Running a small business requires you to deal with a constant barrage of details. Some of these details are mundane administrative tasks that don’t have a huge impact on your business, but other details are far more central to your business’s successful operation.

One of these critical details is workplace security. Whether your small business operates out of an office or a retail space, you need to be aware of potential security issues and put effective solutions in place to address them.

Thankfully, there are a number of relatively simple actions you can take to improve the security of your workplace, no matter how modest your business is. Here are the top three workplace security options you should consider for your small business.

1. Indoor/Outdoor Security Cameras

Security cameras are no longer high-end items only found in casinos and jewelry stores. There are several relatively affordable security cameras you can use to monitor your workplace.

Security cameras come in outdoor and indoor models, and typically use Wi-Fi so they can be installed without a lot of wiring work. Here are some of the features you can get with indoor and outdoor security cameras:

Camera Movement: the camera’s ability to tilt up and down and/or pan left and right gives it a wider field of view.

Night Vision: this feature lets a camera shoot clear images in very low-light conditions.

Two-way Sound: the camera comes equipped with both a speaker and a microphone so it can capture sounds, and be used to verbally communicate or confront someone.

Motion Detection: the camera can sense motion in its field of view, and can send you a notification when it does so.

When shopping for security cameras, be sure to check the image resolution of the camera: 720p produces decent image/video quality, while 1080p is better when trying to identify faces from captured video.

Finally, there is one type of security camera you should consider getting if your business uses a delivery truck or some other commercial vehicle: a dashboard cam. Dash cams come in two varieties depending on their purpose:

Exterior View: provides the driver’s perspective view out the front window.

Cabin View: records the interior of the vehicle, including the driver and any passengers.

Using a dash cam in your commercial vehicle can provide crucial video evidence in the event you or one of your employees is involved in a collision or other type of traffic-related incident.

2. Silent Alarm Buttons

A silent alarm button, also known as a panic button, is a device that sends a silent emergency message when it’s triggered. Silent alarm buttons are most commonly installed on the underside of a counter or as a concealed foot rail near an employee’s workstation. The silent alarm can also be configured as an icon on a computer desktop, which sends an emergency message when double-clicked.

Who receives the emergency signal depends on the desired service tied to the silent alarm. Here are some of the usual options:

Internal coworkers: this is primarily used in the event of a medical emergency; the alarm signal is sent to every phone or workstation on the network, telling coworkers where the alarm was triggered so they can provide assistance.

Internal security staff: this may be a dedicated security officer in your employ, or security personnel employed by the property manager of the building your workplace is based in.

External alarm monitoring company: this is similar to a home alarm system, where the alarm monitoring company notifies the police when the alarm is triggered.

The location of a silent alarm button is crucial to its successful use in an emergency. In a retail business, a panic button is always installed at the checkout counter where an employee is usually stationed. In an office environment, a silent alarm is typically installed at the receptionist’s desk as they are likely the first to respond to a threat.

Teaching someone how to use a panic button is easy. Having them know when to use a panic button is vitally important—which brings us to our third top security option.

3. Employee Training

Too few small businesses provide an appropriate level of security-based training for new employees, or arrange for regularly scheduled refresher training for existing staff. While workers typically receive some level of health and safety training (i.e. what to do in case of a fire), they are often left to their own devices when it comes to physical security.

Physical security awareness is the ability to identify and deal with potentially dangerous workplace situations in the safest possible manner. Security incidents are usually the exception and not the norm in the workplace, but that doesn’t make these occasions any less serious.

These are some of the questions related to physical security awareness in the workplace:

  • How do you deal with a stranger found in an unauthorized area of your office building?
  • What do you say or do if a coworker makes a violent threat against another coworker?
  • How should you respond to a gunshot from somewhere inside your building?
  • How far should a heated confrontation with a customer escalate before it’s appropriate to use the silent alarm?
  • What action should you take if you hear angry shouting behind a closed office door?

Your new employees should be taught the answers to these and other relevant questions as part of their onboarding process once they have signed an Employment Contract. And, you should reinforce their security knowledge through periodic refresher training.

Small Businesses Deserve High Security

Whether your small business operates in a mini mall, an office building, or a warehouse in a business park, you can take steps to raise the level of security in the workplace. It only takes a small investment to provide protection for your employees and your onsite assets, which makes workplace security an investment that’s definitely worth it in the long run.

Posted by Aaron Axline

Aaron Axline is an author, technology journalist, blogger, and knowledge management expert.