How liable are business owners when it comes to protecting their business from security risks?
Whether they are big or small organisations, owners are oblivious to their responsibilities of implementing preventative measures and countering potential damage to their assets and employees.
In extreme cases this can even mean jail sentences for directors.
Here are some tips on how to protect the business and its employees:
1. Be aware of technological changes
Many businesses assume a company is secure because they installed a security system 5, 10 or 15 years ago but technology changes. For example, alarm systems that were put in and monitored through a phone line stop working once the NBN is installed.
The problem here is that a lot of companies, especially smaller ones, would have no idea of NBN’s impact on their alarm systems. Some alarm companies won’t take the initiative to alert their customers to these changes as NBN hits their area, therefore businesses may unwittingly end up with an inactive security system.
The introduction of the NBN will also affect the emergency phone in thousands of lifts and elevators. The phone will stop working as there is no copper phone line and it cannot work reliably over NBN. Imagine the damage to a business if a customer or employee is trapped and has no way of contacting others to alert them to their situation.
2. Prepare for tomorrow
It is always saddening when people approach me after they’ve suffered a business loss or lost a massive claim because they didn’t have effective systems in place. For example CCTV that could have led to prosecution or disproved a spurious claim that ends up being costly.
Many companies ask us to solve yesterday’s problems rather than prevent tomorrow’s. This is the wrong strategy and usually a far more expensive lesson than the initial cost to prevent it. It’s important business owners recognise that implementing a successful security strategy doesn’t happen overnight.
Businesses need to begin thinking about it now because even though it might be a few years between incidents it may take that long to embed a system and a culture that works.
3. Assess potential risks on a continuous basis
It is important for businesses to not only assess their risk at the beginning but to keep doing so on a continuous basis as their company and its environment evolves. Business owners may overlook safety precautions to save cash or because they’re too busy however the costs of damages if a client or employee is involved in a slip, trip and fall or criminal incident could be thousands of dollars just in legal bills, before actual damages or insurance denials.
There is also an increase in flexible roles where people tend to work from home. Whether an employee is physically in the office or not, the business owner may still be responsible for their safety. Assess potential risks and organise solutions and implement them – it is worth being prepared.
4. Install safety tools for safety of employees
Due to changes in working hours, some employees might be leaving the office at increasingly late hours or simply leaving the premises after dark into an isolated area. Employers need to know whether there is safe transport between work and the employees’ car or home.
There have been many cases of Australians attacked on their way home from work and employers don’t realise the company can sometimes be liable. The employer needs to ensure workers are safe, and supply them with mobile safety tools such as Fearless.
Fearless is a high-tech personal security app to keep individuals safe. Once triggered, a security monitoring centre is alerted with a geographical location and audio and video evidence of the situation, allowing live operators to initiate a suitable response. This will provide extra security for employees who can also use it on the weekends.
5. Update current alarm and CCTV systems
When purchasing alarm systems, it is important not to compromise quality for price. Avoid cheap cameras sold in retailers. We have seen convenience stores and businesses at risk by installing these ineffective systems. It may be a low upfront cost but it is much more expensive in the long run when it doesn’t deliver the one time you rely on it.
Make sure to have a professionally monitored alarm system and high-quality CCTV with long term retention of footage. CCTV systems help keep an eye on employees as well as protecting them from threats. They can also make your business more efficient. Make sure to place cameras where assets are, where hazards are and where members of the public are.
Daniel Lewkovitz is a security expert and CEO of Australia’s highest rated security monitoring centre Calamity.