SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

5 Tips on Tightening Your Office Security

Office security and safety is a very important component of running a business. Not only do you want to ensure that you are safe, but you always want to be sure that your employees and valuable information are safe as well. Employees who feel safe in their place of work are generally better workers, and longer-lasting employees as well. For the benefit of the entire business, investing in security in all departments is vital. 

There are a number of practices you can implement within your company that can help to decrease the likelihood of security breaches. If you’re looking to increase the level of security in your building, consider the following tips on tightening your office security. 

1. Create a Plan 

Just like any other disaster or event, there needs to be a plan in place in case of a security breach within your company. This plan should be written out in your policies and procedures manual once it has been passed by your legal counsel. 

This plan should cover all sides of a security breach, including what employees should do, where they should go, how to react, etc. Make sure the plan is closely detailed concerning the actual layout of your offices so that employees are fully aware of where to go and what to expect. 

Once you’ve got a plan in place, go over the plan with each employee individually. This is especially important if you have a lot of turnaround with employees. Everyone should know the drill and be comfortable practicing it a few times a year. 

2. Have a Sign-In System 

If there are a lot of people coming in and out of your offices, your chances of a breach may increase if you’re not careful. This is especially true if your employees are hosting meetings with outside individuals and companies who will need access to your facilities.

To tighten the security of your office, implement a sign-in system that tracks who is coming and going and when. People who work for you full-time should have badges for easy entry, while those who aren’t full-time workers should require a name and proof of meeting to be allowed access into the building. 

A bright, visible badge or keychain should be worn by visitors at all times to ensure that your employees recognize them as an outside worker. This will make it easier for you to track who came onto the premises and who they were in contact with while inside. 

3. Install Security Systems 

 

This is one of the best ways to combat security breaches in your office, and it’s likely to deter many people from considering breaking and entering. While these kinds of systems may cost a pretty penny in the beginning, the investment is worth it. Consider researching some of the best security systems for offices and speak with a professional about the kinds of designs that would work for your office. 

Not only is having security a great way of keeping unwanted visitors out, but it also has the added bonus of keeping an eye on employees inside. Indoor security can help you keep an eye out for valuable items like quality office equipment and tools, and it can also help you get to the bottom of any problems that occur between co-workers. 

While you’re looking at installing security on the inside of your office, be sure to take care of the outside of your building as well. Stairways, doors, alleyways, and parking lots surrounding your building should be protected, and employees should know that they’re safe should they ever work late hours or experience a car break-in. Investing in outdoor security and adequate lighting will help to increase the safety of your workers. 

4. Implement Online Security 

Once you’ve covered safety procedures in your office space, you’ll want to consider your online property as well. There were some unprecedented online breaches in 2016, including hacks to large companies, including Target, Verizon, LinkedIn, Wendy’s, Snapchat, and Yahoo. 

To protect valuable information and accounts within your company, being diligent and investing in protection is a must. Investing in an online security system is one of the first things you should do to keep valuable information safe, and it is important to keep these systems updated to ensure they can perform at their best. 

It will also be important to keep employees up to date on the current scams to watch out for and to keep them educated about what to look for and avoid when they’re working online. Phishing emails are becoming more common, and hackers are quickly perfecting other company’s branding and voice – making it easy to fall for their tricks. The best way to avoid mistakes and phishing scams is to regularly educate your employees on security, update all passwords on at least a monthly basis, and always try to improve existing security.   

If you ever do experience any security breaches, take the time to make sure you get all of the necessary patching and recovery taken care of. Patching will ensure that there are no points of access into your database, so it’s important to take care of these issues right away. Hackers do not need a lot of time to find holes in open programs, so, the higher this is on your priority list, the better. 

5. Secure Physical Information

While online documents and e-mails are the chosen route for communication and information, these days, you’ll still want to ensure that physical copies of information are properly secured. To keep track of your important documents, make sure that you have a secure safe for things like passwords, checks, printed documents, and other vital information. 

Lock away any paperwork that needs to be shredded, until it can be properly disposed of, and be sure to store away and lock printers and computers that are not being used. Employees should never be able to take home office equipment, and all general passwords should be changed on a regular basis. 

Conclusion 

When it comes to the security of everyone and everything in your company, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Investing in the security of your company can prove invaluable on the off chance that someone decides to try to steal your information or bring harm to anyone in your building. 

Consider the tips suggested above to ensure that your office is a safe and secure place for everyone and everything within it. 

 

 

Continue reading
339 Hits
0 Comments

Tips to Create an Office Space That Increases Staff Retention

People take a great deal of pride in their work, and they want their efforts to be as meaningful to employers and society at large as they are to them, on a personal level. But having more authority, more responsibilities, and a friendlier boss doesn't cut it these days. You'll find out soon enough that there's only so much you can do, as an executive, to keep employees running on all cylinders and happy on the job, before you turn to office interior design.

But what could a designer do to address staff retention problems? Typically, it should start with an in-depth analysis of how employees work, what they need throughout the day to carry out tasks effectively and what they Office Spacerequire to take a break and come back to work feeling refreshed. This knowledge should be a major source of information to help turn your business premises into the ideal workplace environment and commission the right office fit for your company. The idea is that a more employee-centric design would not only draw prospective candidates to your company, but also help existing employees focus and feel at ease at the office. As any designer would tell you, optimizing design and managing noise levels more efficiently fosters creativity and innovation. Here's how:

1. Take a Page from the University's Book
Switching from college desk to corporate office is a slow and sometimes painful transition. Working on the go is something graduates continue to yearn for even as their office looks nothing like the campus. It's entirely achievable with an office that focuses on flexible and movable furniture created for remote and spontaneous work.

2. Go from Unisex to Universal
It used to be that an inclusive work environment meant one where men and women worked together in harmony. Today, it's about catering to people of all abilities and ages. In other words, your office interior design needs to make work accessible to everyone, using specific types of furniture that is the right weight and placed at just the right height or distance. To round it off, you need to back up this approach with the latest technology and the right kind of general office attitude toward diversity.

3. Listen to What 'Mother Nature' Has to Say
Green never goes out of style. If there's one thing a plant will never be, it's 'outdated'. So, swap expensive end-to-end, turn-key designs for low-maintenance plants and trees that can turn your décor into something truly inspirational.

4. Light Up with Excitement
It goes without saying that people need fresh air and daylight aplenty to give it their best on the job. Don't let seasonal affective disorder or bad mood hold them down. If your windows aren't large enough, resort to glass, mirrors and other shiny and reflective surfaces to make the most of the light ingress.

5. Look Outside the Cage
Considering all aspects of office, check one last thing before you give the designer the go-ahead. Is it pet-friendly? Studies suggest one in two people worldwide have at least one pet, and it's not unusual to have a pet awareness day at the office every now and then. Some companies even go out of their way to have their own workplace pet. If that sounds like something you'd like to have for your employees, then it could be time to start making the office feel at home to more than one species.

6. Be Smart with Art
Is the photo frame on your desk the one and only accent piece at the office? You need only say the word, and your office interior design will be brimming with character. Opt for youthful colour schemes and don't be afraid of unusual contemporary combinations, such as mint and copper, blush and gold, soft Greek blue and silver, etc.

Author Bio:

Reno is the founder and director of Enigma Visual Solutions, a leading office interior design and office fit-out Company in London, specializing in retail designs, graphic productions, signage systems, office refurbishment, event branding, office space planning and much more. He specializes in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.

Tags:
Continue reading
503 Hits

2016 SMB Salary Survey Results: Educated and Educated!

2016 SMB Salary Survey Results: Educated and Educated!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The 2016 SMB Salary Survey is now complete. I’m excited to share results over the next few weeks. Let’s get started.

Education
As we always knew – we’re educated. The facts are this. 
• SMB 2016 four-year degree attainment: 44%
• US Average: 32%
The difference is 31.58 percent or nearly one-third. This isn’t a huge surprise as we’re in a technical professional field where education isn’t only a tool but the road to greater professional competence and success.

Age
Oh my! The majority of the respondents were 51-58 in age with no one between 18-25. Houston we have a problem! Close behind was the 43-50 age group. Interestingly I’m seeing young people engage in other areas of technology such as coding, a byproduct of Coder DoJo and Hour of Code in our schools. The median age in the US labor force is roughly 42 years old. By the way, our older demographic suggests there will be a wave of consolidations in the near future. More on that in a future column.

Job Title
Here is the best news of all in my opinion. Over 80 percent (actually 81.49%) of us are business owners, a highly desirable group for several reasons. First, you have much more experience and business acumen than you likely acknowledge. You’re not some corporate Dilbert in a cubicle repeats the same tasks daily. You’re much closer to a wild catter solving new problems daily. You’re something of a risk taker, forgoing the gold watch after 30-years of corporate service. Right on! We are real people living in the real world! You can count yourself as someone who has started, own and operated a business – experience you can’t buy.

IT Experience
This is good and bad news and goes right to the heart of start-over challenges. The good news is that you are certainly competent in your profession (16+ years in IT). The bad news, in my humble opinion, is you might be stuck in your ways. My evidence is both quantitative and qualitative: survey results and conversations. My concern is that you are likely riding the server-side down to the bottom and not tapping your business acumen to perhaps provide Marketing 2.0 consulting services (CRM list AttachedApps; marketing automation systems like Marketo). Experience is a double edged sword. You don’t want too little; you don’t want too much. Like porridge, you want it just right. You read it here first!

Continue reading
1397 Hits
4 Comments