This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog written by Laurence Weekley.
In an ideal world, no one would try to take advantage of your business, but the harsh reality is even the people you think you can trust the most can let you down and steal from your business.
In this post, we will take a look at some of the most simple steps you can make as a business to protect yourself from this.
1) Install CCTV
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) protects your business from outside threats and also has the advantage of monitoring everything that goes on in your business.
If your staff handle cash or expensive equipment, then having CCTV installed on your premises can not only protect your inventory but it can also protect your staff. Sometimes items can go missing, and having CCTV can even help prove someone’s innocence.
2) Install a firewall
If your business uses any type of computer system that connects to the outside world, then a firewall can help protect your network and your data from hackers.
Firewalls aren’t expensive, and you can even get free ones that are easy to set up, so not having one is no excuse. If you don’t have much computer knowledge, then consulting an IT support company could help you with this. If you don’t have the money to do that, you can always look on websites such as YouTube for tutorials.
3) Install a virus and malware scanner
Viruses, malware, and ransomware can cripple a business. With small businesses getting attacked on a daily basis, you really should have some form of protection on your company’s computer systems.
Software such as AVG or malware bytes can help protect you from viruses and malware, while not opening suspicious links or opening emails from people you don’t know can protect you from ransomware.
Ransomware is particularly dangerous to a small business as it locks your data away from you and then ransoms it back to you to get access to it. Some ransomware attacks can cost anywhere from a few hundred to the mid thousands of dollars.
4) Track your vehicles
If you notice that your company vehicles and fuel allowance are being abused, you may want to consult with a private investigation firm so they can install GPS trackers on your company vehicles.
This may seem extreme, but vehicles being used more often than they should be and not for their intended purposes can void their insurance policies and cost a business owner thousands.
Installing a GPS tracker and letting your staff know about these trackers is a great way of making sure your company vehicles are only used when they should be.
5) Have a best policy handbook
Sometimes fraud can be carried out without the person committing the offense even knowing. In the example above with the company vehicle, a person may think that picking up an item 5 miles away before starting work isn’t that big of a deal. However, if you had a fleet of over 200 cars and everyone did that, your mileage would soon add up.
Having a best policy handbook stating exactly what is allowed and what isn’t will allow you and your employees to know exactly where they stand. This policy book will also protect you if someone has broken the rules because it’s there in writing. If you need to dismiss this person due to broken rules, you now have a legal standing to start on.
Fraud can happen in all areas of business, but by following the tips above you should now have a better understanding and can protect yourself a little bit more. The good news is if you aren’t a tech person and don’t have the budget for IT support, most coworking spaces offer protection in the form of WI-Fi security and a firewall installed to protect your data.
Laurence is the managing director of Covert LTD, an investigation and security firm in the UK.