September 2, 2014

But how seriously do you take security concerns, really? You figure you keep an eye on your cash. You told your employees to watch the door to make sure no one is walking out with a coat stuffed full of play toys or dog food – let alone a dog.
And surely no one is going to try to make off with a boa constrictor. So do you really face a serious threat?

The answer is that if you’re operating a business with assets on the premises, then yes, you have to assume security threats are real and require your attention.

Shoplifters are one threat, but shoplifters don’t have easy access to your cash drawers and inventory stock. Your employees do. And however much you pay attention or instruct your trusted team members to do the same, there is no way you can be everywhere or see everything.

Luis Orbegoso, president of small business for ADT, advises retailers of every size to recognize they can’t take their security for granted.

“Many small business retailers assume ‘It could never be me,’” Orbegoso said. “Some may think they are too small. Some assume a door chime or a guard dog is suitable for security measures, but many retail owners without security in place are not protecting themselves, the security of their customers and the protection of their inventory.”

Orbegoso also urged retailers not to take a reactive approach to security – in other words, to wait to deal with it once a security threat is apparent or, worse, a breach has already occurred. He said many wrongly assume that security systems like those offered by ADT can’t be made to fit into the budget. Given an understanding of your store’s particular vulnerabilities, he said, they can.

“It is critical to partner with experts, like the security advisors from ADT, to come to your business and conduct an in-person, front-to-back-door walk of your store, identify your areas of vulnerability and create a customized solution for you,” Orbegoso said.

Modern security systems give retailers access to real-time video of in-store activity, and can trigger an automatic alert in the event of a breach.

“With this added layer of control, retailers can keep an eye on all areas of their business, helping to ensure greater levels of premise security, inventory protection, and customer safety,” Orbegoso said.

Such a customer would likely be unaware, of course, if he is under surveillance by video equipment. But if store management doesn’t recognize such behavior as suspicious, the ability to observe the behavior might not be as effective as it could in preventing a theft attempt.

At the same time, store managers should look for hints of threats from within, such as cash drawers not balancing correctly at the close of business. That is an indication that, under the best of circumstances, employees are not doing their jobs correctly. At worst, of course, there is the possibility that they are stealing from you.

You’ve probably seen the reality shows in which business owners randomly leave a $100 bill next to a cash register, then watch via video surveillance to see if an employee under suspicion will pocket the cash or return it to the cash register. Video surveillance can certainly help when you’ve identified a target for your suspicion, although you have to be ready for what you might see.

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