Why you need security cameras for your business

Some business owners might feel reluctant to install security cameras for the first time. It’s easy to understand why – most people don’t want to feel like the ‘big brother’ of Orwellian lore, even if it’s to protect their own business.

Having security cameras in your workplace will mean your employees end up feeling like they’re being spied on, but it’s a necessity to get that extra layer of protection that few other forms of security can give.

What security cameras can do for you

The full range of benefits of having a security system installed often becomes apparent only as time progresses. Security cameras won’t just help you mitigate losses and find out the culprit behind any theft or breach of service – they also act as a powerful deterrent to boot.

When people – even your own employees – see security cameras, they will be inclined to ‘follow the rules’ in order to avoid getting their questionable behavior recorded. While some might consider this a violation of rights, see it as the opposite – it’s in your every right as a business owner to keep tabs on the workplace.

Say you’re running a carpet cleaning business, especially one where you’re not always present. For starters, security cameras will keep an eye on any and all items in the office and/or workplace – the carpets themselves, machinery, cleaning tools and so forth. If your security camera is up for everyone to see (as it should be), visitors will be less inclined to indulge in socially unacceptable behavior, even if they end up dissatisfied.

But there’s more: a security camera also lets you keep track of your employees. For these purposes, a concealed type actually works much better than one that’s visible – unlike with visitors and passersby, you want the bad apples in your employ to show their true faces so that you can weed them out efficiently. Security cameras can be used to reward workers just as easily as to punish them – they’ll let you know who’s doing the real work (again, a concealed camera works much better here).

Types of security cameras

Business security systems are quite varied, ranging from a single device monitoring anyone passing by your business(or sticking around its entrance for too long) all the way to a complete system that leaves no corner unmonitored.

Security cameras can be regular-quality or high definition, can be resistant to weather, include audio, have night vision, be shielded from impact and so on. You’ll have to assess your needs and the total value of your business to know the kind of system best-suited for you. Here are 2 solid examples:

FLIR DND13TL2 HD IR: What’s not to like about the FLIR? It’s vandalism-resistant, functional in every type of weather and delivers 1080p footage over Ethernet – forget outdated forms of storage and delivery. $300 for a single piece makes this cam ideal for high-risk areas, as you probably won’t be able to afford more than a couple.

Vivotek FE8173: The FE8173 features something called a fisheye lens, which allows for monitoring of a greater area in spite of the camera’s inconspicuous size and shape. The footage can also be stored on a MicroSD card to provide backup in case of a compromised Ethernet/Wi-Fi range, although the $720 price tag can be quite prohibitive.

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Business electronic security cards for office access

Business owners worth their salt are always on the lookout for new and improved methods of security. You might have gotten a system of security cameras and protected the workplace computers from intrusion and data loss, but what’s next? The answer might seem painfully obvious: your system of locks.

There’s a certain quaintness to the old lock-n-key, but it’s getting outdated fast even on people’s homes, to speak nothing of businesses. Even the more advanced mechanical locks can be broken or otherwise manipulated for entry, let alone their garden variety counterparts. So what’s a good alternative? If you have the funds, electronic locks are definitely your best pick.

Benefits of electronic security locks

Of course, we’ve all watched movies where the hi-tech thieves pull out a fancy gizmo and hack into the security lock, opening it in no time. We won’t say this isn’t doable, but these kind of thieves are more concerned with robbing Fort Knox or similar institutions than they are your small business. For the type of security breaches most businesses deal with, electronic security locks offer unparalleled security and ease of use.

To provide nearly perfect protection, electronic locks are often accessed by a combination of a card and passcode. To make the workplace more accessible, business owners will sometimes opt for one or the other, although the standalone effectiveness is limited – part of what makes keys and locks so obsolete is that a key can be stolen or lost and found by someone with dishonest motives. Your fancy electric lock might end up being no more effective than a rusty old key-lock if someone can just pilfer the card and zap it through.

What to protect and how to do it

As already mentioned, you’ll want a combination of passcode and card for the most delicate areas in your workplace since these rarely require constant access. Examples might include the warehouse, any type of storage room, the file cabinets, your office and so forth. Ask yourself a simple question: is the room being accessed frequently? If not, there’s no reason not to slam a complete electronic lock on it.

Rooms with lots of traffic can get a bit trickier, though. For doors separating hallways and so forth, you’ll have no choice but to use a swipe-only lock to avoid a reduction in workplace productivity. Nothing wrong with that, though – consider that these doors would otherwise have no protection whatsoever, as the majority of employees couldn’t bother to lock them every time they pass through (not to mention that this would take more time). With a swipe-based lock, the door will be on constant lockdown but can still open in mere seconds for those with the right security clearance (makes your business sound high-profile, doesn’t it?).

Installing an electric lock system isn’t the cheapest venture, especially if the office is large and has multiple doors in need of a lock. The investment will pay off, however, especially when you take into account the option of having different levels of clearance for different workers, which is something many businesses desperately need. Still, this type of security doesn’t have to be all that expensive. Some cheap examples are:

  • Electric door kit that allows both proximity card and password-based protection for $116 per door, or
  • Password-based lock with several different levels of access for $50.
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Using RFID Tags to track your inventory

So, what’s the deal with RFID tags? Well, have you seen the Bond movies and such where an agent gets ‘tagged’ with a chip so that his overseers can track him around? That’s essentially what RFID tags are, without the Hollywood flair – hi-tech ways of tracking your inventory and reducing the chance of foul play. Barcodes are great for groceries, but for anything else, you might want to consider the effectiveness and options that RFID tagging provides.

How RFID tags work

Imagine the standard way of checking your business inventory: examining each item individually against a list and maybe even swiping them with a barcode checker. It sort of screams “time-consuming”, doesn’t it? A warehouse can have hundreds or even thousands of items, and every inventory check usually means a serious halt in the day-to-day operations.

RFID tags on your inventory make this process easy and quick and therefore help minimize the chances of lost or stolen property. In the absence of RFID tags, your inventory checks would take so long that you’d probably do one per month at best. Using an RFID scanner lets you check your workplace multiple times per week (or even daily) without any losses in productivity.

Running a rain gutter company requires you to have quite a bit of tools as well as materials on-hand and ready at all times. The larger the company, the more difficult it is to keep track of each of these instruments and materials. Not with RFID, though – a single scan of an area will quickly reveal if everything is in stock or if something went conspicuously missing.

There are several different types of RFID tags that facilitate different levels of mass-checking. In general, though, you can expect your RFID scanner to catch everything from 20 feet up to a hundred meters, regardless of the amount of tags.

What RFID tags can help you with

Running RFID checks often is one of the best ways of securing yourself against theft from employees or anyone else coming in contact with your items. We get it – having lots of equipment and work materials makes keeping tabs on them a nightmare. Even with security cameras, finding out who stole what can be extremely difficult because you have no way of knowing when the theft occurred.

Say an item gets stolen on the first day of an individual month while your scheduled check is on its last day. That’s 30 or so days of security footage you’d have to sift through in hopes of finding the culprit – definitely not anyone’s idea of a good time.

With RFID tags on every piece of your inventory, you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact time when a theft or misplacement occurred – in most cases, a few days are the most you can expect to be off. From here, you can easily check your workers’ shifts and the visitor log and find out exactly what happened.

This is also why the cost of getting RFID tags and a decent scanner pays off – it might act as an unwanted expense at first but will justify itself as soon as an item goes missing.

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Securing your business computer with antivirus software

We all know that protecting your personal computer from viruses and spyware is a necessity – you don’t want anyone spying on your online activity or getting their hands on sensitive data. But what about business computers? Truth be told, they’re actually under greater risk than personal ones.

Sure, a personal computer might be exposed to risks from more sources, but a business computer and its owner stand to lose that much more in the case of a security breach. Depending on the intruder and type of malware, your business computer becoming compromised might not mean much or could end up causing you to lose tens of thousands of dollars.

Why it’s so important to protect business computers

Computers and networks becoming widespread and more accessible has made running a business easier, but it’s also provided another security risk, and a high one at that.

For starters, you could lose everything stored on your business computer if a malware makes you reformat it – catalogues, schedules, product launch plans and so much more. If this data isn’t backed up(and it so often isn’t in the case of smaller businesses), you stand to lose a lot of money and time getting your business in order again. In some cases, the losses might not even be recoverable and could cause serious hardships.

Another type of threat comes from someone spying on your business computer’s activity just as they would in the case of a personal computer. Without you even knowing, someone could be privy to in-depth details regarding your business and how you run it. Perhaps worse, they could get a hold of your financial transactions and possibly even your credit card info and such. Depending on the banking security you use, they could end up having more-or-less direct access to your account.

Antivirus Software options to protect

Clearly, any of the above scenarios would make for a bad day at the office. But what can you do, especially if you aren’t tech-savvy? For starters, you’ll need a good suite of antivirus (and anti-spyware) software.

If you choose right, your protection software will do much of the job for you and minimize computer-related threats for your business. With working antivirus software, you’ll find that most of the security threats will come from your employees and (potentially) clients rather than anyone else. Here are 3 great examples of antivirus software that every business owner should consider.

Norton Security Suite: Perhaps the best-known antivirus software out there, many other forms of protection use Norton’s advanced library of malware to identify threats. It comes with everything necessary for good protection, from a strong firewall to an extensive antivirus check, although you’ll have to keep paying for updates on a semi-regular basis.

AVG: If you’re not all that willing to cash out for antivirus software, AVG might be the best free alternative on the market. Its searches are fairly extensive and its firewall is decent even in the freeware version, plus there’s a premium upgrade if you’d like more security.

Spybot: Not quite antivirus software, Spybot Search & Destroy deals with another type of security threat that is no less malicious: spyware. It’s free and offers an extremely detailed search that is best used in conjuction with antivirus software.

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Security Blog launch

We are launching our business security blog soon…

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