When you think about security for businesses what springs to mind? Do you think about physical security, cyber security or financial security? The truth is that all three are component parts of one whole, which means that missing out on any one of them could put your business into serious danger.
Effective physical security protects both your data and your staff, both of which are vital for your ability to keep going as a business. What’s more, it often dovetails with health and safety considerations (particularly the latter part) and hence keeping on top of it is also a good idea from the point of view of protecting against liability claims, which can cause all kinds of problems for a business. Proper management of both physical security and health and safety is also likely to be a prerequisite for certain types of insurance cover to be valid. It is also worth noting that, although it is not, strictly speaking, part of physical security, actively looking for ways to make your workplace a healthy and attractive one, can do a lot for staff morale and hence can help to improve both attendance and productivity.
Data security may be the hottest topic in business right now, thanks to a combination of the publicity around GDPR and the fact that the newspapers seem to be carrying a never-ending stream of headlines relating to data-security breaches some of which relate to major organisations, which really had no excuse whatsoever for sloppy data security. Admittedly not all of these breaches have been major enough to make front-page news, but even the more minor ones can hardly have been good news for the companies’ relationship with their customers. By this point in time, GDPR should be in a business-as-usual phase and all companies, large and small, should be fully compliant with it. If you’re not, then resist the temptation to keep your head down and hope that you’re too small to be worth targeting. You need to deal with it.
At the end of the day, financial security depends on making sure your income covers your outgoings plus a reasonable profit. This makes perfect sense in theory and the success of various businesses means that it can work perfectly well in practice, but small businesses often face two big problems. The first is that the term “cash flow” does not often represent the reality of life for many SMEs since it implies that income arrives smoothly and steadily from one period to the next, whereas it can be highly seasonal (e.g. dependent on Christmas sales). The second is that with the best will in the world, it may be a long time, if ever, before the company has sufficient cash reserves to finance major investments, let alone deal with unexpected setbacks.
There are various ways to manage the issue of erratic cash flow and, in particular, to finance the development of a growing company. Dealing with unexpected events is the realm of insurance. This topic may not be cheerful and is highly unlikely to be considered glamourous, but having the right insurance cover in place could, literally, save your business. When thinking about insurance, your first point to check is what the law requires you to have, since this is absolutely non-negotiable. The next step is to think about protecting your most important assets and these days, while that may include some physical assets, it is at least as likely to include data and people. This is why more niche policies, such as key person insurance, shareholder protection insurance and business loan protection insurance could all be a vital support to your business is you were hit by the death of a crucial employee. It is also a good idea to look at critical illness cover, at least for the most important people on the payroll.