Keeping your business secure over christmas

Making sure that your business remains secure over the holiday period; and you and your colleagues have a hassle free break at home; will pay off. You don’t want the season to get you like this man:

“A man dressed in a Frosty the Snowman costume got in an altercation with police at a Maryland Christmas parade after he made a “kicking motion” at one of their K-9 dogs. Kevin Walsh (aka Frosty) pushed and swore at an officer while still in his costume. This is what he looks like without the pipe, the button nose, and two eyes made out of coal. [The Smoking Gun]” If only it had been Youtubed!

Your Business
Ensure your business is prepared virtually and physically. Lock the place securely and talk to your neighbouring businesses about keeping an eye on each other. It is Christmas after all.

Another option is building a local network using solutions like Facewatch. This police recommended system allows you to build a low cost intelligence and crime reporting system for your company and your community. Proven to reduce crime and the disruption of crime reporting it is something to read about on your new Apple iPhone from Santa.

Unfortunately it is not just about locks and fences and you need to revisit your cyber security. All those new Galaxy IIIs and iPads means the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work will be here to stay. Portable media has always been a risk to your information but now it is important to educate everyone about the risks. So some advice for staff on bringing their new gadgets from their Christmas stockings into the corporate environment is a good New Year’s resolution.

The same risks apply for working from home and it is worth ensuring good procedures and such precautions such as endpoint security are in place. There are some very cost effective ways of doing this including cloud computing. If this is the one thing you do, make your system the hardest to hit and they will go elsewhere.

All of the above takes planning by the criminal and we know, however, that a high percentage of crime is opportunistic, and can be prevented by taking some simple precautions.

Your home and car
• Don’t leave presents in full view on the back seat or by the tree when you are out doing that final Christmas shopping. These can be tempting to thieves. Lock them away out of sight in the boot and shut the curtains.
• Make sure you park in a well-lit area or in an attended car park. While at home leave a couple of lights on and the radio.
• Don’t leave empty boxes on display outside. Discarded packaging advertises all the new goods you have indoors.
• Don’t leave car keys and handbags lying around on display.
• If you’re going on holiday over the festive period, ask a friend, relative or neighbour to keep an eye on your house.
• Make sure all your new presents are marked. You can either postcode mark your property or much better is a forensic marking solution  (they make great stocking fillers).
• Register bike frame numbers, mobile phone IMEI numbers and other identifying details on a site Immobilise, the free, national property registration scheme.

The police recover hundreds of stolen items every year, and it’s much easier to prove that an item is stolen and return it to the rightful owner if it’s been registered or security marked. More importantly the professional thief will avoid properties using these systems if you put up the signs.

Not everybody is professional so finally my favourite Christmas crime from across the pond. Have a great season and stay safe:

“William E. Robinson of Georgia was arrested for open-firing at a sprig of mistletoe outside a shopping mall. He wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, no. He was just upholding one of his favourite Christmas traditions. “Every year I go somewhere to get some mistletoe to decorate the house … I get some for my friends that can’t get mistletoe. The best way to get it is with a shotgun.” Yes, William. Yes it is. [Huffington Post]”

Jon Teare is a Director at CrimeDeter Ltd who provide independent security advice and project management for a range of companies and communities.