Small businesses face a wide variety of challenges because of their limited resources. Any business owner who’s nearly missed payroll or taken out a new credit card to pay for surprise expenses knows that fact all too well.

However, there’s one area where business owners are starting to become increasingly vulnerable: security. Whether you’re a small brick-and-mortar retail shop or a white collar service business, security should be near the top of your priority list.

Unfortunately, there are many ways that thousands of small businesses are failing to protect themselves from everyday security threats. According to small business security company CSID, only 29% of businesses with 10 or fewer employees are taking any measures to combat these types of threats.

Are you exposing yourself to unnecessary risk by ignoring these security shortfalls?

LAX access policies

First things first, you should think long and hard about who has physical access to different parts of your business. Who handles money? Who documents financials? Who can enter your warehouse?

Furthermore, how secure are your facilities overall? Even if you have the proper employee access hierarchy in place, are your facilities secure enough to fend off outside intruders?

There should be checks and balances in place to keep everybody in your business accountable for what they do on company property, and you should never give blanketed access to every part of your business to unproven employees. On top of that, you should take focused measures to keep your facilities secure against external threats.

The “never to me” cybersecurity policy

Small business owners assume that they’re too small or insignificant to be a target for cyber criminals. Well, that’s the number one reason why hackers are starting to go after small and mid-sized businesses; the owners of these businesses aren’t taking any precautions.

According to StaySafeOnline.org, the majority of small businesses aren’t concerned at all about cyber security. In fact, many don’t have any plan or policy in place at all, should the need arise.

Another study by the Ponemon Institute reveals that small business are faced with many of the exact same security threats as big businesses, but more than 40% of those small businesses aren’t budgeting enough for IT security.

Don’t fall victim to this dangerous trend.

Lack of operational oversight

When you own a business where you know each employee personally, it becomes easy to trust your staff blindly. After all, you see each employee on a daily or weekly basis; they’re practically family. It’s very difficult to look at them with a critical eye.

Unfortunately, even employees that seem perfectly trustworthy can do less-than-honest things when they know nobody will find out. To make matters worst, the University of Cincinnati reports that employee theft has become the norm for small business, with 64% of small businesses experiencing employee theft problems. And that’s only the business who know they have a problem!

All in all, the only way to combat this problem is to build systems of accountability into your business. Operations should be monitored closely, and there should be concrete protocol in place to prevent accidental or intentional discrepancies.

Closing your security gaps

You can’t fix all of your security problems overnight, but being aware of their existence is the best first step to a more secure business. Take the time to do a full security audit of your business. Look at each aspect of your operation from top to bottom – IT, facilities, personnel, management, and so on.

Once you’ve identified your unique problem areas, create a specific action plan to address them. This small step alone will set you apart from most other small businesses, and it will take you a long way toward avoiding a devastating breach.

Frankie Rendon, PR guy for Seattle Lockmaster, collaborates with publications to ensure that the content he helps create is given its time to shine. He received his B.A. in Public Relations from the University of South Florida. You can follow his work on Twitter.

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