Lee Jasper, Head of Product Solutions at ADT gives advice on how to enhance the protection of your business premises
When running a company, daily operations is often the main element that keeps you busy to ensure its success. Often, you will have put some security measures in place to keep the physical element of your premises protected, but is it really enough to ensure your business is safe?
Theft and burglaries are more than just an inconvenience; they can impact liabilities, insurance and even your business’ stakeholders depending on the extent of the damage. They often occur at the what may seem to be the ‘worst’ times, and the residual impact can by far supersede finances; the emotional effect is often longer lasting.
As the country continues to face unprecedented times, it has been recently reported that thieves have been targeting businesses in town centres. Areas including Manchester, Liverpool and Middlesbrough have been affected the most, experiencing a surge of break- ins of closed premises, particularly pubs and shops.
Security may be just another thing to tackle on your extensive to-do list, but now it’s more important than ever to make the safety of your business a top priority. So, what can you do to ensure that you’re protected?
Taking security one step further – security fogging
For many intruders, bypassing the security of a building will just be target practice and an opportunistic attempt to see what they can find – often without any real plan or knowledge of the building’s precautionary measures. With this in mind, it can be worth pre-empting any unwanted entries with a more sophisticated process: fogging.
A fogging system is a fast-acting deterrent for intruders. When activated, a thermally generated white smoke-like substance instantly delivers a dense, impenetrable fog that covers the surface area where valuable stock, equipment and other contents are kept, obscuring them from sight, and thus protecting them from the possibility of theft or damage until the authorities arrive.
The fog is harmless, leaves no residue, and is safe to use in any environment; it provides 24/7 protection at the building’s access points such as windows, and front and rear doors. An average sized retail shop, office or showroom of 140 cubic metres takes just 5 seconds to fill with a curtain of fog – and every moment counts when foiling a burglary.
Fogging system provider, Bandit UK works with us at ADT Fire & Security to enhance security measures, providing additional safeguarding for business properties. Putting this in place can mean that considerable cost, time and effort can be saved in the event of an attempted break-in, while disruption to business is reduced to a minimum and normal trading can be quickly resumed.
Other ways to protect your business
For small business owners, the financial burden of enhancing your security may seem unfeasible at the moment. It’s always best to assess exactly what your needs are to make an informed decision, so here are some other useful steps you can adopt, whether you are open or temporarily closed for business.
- Do you have the right locks?
There should be a robust locking system in place, with a minimum of two locking points on external doors that meet British Standards. While you’re not physically on the premises, all internal doors (including fire doors) should be closed.
Ensure that you have recorded each member of staff that has keys and therefore access to the building; this should be kept to a minimum for monitoring purposes. Perhaps it’s been several years since the locks were changed, and personnel have changed or sets of keys have gone missing. A locksmith can quickly and cost effectively change your locks if necessary.
- Window glazing
It may be a good idea to consider additional glazing on your windows. Installing laminated glass provides an extra layer so that windows cannot be easily tampered with or broken. Boarding of windows is another option and will completely prohibit outsiders from having a direct view into the building – this could be a cost-effective measure if you are temporarily closed.
- Review your monitored intruder alarm system
So, you already have CCTV installed on your premises. From a maintenance point of view, how long has it been since you tested your system? Although you can review simple things like whether the lens is still picking up clear visuals, it may be best to ask an engineer from your security provider for advice on how to service your technology.
It may be some years since you first installed the system, so it is worth checking if there have been any app developments, as this is a fantastic way to monitor your premises without being there. Also be sure to check you have adequate storage so that you are able to browse through previous footage if needed. Some companies use a cloud-based service; do you know what yours uses?
- Don’t forget fire hazards
Electrical items can also be the biggest culprit of fires. In the first instance, the mains integrity should be checked, gas and electricity lines (for frayed or faulty wires), as well as plumbing. All electrical appliances should be repaired or installed by a certified firm to reduce risk of electrical fires, and it’s advised that a routine PAT test should be implemented every twelve months.
It is a legal requirement for UK businesses to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment(FRA) – this identifies a host of fire related pitfalls, such as fire hazards, the people at risk if fire strikes, emergency exit plans and even covers staff training. Ensure you have this document regularly updated (and in an easily accessible place) to ensure that all bases are covered.
Your staff should also be aware of these processes; who is the designated warden? Where is your neutral meeting place outside of the building, should an incident occur? What happens next? Future-proofing will also help to prepare the business in case an incident take place so that you can recover as quickly as possible.
- External lighting on rural areas
If your building is on a poorly lit road, it’s a good idea to invest in external lighting. You won’t need planning permission for this but use your best judgement to decide on the area you want to light up, and what gradient you’d like to use. It is best to have a system installed that automatically switches on when visibility is reduced.
This also goes beyond just security; entrances and exits, ramps, pavements, and car parks should be well lit for additional safety for staff and visitors.
- Property maintenance
Your business may be operating at a reduced level or potentially even closed in line with the government’s lockdown recommendations. It may still be important to have a senior member of staff visit the site at regular intervals to ensure that everything is in order.
Depending on your business type, you’ll be able to ascertain how regular this needs to be – for instance, a leisure centre needs to be monitored due to areas such as the swimming pool and regulation of its chemicals. You may be able to make a call on this but seek advice from your local council if you need further advice about how to safely do this.
There’s never an ideal time to review your security, but it’s important to do it regularly to help pre-empt any potential opportunistic burglars and give yourself peace of mind.
Visit ADT Smart Business to find out more about how you can protect your premises.