You arrive at your office, and there is a space where your computer once stood.
You look in cupboards and behind doors in a desperate search for a machine that was the heart of your business.
Slowly you start to accept your computer has been stolen, along with all your software, passwords and customer data.
You wish you had got around to that data backup plan and you wonder where to start your business recovery program.
This scenario is all too real, and companies go bust as a result.
Insurance might pay for replacement computers, but you won’t get a new machine tomorrow, and there are many forms to fill and hoops to jump through before your stolen computers are replaced.
Preventing theft is the only way. It will cost money, but spending a few hundred dollars on improving security could be the difference between your business surviving or going down the tubes.
Security systems cost money and long-term monitoring contracts are a drain on your income. Installation of a wired system is particularly disruptive, and it is expensive to modify a hard-wired security system to accommodate changes in working patterns and use of space.
Wireless systems are much more flexible, cost less and are easier to install. You can do the installation yourself without even touching a drill or screwdriver because components are lightweight and are held in position by sticky pads.
This Cnet review of the SimpliSafe wireless alarm is a good place to start your search for an affordable wireless alarm system. This particular system lets you set up alerts to your cell phone, as well as viewing a live camera feed, though you do still need a monitoring contract.
Simple Do-it-Yourself installation of a wire-free alarm gives you further savings and wireless also means you never need to pay an installer to repair wires if someone cuts a cable by mistake.
Theft of Equipment
The trend is for computing devices to become smaller. Smaller computers are easier to steal. A burglar no longer needs to run down the street with a computer tower system in his arms. Now he can fit it into a pocket.
You can never reduce the risk of burglary to zero, but if you increase visible security, a criminal is likely to look elsewhere.
Movement sensors, glass breakage sensors, and cameras can all be integrated into one simple system that is armed and disarmed by entering a code into an alarm panel.
The worst thing that can happen to your business is if a break-in results in the data on your computer’s hard disk being stolen. If your confidential customer data is stored in the Cloud, you are safe, as long as your password was not on the stolen computer in a file named passwords.txt, or on a sticky yellow note the side of the computer.
If you lose customer contact and billing details, it is a multi-faceted disaster. If you have lost customers’ personal or financial data, you have to notify every affected customer and will lose their trust. You also face potential legal claims for damages that could take every cent you have ever earned.
Many businesses update their websites and store access passwords on their computers. When your machine is stolen, the thieves then have access to your sites. Third-party hackers will pay for these website access codes, and your reputation takes a second hit, your Google ranking crashes and your visitors are offended by whatever the hackers do to your web pages.
You should forbid employees from storing access codes on your computers, in email or on sticky notes. Check the computer by typing the code into the search bar in the Start menu.
Any risk assessment of your office security must have two considerations:
If you work in a low-crime area, the cost of office security might seem to be wasted money because the perceived risk of theft is low. However, the consequences are immeasurable but include loss of reputation, damages claims, your business folding, and you and your employees losing your income.
A low-cost, DIYwireless alarm system such as the SimpliSafe one can provide peace of mind and reduce your risk of being a victim of crime.
Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com
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