Running a business in a straining economy is no easy task and business owners are looking for ways to cut costs and save. Security, however, should not be an area that gets neglected or skimped on, believes Theunis Kotze, General Manager of ADT Inland Region. “The cost of security really needs to be weighed up against the value of what is being protected. More often than not this not only includes the company’s physical assets but employees too. Investing in the correct solution and maintaining it on a regular basis makes good business sense,” he adds.
Small business security makes up a large portion of security solutions in South Africa and having the right fit for the size and requirements of the business is vital. “It’s always a good time to re-look and reassess your business security needs and ensure that what you have in place adequately meets those needs.”
Wear and tear on security systems is a reality and regular maintenance and upgrades are a necessity. As with any technical equipment, especially those exposed to the elements, there will be aging and wear and tear over time. It is best to address this in the form of regular maintenance of these systems. Even with regular maintenance, however, every couple of years parts will need to be replaced.
“Waiting until the system becomes faulty is not ideal,” says Kotze. “Unfortunately we regularly encounter incidents at small businesses where a break-in has occurred and only then business owners realise that their security system was not operating correctly. With regular maintenance and testing, this can be avoided.”
He points out that criminals have become so brazen that physical security barriers and alarms alone are no longer the only deterrents that business owners can rely on. Entry methods have evolved from classic window breaking to criminals removing front doors completely.
“When doors and windows pose too much of a challenge, they will enter through the roof. We’ve also experienced isolated incidents in which cement blocks in walls were removed so that criminals could gain entry,” he says.
Kotze believes a multi-layered approach to safety is the best solution to protecting your business.
“Early warning systems – such as electric fencing and outdoor detectors and beams – are valuable because they are able to detect intruders before damage is caused. It also enables armed response to attend to incidents faster and increases the likelihood of apprehending suspects.”
“CCTV has also become more affordable and, coupled with the internet and technologies like smartphones, small business owners can now keep an eye on their premises using remote-monitoring. This is a good option to consider.”
He also recommends getting in touch with local community security organisations such as neighbourhood watches and the likes. “Especially where small businesses are located in suburbs keeping up to date with regular crime trends and crime prevention efforts is highly valuable. This kind of information enables the small business owner to make informed decisions about security and reduces the risk of loss as a result of crime.”
Equipping staff with panic buttons and access cards is another element that needs to be addressed and monitored closely. Kotze warns business owners not to become complacent about employees, especially those who may be leaving the business. “Ensure that employees return keys, access codes and remotes to the property if they resign. It is also a good idea to change alarm and access codes from time to time.”
“If in doubt about whether your system is adequate call in a professional to assess your premises. These experts will be able to identify any vulnerable areas and offer the best solutions. Now is a great time to get your security in order and ensure your business is well-protected throughout the year,” he concludes.