No matter what industry sector you’re in or if you own or rent business premises, you are susceptible to theft, criminal damage, and cybercrime. All of which can harm your business’ finances and its reputation.
Your business premises will likely be home to valuable assets that keep your business running smoothly, including computers, contracts, sensitive data and documents about clients, accounts and your employees, and in many cases money.
Therefore, it’s vital that businesses have robust security measures in place to prevent theft and damage, whilst also giving you the chance to potentially reduce your insurance premiums.
If you rent premises – especially on a business park – then you should expect that a risk assessment has already have been completed and security measures installed.
Regardless of this, it is still good practice – and possibly even a legal requirement – to complete your own risk assessment to identify where you might be vulnerable.
Assessing your premises can help you identify windows with faulty or broken locks, alarms that aren’t working and need replacing, doors that don’t shut properly, blind spots outside the building where there may not be any CCTV coverage or lighting.
One thing to remember is that a thief is not looking for a challenge, they are looking for an easy target with minimal risk of being caught.
You can find helpful advice about surveillance equipment from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner.
A great first step to keeping your premises secure is to maintain the exterior. Keeping the outside of your premises clear of rubbish and graffiti shows that you care and that you’re fully aware of your surroundings, which will help to make a burglar think twice about your office being a potentially easy target. If you find graffiti, call your local council who will send a specialist team to remove it (1).
Keeping bins stored away from the building, in a specific area, is a good idea to avoid them being used to climb onto to gain access to windows or low level roofing.
The last thing you want to do is make it easy for a burglar to break in without being seen, so pruning trees and other foliage is important, because overgrowth can be used to conceal a potential burglar from lighting and CCTV cameras.
Installing or replacing alarms, and installing or upgrading CCTV, can make a big difference to the value of your deterrent measures. You could also install security shutters and anti-ram bollards to protect the frontage of your premises, but you may need to gain planning permission for these security measures.
Adding security lighting that responds via motion sensors will help you to ensure that even the darkest corners of your premises are lit when they need to be. This will act as a deterrent, and if CCTV cameras are installed, it will also help you identify any intruders more easily.
If you are operating from modern business premises, then you’ll likely have new, secure locks on your doors and windows. However, if your business premises are older, for example an office block from the 1970/80s, then you may find the building still retains its original doors and windows. These could be classed as unsecure, given sophisticated burglaries have advanced further than the locks that are installed on these older windows and doors.
Upgrading the locks, or even replacing the windows and doors altogether could make a big difference. Using specific burglar-resistant products can enhance your security and potentially help to reduce your insurance costs. Visit the Secured by Design website for more details.
With the ongoing enhancements in digital technologies, ID-based security has grown to become one of the best security and preventative measures you can have in a workplace.
ID passes come in many forms including cards, fobs and keys, and are a great way to control who has access to your business, which can help prevent opportunists entering your business. ID passes can also help you identify who has been present on your premises and when. So, if a crime does take place, the data can help you identify who may have been involved or who may have been a witness.
Many businesses will keep money onsite, such as a daily float or small amounts of petty cash; however, those who deal directly with customers may retain significant sums cash on their premises. It is a good idea to keep all onsite cash in a safe, especially if you hold large sums of money, such as shop or trades supplier might do.
Workplace safes should be tested to Eurograde burglar resistance standard EN 1143, which is approved by the Association of Insurance Surveyors (AIS) which will guarantee you’re backed by your insurers (2).
If your confidential documents are lost or stolen, it can result in a data breach with client and employee information potentially being leaked. This can lead to financial penalties to your business as well as damage to your reputation and the trust that you have built with your clients and staff.
It’s important to store all documents containing sensitive information under lock and key. Filing cabinets, lockable drawers and safes are all great options. It’s worthwhile keeping virtual copies of every document on a hard drive stored off-site, or on the cloud.
Theft from businesses has become extremely sophisticated, with modern thieves not even needing to enter your premises to steal your money and your assets.
Cybercrime means you need to install enhanced technology security as well as physical security to protect your business. Firewalls and two factor authentication (2FA) are just a couple of the measures you can take, but cybercrime is ever evolving, and computers security measures regularly need updating as a result.
To ensure your business can cope if it falls victim to a cybercrime, it is important to ensure you have cyber insurance in place.
According to the government’s cyber breaches survey 2021, 39% of businesses reported cyber security breaches or attacks in the 12 months up to March 2021. The figures are higher among medium-sized businesses (65%) and large businesses (64%).
With many companies now operating hybrid-working models, the need for cyber protection has never been greater, especially as many staff are using their own devices (laptops, tablets, mobiles and internet connections) to login to business systems to produce their work.
You might still be wondering why you should go to all this trouble, and even thinking it’s a waste of time and money because if a burglar wants to break in, they will. Theft is reputed to be one of the most common small business insurance claims, and it can occur at your premises, while you’re working onsite, or while you’re travelling.
If you need another good reason, then you can add potentially reducing the cost of your office insurance premiums and saving your business money in the long term to the list. Many insurance policies have a checklist that helps to inform the insurer about the level of cover required. Security measures including alarms, multi-point locks and CCTV are regularly considered when insurance premiums are calculated.
Our office insurance provides cover for your business contents, business interruption insurance, and even up to £5,000 of cover for your portable equipment, such as mobile phones and laptops.