How to protect your SME this Christmas from theft and break-ins

How to protect your SME this Christmas from theft and break-ins

All businesses recognise that Christmas is one of the peak times for theft and break-ins, whether they close down over the Christmas break or continue trading. The risk of customer and employee theft, robberies, and even cyber-crime are all increased during the Christmas season. However, SMEs are often at greater risk than large multi-nationals, mainly because they have fewer backups and resources, and might seem like easier targets. So what can you do to protect your SME from theft, break-ins and cyber-crime this holiday season?

Tackling theft and break-ins this Christmas

Your first step is to identify the risks that are unique to your business and then put steps in place to reduce these risks. Contacting your local police is a good step, because they know of active gangs in your area, but talking to other store owners can also help to identify repeat offenders. Installing CCTV and a sign that indicates CCTV is in use are good deterrents, as is electronic tagging of merchandise. 

Organising extra staff that will be needed over the holiday period, but doing this earlier in the year, is a great strategy as it gives you plenty of time to check their references and employment history, helping to reduce employee theft. Locating small and easy-to-steal items within view of the POS is another great tip, as is not overcrowding your store with merchandise as this can make it more difficult to spot shoplifters.

Encouraging your staff to make eye contact with each customer that enters your store is also a good deterrent, because they realise that they have been noticed. Keeping an eye on customers as they wander through the store, asking if they need any help, regularly changing store layouts and training your staff to identify suspicious behaviours are also good tips for preventing in-store thefts. Last but not least, install an alarm system and routinely test it to ensure that it still works, servicing it regularly, and updating it as necessary.

Tackling cyber-crime this Christmas

Christmas isn’t only a prevalent time for thieves, it’s also fair game for cyber-crime. Employees can be more inclined to let their guard down when working on their computer, even buying gifts online, and allowing opportunistic viruses to create havoc. Remote workers can also be less vigilant with their computer security during the holidays, taking advantage of public WIFI to respond to emails when out shopping or accessing your company’s network via non-work devices. It only takes one distraction and a virus has infiltrated your IT system, so what can you do to minimise these risks?

Updating passwords for work devices, as well as social media accounts and websites is one way to reduce your risks. As is making sure that the same passwords aren’t used on multiple devices. Retraining your employees about the danger of phishing scams and not opening emails or attachments that are not easily recognisable or seem suspicious is also a good idea. Using an enterprise password manager that encrypts passwords to ramp up your security is also an easy option. 

The take home message is that break-ins, theft and cyber-crime all increase during the Christmas season, but you can do something to minimise your risks. The final piece of the jigsaw is having the right type of insurance policies in place, so that you are covered if anything goes wrong. To decide what type of insurance policies are suitable for your SME, talk to an insurance specialist today.

General Advice Warning

The information provided is to be regarded as general advice. Whilst we may have collected risk information, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. We recommend that you consider the suitability of this general advice, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. You should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase this financial product.

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