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    Could hybrid working be a red flag for office security?

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    2021 has seen a massive shift to the hybrid working model, leaving full time office life in the rear view mirror. Both employers and employees have taken to the blended model of alternating office and work-from-home. But don’t get complacent about your business security, especially now that criminal opportunists are also becoming fans of hybrid working.

    Why do thieves like hybrid working?
    To you and your staff, hybrid working means a couple of days at home and a couple in the office. What the wrong ears hear is that an office is completely empty for a few days a week. An office filled with expensive equipment.

    As businesses switch to more work-from-home days, that means a lapse in security – at least in a thief’s mind. When business owners and their staff work away from the office, eyes are taken off the ball. Knowing there are more vacant premises around, with equipment and technology just sitting there, robbers can plan and take advantage of this.

    UK robbery offences at a 12-year high
    When the latest figures recorded a 12-year high for robbery offences in the UK in 2019/2020, it’s hard not to draw a connection. More businesses either shut up shop or sent staff away to set up home offices. Once bustling hubs for workers and shoppers, cities and towns became ghost towns. Criminals are opportunists, and when there are more vacant businesses – paired with empty streets – you’ve got a hotspot for robberies, especially if security is weak.

    How to better protect your business when hybrid working
    Danny Scholfield, Managing Director of  Expert Security UK, has first-rate and specialist advice for businesses who have adopted the hybrid working model, that they can action right now…

    Social media security
    “First off, you need to review your social media. It’s one of the easiest ways to get insight into your business, and you’ll be surprised as to what criminals can gather from your social channels. Whilst it’s good to communicate to your followers with updates on opening hours and such, just be mindful about displaying your work-from-home days.

    “Showing off is nice, but it can be costly. Don’t post about the new technology you have just installed, especially if it’s not important to your customers. If you’re treating the business and your staff to new gadgets, make sure your social media guys aren’t posting about it. Of course, it’s up to you, but think about who is watching and doing their research. Your channels are public with all the key info handily available – opening hours, location, website, contact details and all the public images and notices. Have more mystique.”

    Only store what you need
    “Now that there are fewer office days, a declutter should be on the cards. Anything you don’t use or need, you can sell or donate. If there’s expensive equipment lying around that’s not being utilised, it’s best to either make money back or keep it stored elsewhere so it’s not a potential target. If you are keeping a lot of expensive equipment in vacant premises, consider installing bars over the windows.”

    Robust bricks-and-mortar security
    Whatever your budget, there are different ways to incorporate access control for your premises, and it’s one of the most crucial security measures any business can implement, especially now.

    Scholfield stresses: “Security gates with access control are incredibly effective at stopping unauthorised people from gaining entry. Car park barriers and bollards are also an easy way to keep any getaway vehicles out.

    CCTV is also a best friend to any business, high-quality ones that offer video analytics that is. But don’t let it just sit there, use it and review it. You may even detect clues and help prevent an incident happening in the first place.”

    Make technology mobile
    “Laptops instead of computers are a great idea, especially for hybrid working. Employees can take work laptops home easily for the in-between homeworking days. So, not only is this more efficient and convenient, it means your assets and technology are more guarded. It’s the same for tablets and work mobiles. Having easily portable technology is good for business, hybrid working, and security.”

    Don’t forget about deterrents
    “Then there are deterrents that often people forget about. Simple signs to warn people of alarms, CCTV, and even the fact that you don’t leave equipment inside overnight can go a long way.”

    The best deterrent is showing you have all the top security measures in place. So, it pays to make sure your overall commercial security is refreshed and not looking tired or weak. Robbers and criminals will take notice, and now more than ever, it’s vital to keep your premises secure and protected.

     

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    AUTHOR

    Lisa Carter

    All stories by: Lisa Carter