-workers or family members
- Sending files only over secure networks
- Using unsecured or unknown Wi-Fi networks when using company equipment
- Sharing of mobile devices
- Using file sharing software intended for personal uses for business purposes.
ID Superstore would like to wish its customers a happy, safe, and secure holiday season! For assistance enhancing your company’s security procedures and infrastructure, call or email us now.
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