The word “audit” strikes fear into the heart of every business owner, but it needn’t be a scary word. Internally auditing your business procedures, from the way you conduct day-to-day business to your fire and security protocols is a worthwhile exercise, which can reveal flaws that could have caused a big problem if they had been left undiscovered.
A successful security audit starts with setting the criteria for performance of each aspect of your business security. For each part, define what it needs to do, and which problems it is designed to solve. We can help put together the standards for our customers – in fact we carry out a review of your security arrangements when we start to work with you, and this is a great starting point for conducting your own on-going audits.
You’ll also need to identify any security breaches that have happened, or that have the potential to happen, as well as any areas where you know you need to tighten up. The areas you need to look at include (but are not limited to) CCTV, intruder alarms, smoke and fire detection, flood detection, access control, networks and internet connections, tills and card machines and computer/smartphone equipment.
Experts like us are a great resource when it comes to physical security, and we recommend engaging the services of an IT specialist to help out with your cyber security audit, which could include tills and POS equipment, computer systems and other networks used within the business.
Set aside some time to conduct the audit, and include heads of departments for larger businesses where you, as the owner, delegate certain areas to specialists in that field. How you carry out the audit is up to you, but a mix of sit-down meetings and walk-throughs of the premises are a good idea, so you can mix the thinking with the doing and vice versa. You can use the minutes of these meetings as a record of your audit, and they can also inform the changes you may need to make.
If there are known security issues you’ll need to find a solution, and we think it’s vital to engage the services of a security professional at this point because they will know all the various solutions out there, and we can determine which is the most suitable for your situation. Trying to cut costs by making a decision without expert input often goes wrong; picking the wrong solution is easy, and you’ll end up having to spend more money getting the right solution. It’s better to take advice and invest once in something that’s perfect, than taking a guess and then spending much more than your budget in the long run.
The issues you identify during the audit may include needing to upgrade or augment your existing systems with something better and/or newer. We can work with what you already have to reduce the overall cost and upheaval involved in getting a whole new system, when it might only be one aspect that needs attention (such as the footage quality of your video cameras, or the brightness of your security lights).
The outcome of your security audit should be a robust system which covers all bases, but there may still be some training that needs to happen, a new maintenance schedule to implement or new equipment to get used to. When you make any changes to your business security it is a good idea to review the impact of these changes at least once within the first month, to ensure they are having the desired effect.
Remember, this audit is just for you and your business, it’s nothing to worry about, and it will leave you with more peace of mind than you had before, because you’ll know your security arrangements are as good as they can be once you have actioned the audit outcomes.