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Businesses more likely to feel the pinch this summer

11th August 2009 Print
Summer security shortfalls are potentially putting two million small businesses at risk of burglary, according to research by specialist business insurer Hiscox.

At a time when cash flow is tight and an office theft could be devastating to a small business, the survey found that security lapses are putting SMEs at risk:

Just under half (44%) of small businesses say staff are more lax about closing windows, setting alarms and locking exit doors in the summer months of June to August

One in five respondents (20%) have arrived at work to discover that a window or exit has been unlocked or the alarm is not set

Almost half (48%) believe workers are never as stringent about security measures as they would be in their own homes.

And the study also reveals that small business owners are themselves failing to prioritise their security strategies. Even in times when redundancies are commonplace, almost three quarters (73%) admit that they don't change locks and access codes to the office when staff leave the company. Of even more concern for a sector where there is often only one person left in the office, almost eight out of ten (78%) small businesses take no extra security precautions for employees who find themselves in this situation.

The implications of an office robbery can be huge for a small business - one in five SME employers (22%) cite the financial costs of replacing equipment as their major concern, while a further one in five (20%) fear the loss of staff productivity.

Hiscox has provided security tips to help SMEs this summer:

Make sure you use all your security measures every time the office is left unattended

Protect your business by changing access codes and removing systems access when employees leave

Plan for how you would do business if your office is damaged or you lost some equipment. Regularly test the plan to make sure it works

Take appropriate steps to protect sensitive business information, including clients' data.

Sam Franks, small business insurance expert at Hiscox UK, said: "The summer months are a prime time for burglaries and it is crucial for small businesses to take all of the necessary precautions against office theft. Many of these steps are quite simple and could be as straightforward as having a procedure in place to ensure the office is fully secured at the end of each day.

"Theft can have a number of devastating consequences to a small business; not least the impact on staff productivity and the loss of income while equipment and client data are restored. Simple tricks such as backing up data and improving IT security can save a business thousands of pounds, while having the necessary insurance cover is vital should the worst happen."