Businesses have faced many hurdles during COVID, from following and establishing new guidelines and protocols to restructuring the physical landscape of their business to abide by COVID requirements. Many of the businesses that temporarily shut their doors are slowly re-opening and facing additional complications like following new health screening requirements and managing the impact of civil unrest. With so many new challenges facing businesses today, it’s more crucial than ever that they focus on putting safety and security protocols in place to protect their employees, customers, and their physical properties and assets. As they explore options, it’s important for businesses to know that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
So, what should business owners be looking for as they put security and safety protocols in place?
Managing the Bare Essentials
Every business’s security needs are unique, and their security system should be customized to give them the support they need. While customization is key, there are some basic security measures that all businesses should consider putting in place.
- Cellular Support: When selecting a security system, look for one with cell radio backup. This ensures that even if communication is interrupted, the alarm system can alert authorities in case of an emergency, providing a timely response.
- Remote Access: Installing a system with remote control functionality allows business owners who have employees coming and going to keep an eye on their business from virtually anywhere. The remote access gives the business owner the ability to view indoor and outdoor camera footage to assess customer flow and keep an eye on employees. They can now make sure all their locations are secure and can arm the security system, without having to be on site.
- Payment Flexibility: As COVID has taught us, nothing is certain and there may be more curveballs coming. To make sure business owners can help keep their businesses safe while also managing their finances, many security companies are currently offering flexible payment plans to businesses. This flexibility allows business owners to still keep their businesses, employees, and customers protected with the comfort knowing that they have payment flexibility options.
Securing Your Physical Business
A closed business is more vulnerable to intruders, so ensuring a property is equipped with a security system and video surveillance is critical, especially during times of closure. Indoor video surveillance can be used to secure the workspace, technology, furniture, etc., and outdoor surveillance can help protect the building and deter break-ins and vandalism. Additionally, food service businesses who have food and inventory should invest in temperature probes, which can alert a business owner if their freezers/cooler go out, rise above a certain temperature, or experience a power outage.
In the case that a business is temporarily closed, automated systems can be very helpful. With smart security systems, lights can be programmed to turn on and off to give the illusion of an occupied storefront, and flood detectors can alert the owner of any potential water issues before significant damage occurs.
Maintaining Safety for Employees and Customers
As businesses reopen, they will need to abide by new guidelines and incorporate numerous safety requirements and protocols. To help ease the burden, they should consider installing a smart security system to help make things a little easier. For example, businesses that need to screen visitors before they can enter the building can use an intercom (with or without video) to ask health screening questions without coming into contact with the visitor. And for businesses that are only allowing essential workers to enter the premises, remote access control and two-way audio cameras can help ensure only the approved workers receive access.
Should a business determine an employee or customer has been in contact with someone with COVID, they can utilize video surveillance from their smart security system to help determine who else may have been exposed. If the business owner needs to engage specific cleaning and sanitizing protocols, they can manage cleaning crews remotely through video surveillance and intercom setups without having to be there themselves.
If employees are going to be in the office or in storefronts alone, a panic button should also be a consideration. In the case of a robbery or holdup event, or if an employee experiences another emergency, this is a discreet method for contacting authorities that can make all the difference in keeping everyone safe. The hope is that employees will never need to use the panic button – but at the very least, it can give everyone peace of mind.
Protecting Employees Online
Many businesses across the country are working remotely to help reduce the spread of COVID. While many businesses are focused on the safety and security of their physical business, it’s important that they also protect their employees’ safety online with cybersecurity support.
Before the pandemic, businesses typically only had a handful of employees working remotely, and they often lacked the level of security needed to support a larger group of remote employees. As a business rapidly expands its remote workforce, the problems that go along with supporting remote work expand too. This may mean that priorities and budgets should be shuffled around. Key areas of focus and investment now include providing security for IT Departments and support for remote employees. This includes endpoint management (both company-owned devices and BYOD), endpoint detection and response, VPN security, cloud security and cyber event detection and response.
Providing employees with a personal secure virtual network (VPN) is a first step in helping ensure private company information isn’t shared over public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN secures the connection, meaning both personal employee information and sensitive company details are protected from prying eyes and potential hackers.
Unfortunately, the impacts of COVID will be ongoing, so it’s in a business owner’s best interest to make sure they are prepared for the unexpected. Regardless of timing, installing a smart security system with cyber protection can help give business owners greater ability to manage multiple locations and situations remotely, while helping employees and customers conduct business, as usual, all while keeping everyone as safe as possible.
About the Authors:
Michael Bothwell is Senior Marketing Manager for ADT. Michael’s background includes 25 years in B2B and B2B2C marketing strategy development, including security solutions for Commercial and SMB businesses.
Stephanie Whaley is a Sales Enablement Manager for ADT. Stephanie has been with ADT for 14 years, specializing in sales and strategy development for both the residential and small business channels.