When thinking about crime prevention, businesses may not immediately come to mind. However, it is crucial to recognize that companies face various threats, such as cyber-attacks, employee theft and fraud, among other crimes. These incidents necessitate the quick reallocation of resources to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the business.
This article delves into seven indispensable crime prevention strategies organizations should consider to safeguard their business continuity and how a mass notification system can help support these initiatives. By implementing these proactive measures, businesses can mitigate risks, fortify their defenses and effectively combat the harmful impacts of criminal activities.
1. Conduct regular risk assessments and operational security checks
One essential strategy for a business to prevent crime is conducting regular risk assessments. A risk assessment identifies vulnerabilities and weak points within an organization. By evaluating potential threats, including physical security risks, cybersecurity loopholes and operational weaknesses, organizations can proactively address and fortify areas prone to criminal activities.
In virtually every organization, vulnerabilities can create potential issues during emergencies and routine operations. Additionally, companies with dispersed or hybrid workforces can be particularly vulnerable if staff members are difficult to contact or traveling. From poorly marked exits to insufficient computer virus protection, vulnerabilities must be identified and action plans put into place to address these weaknesses.
Operational security (OPSEC) is a systematic approach to risk assessment by viewing potential risks from the attacker’s point of view. The OPSEC concept encompasses a range of practices and measures aimed at protecting valuable assets and maintaining information confidentiality, integrity and availability. By considering the tactics and strategies that potential adversaries might employ, organizations can identify vulnerabilities and implement countermeasures to mitigate risks.
Embracing OPSEC principles allows businesses to enhance their security posture and protect themselves from external and internal threats. By diligently analyzing operations from an adversary’s perspective, organizations can stay one step ahead of potential threats and maintain a robust security posture in an ever-evolving threat landscape.
Regroup Mass Notification offers a risk assessment performed by one of its experienced Security Advisors. This important step creates an environment that safeguards your employees and business from the threats most likely to occur at your location based on history and probability.
2. Threat Intelligence
Within the past few years, threat intelligence has become a buzzword in security. However, many organizations may not understand what it is, how it works or how it can help them improve their safety and security measures. At its core, threat intelligence is gathering of information about potential threats to your organization, including tools and tactics malicious actors use to break into systems and networks and the resulting emergency situations that may occur.
Threat intelligence involves gathering data from various vetted sources, including open-source internet scanning, network data and other data points provided by partners. It also involves analyzing this data to identify patterns and other useful information. Threat intelligence teams then use this data to create reports, find insights and share them with others to help them defend against threats.
Threat intelligence, such as Regroup’s Threat Intelligence Suite, is an essential security component because it helps organizations understand their adversaries and potentially dangerous situations and learn more about their attack methods, probability of occurring and more. This, in turn, helps organizations improve their defenses, response time and planning for when things happen.
At its core, a good threat intelligence program can help you identify potential threats to your organization and reduce your risks. At the highest level, threat intelligence should help you answer four questions:
- Who are the attackers?
- What are their tactics and tools?
- What are their targets?
- What emergency situations are most likely to occur?
An accurate assessment of the threat landscape can help you better understand your organization’s risks and create mitigation plans. It can also help you prioritize your security efforts by focusing on areas where you face the most significant threats. By knowing more about the threats you face, you will be better prepared to bolster your organization against them and respond more effectively should a crisis arise. This also helps minimize the damage and speed up the recovery process.
3. Create a security and business continuity plan
After identifying the possible risks to the business, the next crime prevention strategy is to create a security plan. A business security plan encompasses a set of policies and procedures governing the handling of security and mitigating threats within your business.
A comprehensive security plan ensures key stakeholders are informed and prioritizes the safety and productivity of individuals. Below are some essential steps to consider when constructing a business security plan.
Establish a Team
Identify the managers, individuals and stakeholders responsible for implementing action plans when security breaches, emergencies and other disruptions occur. From these, it is smart to form a preparedness committee that can coordinate efforts for emergency response. While one person should lead the process, input from all operational areas should be considered throughout the planning process.
Identify Necessary Functions
It’s important to identify the business functions that are critical for the business to sustain operations during a crisis, such as: if your business is disrupted due to a security breach, what specific functions, if interrupted, could lead to a loss of revenue? Which functions must be performed to satisfy regulatory requirements? Besides identifying these functions, your business will need to establish how essential functions will be carried out in specific crimes, such as a cyber attack.
Having an updated inventory of assets can make recovering from a crime faster and simpler. An updated inventory of assets and property can help speed the reimbursement process. If you are not already conducting an annual inventory of corporate assets, your operational resilience is at greater risk.
Test and Evaluate Your Plan
Conducting regular drills can be beneficial for establishing your business continuity plans. Announced and unannounced drills will help you identify areas of concern, employee readiness and flaws in your response. By conducting drills and testing your response plan, you will be better able to revise as needed and review areas of weaknesses for each critical business function.
To assess the effectiveness of a security plan for a business, it is essential to adhere to the plan, monitor its performance and implement necessary changes. The team responsible for the security plan must review the objectives and goals and determine if they are being achieved. Measuring the plan’s performance through ongoing evaluations and adjustments helps maintain the efficacy of the security plan.
Regroup Mass Notification can help your organization create a security and emergency management plan (EMP) that includes response and recovery protocols, communications during crises and identifying team members and their roles. This EMP ensures the utmost safety during events that threaten employees and assets.
4. Develop a communication plan
When developing a security plan, you must identify how teams are contacted during a security event. Since coordination is vital for the best outcomes during critical events, having a solid communication plan (and the technology to support it) is imperative for business continuity.
Consider using an all-hazards approach when establishing a communications strategy for business continuity. This more comprehensive approach to preparedness and response can make your operational resilience planning more flexible. Using communication or alert templates can make this task easier when moments count.
In communicating during business disruptions, it is important to identify audience groups. Those who are required to take action will need clear and concise direction from leadership. This may include employees, vendors and other stakeholders. Trickle-down communication can only be effective when the right individuals are provided with accurate information.
Improving Communication for Operational Resilience
- Use multiple channels of communication
- Identify audience and stakeholders
- Use communication templates for clarity
- Use an all-hazards approach during crises
- Conduct communications drills
- Include a post-crisis communication plan
Being prepared through your communication plan for best- and worst-case scenarios can help save valuable time and ensure optimal operational resilience.
As with preparedness planning, communication planning can be more effectively accomplished by following a strategy, including:
- Identify team members, roles and responsibilities
- Coordinate with local officials, emergency services and police
- Conduct announced and unannounced drills
- Simulate atypical situations that could arise during a crisis
- Test and improve emergency warning procedures and systems
- Conduct post-drill review and ask for feedback
5. Select the Right Communication Tools
Because security disruptions to routine business can directly affect the bottom line, it is important that companies have the right communication tools to complement their security and communication plans. And as businesses evolve, tools that are scalable and flexible are essential.
Mass notification – a technology many organizations use for routine business – has its genesis in emergency alerting. Because of its multi-channel architecture, mass notification makes it possible to reach large numbers of people on their preferred devices, no matter where they are.
Because teams have become more dispersed or hybrid, relying on email alone has become an insufficient means of communicating. Adding a mass notification platform to the mix can better manage business-critical communications day to day and during disruptions.
What Makes Mass Notification Different
- Multi-channel delivery
- Cloud-based and encrypted
- Unaffected by power outages
- Reaches people anywhere
- Enables two-way communication
Not all mass notification platforms are alike. For a system to provide the best tools for emergency alerting needs, one must consider the platform’s features and capabilities. Before committing to any mass notification provider, make certain it provides the following:
During times of emergency, sending and receiving important notifications must be simple and quick.
Cloud-Based Fail-Safe Features
Your platform should operate reliably even during power outages or cellular tower disruptions.
Mass notification systems that integrate with the National Weather Service, NOAA and IPAWS can alert automatically during severe weather events.
The right solution allows two-way communications for advising others and getting updates from affected areas.
Predefined templates can help save time during emergencies and serve to ensure messages are accurate.
The right solution should include a companion mobile app, allowing people to receive alerts wherever they are.
Desktop alerts can be pushed out instantly to team members who are on-site or working remotely.
A mass notification system that allows geo-specific alerts can help you target only those in an affected area.
6. Automate tasks
Automating tasks is a crucial strategy for crime prevention due to several reasons. First, automation minimizes the potential risks associated with human error. By leveraging automation, companies can utilize technology to execute repetitive tasks with minimal human involvement, significantly reducing manual errors and enhancing overall security.
Relying solely on manual operations can lead to various security challenges. Furthermore, manual tasks may introduce errors and inconsistencies, making systems more susceptible to compliance violations and targeted attacks. This lack of robust security measures can have far-reaching consequences, including unexpected and costly downtime and decreased overall system functionality.
Automating tasks mitigates these risks and enables businesses to establish a more proactive security posture. By automating routine and repetitive processes, organizations can allocate valuable human resources to more strategic and critical security initiatives. This allows skilled professionals to focus on higher-level tasks such as threat intelligence analysis, incident response and policy development, strengthening the overall security framework of the business.
7. Plan for Recovery
When developing a business security plan, it is vital to prioritize recovery planning during a security incident. Recovery planning encompasses crucial steps such as repairing damage to affected systems, addressing residual attacks, calculating costs incurred and notifying relevant parties. These elements are essential for restoring normalcy and minimizing the impact of the incident.
Effective communication inside and outside the organization is an integral aspect of recovery planning. Establishing clear and efficient communication pathways between the response team and the rest of the organization ensures relevant information is promptly shared with the appropriate individuals. At the same time, external information can be coordinated through logging calls or developing a process for crafting and disseminating press releases.
Furthermore, recovery planning should address the need for comprehensive documentation. Thoroughly documenting the incident, including details of the damage action taken during the response and costs incurred, is crucial for post-incident analysis and future improvement. This documentation serves as a valuable resource for evaluating the effectiveness of the recovery process and identifying areas where enhancements can be made.
Like individuals, businesses can fall victim to crime, experiencing physical, economic and emotional trauma that hampers their functioning. Prioritizing crime prevention strategies can effectively combat the harmful impacts of criminal activities and safeguard business continuity.
Assessing security vulnerabilities and risks and using threat intelligence can help a business form a security plan to reduce the chances and mitigate damage from a security incident. In addition, having the right communication tools is crucial to the effectiveness of an organization’s security and communication plans.
Using a mass notification system to complement your security, communication and recovery plans offers a variety of real-world benefits. With its multi-channel platform, a mass notification system, such as Regroup Mass Notification, enables organizations to reach large numbers of people via their preferred communication methods and devices, regardless of location. Features such as automated alerts, two-way communication and desktop alerts enhance the system’s effectiveness in security situations.
Regroup’s security and risk mitigation services help organizations protect their people, property, and brands while reducing risk and preparing for the unexpected. Our trusted and highly credentialed Security Advisors provide each Regroup client with a comprehensive risk assessment, tailored emergency management, active shooter plans and customized training.
To learn more about how Regroup Mass notification can help boost your organization’s security measures and response, schedule a free demo.