Security Tips for the Holidays
The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and festivities. But for small businesses, the holiday season can also be a time of heightened risk. With increased shopping and activity, the need for physical security is even more important. In order to ensure the safety of both employees and customers, it is necessary to take a few simple steps to protect your business and assets. From installing a security system to ensuring proper lighting and security protocols, these physical security tips will help small businesses stay safe and secure during the holiday season.
1) Ensure Proper Lighting
Good lighting can be used as a security measure, but it can also be a great theft deterrent. Thieves are less likely to attempt a break-in when there is a significant amount of visible lighting on the property. Having sufficient lighting not only helps you see what is going on inside your business but also allows others to see what is happening. This helps keep your business safe and secure and promotes a sense of safety and comfort in your customers. Proper lighting also makes it easier for employees to see what they are doing and reduces the risk of injury. This is particularly important during the holiday season when your business will likely be open longer hours and have more customers present. Appropriately placed lights that are bright enough to illuminate the inside of your business will help deter unwanted activity and will help you and your customers feel safe and secure while they are inside your building. It is important to regularly check and make sure the lights are working correctly and are at the appropriate brightness.
2) Review your company security policy with all your employees
Another important aspect of physical security is training your employees on the proper protocols and procedures to follow. Make sure your employees know what is expected of them when they are at work. This includes knowing where and how to store money and items of value, being aware of what to do in case of an emergency, and following proper protocols when interacting with customers. Having a system in place for regularly reviewing, testing, and training your employees will help ensure that all of your employees are following the right protocols and procedures.
3) Test Your Security Equipment
If your company will be shut down for an extended time span and your operating hours will be different over the festive period, you should test your fire alarms, security cams, access control system, etc. to make sure they are functioning and reporting accurately. By carrying out this activity at the beginning of the holidays, you can have enough time to make any required repairs or modifications, so you can be confident that your business is secure. Additionally, make sure your monitoring service provider is familiar with your holiday hours and has an up-to-date call list in case any alarms go off while you are away.
4) Don’t post your holiday hours
Instead of displaying the times your business will be open over the holidays on the doors or windows, put up a notice that reads, “Get in touch to find out our holiday hours.” Additionally, set up an automated email reply which invites people to reach out to get information on holiday hours and assign one or more of your security personnel to respond to any such inquiries.
5) Make sure your facility is properly locked
It is standard practice to make sure the doors are locked when leaving, but if you will be away for an extended period, we suggest that you go around to each exterior entryway to confirm they are locked and secured before departing. If you have an access control system, be sure that any schedules set to automatically open doors on specific days and times are overridden during your absence, so the building is not unlocked and unattended during the holidays.
6) Ensure decorations don’t obstruct security systems
When putting up holiday decorations for your business, bear in mind the location in order to not impede the security systems. Ensure that they don't get in the way of your surveillance systems. For instance, outdoor decorations should not cover the security cameras, and indoor ones should not disrupt the field of view of motion detectors, as this could cause false alarms. In addition, large outdoor decorations should not be placed in a way that gives intruders a place to hide.
7) Conduct background checks on seasonal employees
When employing any staff members to help during the holidays, it is strongly recommended to take extra steps to ensure the safety of your business. Do a complete background check on all seasonal employees to make sure they are trustworthy. Provide them with enough instruction to do their job correctly but avoid giving them any sensitive information that could be used to steal from you. If those workers need access codes to enter certain areas, make sure you follow the correct protocol for managing these codes and deactivate them as soon as the employee is no longer employed.
8) Check more than the holiday lights
Make sure that your company’s indoor and outdoor areas are well-lit, especially when you will be away for a long time. This will make it more difficult for criminals to conceal themselves and can also deter them from entering your business altogether. Furthermore, you could think about using timers that turn the lights in the building on and off at random, instead of following a set schedule, so it gives the appearance that people are inside even when you’re closed.
9) Unplug all unnecessary devices
Before you go away for the holidays, it is a good idea to inspect the inside of your business and unplug anything that does not need to be switched on or running when you are away. It's not unusual for workers to leave electric heaters plugged in during the winter months, but these should be unplugged after each use, particularly when no one is there to monitor them. You should also think about disconnecting gadgets like computers, printers, coffee machines, and more, so that if a sudden power outage or surge happens, you won't return after the holiday to find your electronics ruined or destroyed.
10) Ask neighboring businesses to be on the lookout
Despite your decision to shut down over the holidays, other nearby businesses may not necessarily do the same. If you have a good rapport with other operations in the area, let them know in advance that you will be closed, so they can keep watch of your property. Moreover, it would be wise to inform the local police of your holiday hours, so they can be extra vigilant in case of any suspicious behavior.