The Better Business Security Checklist
When you own or manage a business, there’s a lot on your to-do list. Hiring, training, and supervising staff. Payroll. Inventory. Quality control. Customer service and dealing with complaints. Marketing and community outreach. But one of your top priorities should be security, especially if you operate brick-and-mortar locations. Simplify the process of securing your shop or office with this business security checklist.
The Better Business Security Checklist
Most non-residential burglaries take place at night or on the weekends. That’s when employees are less likely to be present. When no one is around to sound the alarm, turn to technology to fill that void.
☐ Update Your Safety Training and Protocols
Start with your staff. Perform routine background checks on all new hires. Make sure employees know the proper opening and closing procedures so that your building is secure when everyone goes home. Determine who should get keys and passcodes. Establish an emergency response plan, including responsibilities and meeting places. Show them the location of important items like first-aid kits, fire alarms, extinguishers, and phone lists. Encourage employees to leave the building in pairs or small groups rather than walking alone, especially at night. And make it part of your duties to test and maintain all security devices at least yearly, with records to back this up.
Your building is only as secure as your people. So make security a top priority for everyone.
☐ Install a Security Alarm
Burglars want to get in and get out without being noticed. A blaring siren of 90+ decibels makes that a lot harder by attracting a lot of (unwanted) attention. What’s more, 83% of would-be burglars check for an alarm, proving that it’s a powerful theft deterrent.
Alarms work in conjunction with entry sensors. A simple door or window sensor is tripped whenever someone opens it without also disarming the alarm system. Since 34% of burglars enter through a front door, 22% through a back door, and 23% through a ground-floor window, you want to secure all of those entry points. Make sure your alarms (and any other electronic security devices) have fully charged batteries and/or a backup power source.
Change the disarm code regularly (every 1-3 months). And make sure pertinent employees know the code! Otherwise, your team might accidentally set off the alarm when they arrive in the morning to open up shop.
☐ Upgrade Your Doors and Windows
A locked door will slow determined thieves, but it won’t necessarily stop them. They can still pick the lock or attempt to kick the door in.
You’ll want to fortify your doors with better locks, stronger materials, and a reinforced frame. You might even consider using a jammer or barricade on the inside for an extra layer of protection. Change locks and hand out new keys every few months as a precaution.
It’s also important to burglar-proof your windows. There are plenty of ways to enhance your windows. Consider using either security bars—which can admittedly be unsightly—transparent security film, or the strongest option, virtually unbreakable security glass such as Armor or Riot Glass. Don’t let yourself become a victim of smash-and-grab theft, where criminals smash a display window or case and snatch the merchandise inside.
☐ Use Motion Detectors
Alarms and upgraded entry points are good, but you need something to indicate if someone has managed to get in. Enter the motion detector.
Standalone detectors are available for $20-30, while others are built-in to security systems or cameras (more on that later). Place them in a strategic corner of a room or at choke points—areas with heavy foot traffic. Many can cover most if not all of that area.
Once armed, any motion within its range will set off yet another shrieking siren and send your intruders sprinting for safety.
☐ Light It Up
Just as a siren attracts unwanted attention via sound, a motion-activated light does the same by removing the cover of darkness. Bright lights make it nearly impossible to operate without notice, thereby increasing the risk to any potential thief. And the greater the risk, the less likely they’ll take the chance.
Basic security floodlights for your building’s exterior run about $50 per light, and installation is usually a simple DIY project. Install one over each major entryway and in any areas where someone might loiter or hide, like a parking lot.
While it’s best practice to maintain some continuous illumination inside at all times, you can also convert some interior lights to be motion-activated. This not only deters crime but also helps your bottom line by reducing energy costs.
☐ Display Decals and Signs
The mere presence of security measures is often enough to discourage thieves, so you’ll want to show that your business is protected with well-placed stickers, decals, or signs. Every provider has these available to their customers. Get them. Use them. This is a simple task that could make an enormous difference.
You may also want to put up signs for “Employees Only” areas and signs that reinforce that loitering is prohibited.
☐ Read Up On CPTED
Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is a philosophy that encourages deliberate design elements that discourage criminal behavior before it happens. Through its five pillars—natural surveillance, natural access control, territorial reinforcement, activity support, and maintenance—CPTED is a proactive approach and a powerful deterrent that you should not ignore. Find out more via The International CPTED Association.
To cover the basics of CPTED, keep your property well-maintained with clear sightlines (nowhere to hide!) and a distinct border around your perimeter. Basically, any design change that tells criminals that this is private property and the owner won’t tolerate intrusion will help.
☐ Install Security Cameras
The more “eyes” on your business, the better. People almost universally behave better when they think they’re being watched. A camera tells any would-be burglar: “I see you, I’m watching you, and I will record what you do.” Cameras can also record a break-in, providing valuable evidence to law enforcement after the fact. That increases the chance of getting any stolen property back.
In a survey of 500 convicted burglars in New York and New Jersey, 37% said a video camera is enough to stop them. In fact, respondents in a recent survey named security cameras as the most important feature of a security system, followed by motion sensors (28.6%), and floodlights (24.5%).
There are plenty of options for business security cameras on the market. You’ll find everything from low-cost options with minimal features like Ring or SimpliSafe to professional providers with integrated surveillance services like Deep Sentinel.
Install a security camera in each high-traffic area. That includes your retail floor, inventory rooms, offices (especially those with safes or other valuables), doors, and outside. You’ll also need to determine how the footage will be monitored and stored. These decisions will depend on your choice of system and your security budget.
☐ Hire Security Guards (Maybe)
It’s no secret that live security guards are one of the best deterrents money can buy. Their physical presence—armed or otherwise—makes your business much less appealing than an unguarded one. High-risk targets like banks, cannabis dispensaries, shopping malls, liquor stores, and jewelry stores often employ guards for good reason: they work. They can prevent crime and de-escalate troublesome situations.
But is hiring security guards worth it? Sourcing, managing, and financing a guard force isn’t possible for everyone. You’ll have to weigh the resource investment against the risk of inventory loss to determine whether hiring security guards is right for your business.
🗹 Simplify with Deep Sentinel’s Virtual Guards
Deep Sentinel provides next-gen business security cameras packaged with live surveillance. Proprietary artificial intelligence instantly assesses any movement, dismissing things like animals or passing cars, but alerting LiveSentinel guards of potential threats. Highly trained virtual guards then assess the situation, intervene, engage via 2-way audio if necessary, and notify the authorities if required. All within 30 seconds or less, with zero false alarms.
Deep Sentinel’s Virtual Guards are a fraction of the cost of on-site security guards and have several advantages. The wireless surveillance camera system comes equipped with night vision, a motion sensor, a 104db siren, LED floodlight, and 2-way audio. The PoE camera system comes equipped with 2k and 4k camera options, starlight technology, and 2-way audio.
If you want live eyes on your business every moment of every day, Deep Sentinel is the best answer. It’s like having all of your security devices plus a guard team wrapped up in one powerful package.
☐ Consider Other “Nice-To-Haves”
There is no end to the security enhancements you could make at your business to reduce criminal activity. This business security checklist is just the start. As you evaluate your budget and your needs, also consider:
- Redundant power sources for all security devices
- Visitor and vendor logbooks
- PA system for large buildings
- Safe or vault with an intrusion alarm, especially in cash-heavy industries
- Panic buttons that employees can press in an emergency to raise the alert silently
- Scanners at main entrances that can verify employee ID badges or biometrics (e.g. fingerprints)
- Fences and lockable gates around your perimeter or parking area
- Metal detectors and/or X-ray machines at entry points
The Importance of Business Security
Why is physical security important for businesses? Consider:
- In 2020, the average value of property stolen from non-residential properties—including offices, restaurants, stores, and other businesses—was $9,779.
- The overall recovery rate for stolen items is 31.1% but is much lower for office equipment at 5.8%, electronics at 4.6%, and jewelry and precious metals at a meager 3%.
- A business without a security system is 4.5x more likely to be targeted.
- Retail stores accounted for 28.4% of all burglaries in 2015.
- Burglary and larceny/theft cost American businesses $800 million in lost retail property annually.
- Cargo theft amounted to $57.9 million in 2021.
- According to the National Retail Federation, organized retail crime (ORC) cost an average of $719,548 for every $1 billion in sales in 2020.
- Among the five most common burglary targets in 2020 were commercial/office buildings (33,870 burglaries), rental storage facilities (32,419), specialty stores (17,241), and parking/garage lots (17,107).
Theft is a big problem for any business, regardless of industry or location. A big, expensive problem. Fight back with this business security checklist and take proactive steps to protect your business.