IAN FERGUSON: Business must do its part on Xmas security


Ian Ferguson

As we near the start of the holiday season, there is usually an expectation that the criminal element will increase their activity. While we cannot predict the extent to which crime will increase, we do know that economic pressures, increasing social ills and opportunities through increased tourist activity creates the potential for a perfect storm.

Law enforcement will do their best to mitigate and address the evil present in the minds of criminals, but business owners must do their part. The best thing corporate leaders can do now is prepare. This week’s column focuses attention on what can and must be done.

  • Create a security plan. If you do not already have a security plan, it is not too late to implement one. A comprehensive plan covers both physical and cyber security measures. In times like these, do not let securing your assets become an afterthought.

  • Create a business continuity plan. Impacts to supply chains and the economy at large are likely to continue to affect businesses for months after a crisis ends. Having contingency plans in place through a business continuity plan may very well save your business. As part of your plan, you should review your insurance policies so you know what they cover. You should also include details for securing closed locations to minimise risks from fire, theft and other threats.

  • Have the flexibility to scale security solutions. Just as companies use cloud computing to scale online capacities, businesses need to scale their security solutions to meet any new threats. Assess how to ensure you have these additional resources at the ready if local law enforcement is strained.

  • Provide your employees with resources. Notify your employees of potential threats, and give them a place to report scams, fraud and other issues. Placing certain safeguards for your team members’ safety is crucial to their confidence and level of loyalty to your business.

  • Review and communicate your company security policy to all your employees. All businesses should review company security policies as the holiday season approaches. Ensure that all staff understand the importance of keeping access credentials private, know how to spot cyber crime, and know what to do if a crime happens. Whether your staff is in-office or working remotely, all employees should be up-to-date on security policies and special holiday circumstances.

  • Do not advertise that you will be closed. It is common practice to alert customers when your business will be closed so that you can avoid any inconvenience. However, this practice could put your business at risk during times of the year when the crime rate is elevated, including the holiday season. Instead of posting signage, or on social media, declaring that no one will be in the building for a certain period, it is better to use an automated voice or e-mail response to alert customers of your closing. This way, crime opportunists will be less tempted.

• NB: Ian R Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities. He has served organisations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at tcconsultants@ coralwave.com.


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