How to protect your business and staff during the most wonderful time of the year

From parties and booming business, to thieves and uncomfortable coworker interactions, the holiday months usher in peak opportunities for fun, festivities, and crooks. With so much going on, it’s easy for small business owners to lose focus. That’s why it’s important to approach these high times with mindful cheer.

When it comes to keeping both your business and your employees safe, the holiday season is not the time to overlook safety standards and practices. Although everything may appear to be merry and bright, it’s important to recheck the security of these aspects, and to take the proper steps to ensure a jolly season for all.

Online security

Your virtual storefront may be the last place you would think to secure during the holidays, however, your cyber space could be at risk if you don’t take the proper precautions:

  • Avoid public Wi-Fi: Anything you do can easily be accessed by hackers when using free Wi-Fi, so limit sensitive activities to a secure internet connection.
  • Use data-centric security: Firewalls and antivirus programs can be breached, so it’s important that business owners use data encryption methods when setting up security pathways, especially if working with mobile payment devices.
  • Transaction security: Confirm that your financial software’s security measures are effective with your software provider.

Holiday loss prevention

Crowded retail spaces and busy employees create the perfect environment for shoplifters. Although we would like to think that this is the season of giving, you don’t want your business and offerings to be given without proper purchasing techniques.

During one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year, make sure you are able to protect your goods and services. Here are a few tips for mitigating compromised purchases from your small business:

  • Engage with management: Involve both your employees and your customers in business policies, especially if they are altered during the holiday season. Make a plan to keep your storefront, back office, or online marketplace secure.
  • Security cameras: Whether you hide them or not, surveillance systems can be a deterrent to both your staff and potential shoplifters. And while we’d like to think that cameras are not needed, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Security cameras can even come in handy when dealing with issues involving liability and/or worker’s comp.
  • Research seasonal employees: Did you know that the employee theft rate is six times greater than losses from shoplifting? Conduct background checks before hiring, and using staff-theft prevention methods that cover each employee will help maintain a culture of security.
  • Educate your staff: Hold a security meeting identifying what to watch out for, as well as code words for alerting the rest of the staff whenever there may be a security issue during this busier time of year.
  • Point out vulnerabilities: Discuss potential blind spots with your staff, and train them to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviors in those areas.
  • Beware of fraud: New, overwhelmed, cashiers are prime targets for con artists. Make sure your staff knows how to verify transactions, whether that be by checking IDs or using a check verification service.
  • Install EMV readers: As of October 15, 2015, banks were relieved from liability for fraudulent transactions related to hacking the magnetic strip on credit and debit cards. That means the cost of bank card fraud falls on your business. EMV chips are much less vulnerable to point-of-sale scams.

A safe environment after business hours

People don’t usually associate the holidays with anything too out of hand, however, the Criminal Justice Degrees Guide lists rape as one of the ten most common crimes during the festive season due to excessive parties and alcohol consumption. Providing complimentary safe rides home, offering a variety of nonalcoholic libations, and designating sober chaperones can prevent venerable situations as well as drunk driving.

The most important thing you can do over the holidays is have fun, but that’s not always so easy when you have a business to run. Let the team of professionals at Avante Insurance carry the weight of getting all of your holiday security ducks in a row! Contact us today to explore all of our insurance solutions!