After the Break In: 5 Top Security Tips from Our CEO

Business Security Physical Security

As a managed service provider, we’re always educating our clients about cyber security risks and best prevention practices, including backup and disaster recovery. But we’re switching gears to share some insights on physical security that came together after a recent office break-in. 

Physical security is more important than ever for businesses as state laws change to protect the data we create. It just isn’t safe anymore to leave a laptop in your car or equipment out in the open on your office desk. A disgruntled employee, the cleaning crew or just a smash-and-grab break-in can leave any business exposed.

In 22 years of working with small businesses in the Seattle market, it was SWAT’s time to get stung. Our offices at SWAT Systems were recently broken into late one night. Here are a few pieces of advice we can offer to keep your business safe.

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1. Reassess Doors and Locks

Do not take it for granted a metal door and a card key door lock system will keep you safe. Fortify with extra door locks and a door security bar. In our case, the door opened into the building, giving the intruders leverage to kick and pry their way into the building. 

2. Consider Alarms and Access Panels

We had an alarm system and it did go off —  an internal sound blasted the area. But, once the alarm panel was torn off the wall, the sound stopped. Check to make sure this is not how your system works. We are looking into a product called “smoke cloak” that fills the room with smoke and loud noises.

3. Invest In Next-Gen Security Cameras

SWAT had 2K security cameras in place that were great for 2010. While the cost for a 4K system is higher, it would have given us higher resolution images. On a rainy night, that could have made it easier to identify the make and the model of the car used by our thieves. Learn from our mistake: Get those 4K cameras up.

Newer technology around AI and speakers is coming to the market. The camera systems now can recognize human activity and send a message over a speaker telling the bad guys to leave the area. (Learn more about this feature.) 

Even the 2K footage we captured helped with the insurance claim. When you see images of a bad guy leaving with a safe, pants down and hoodie up, it makes your insurance claim legit.

4. Plan for Your People’s Safety

In Seattle, do not expect the police to arrive any time soon: Here, human violence trumps property damage. It was over 2 ½ hours before the police showed up. This left our staff at the building exposed and waiting. Have a plan so that no one person is left at the building alone. 

5. Make Policy Changes

Immediately after the break-in, we found our exposed spots, including overexposed inventory and equipment on desks that should have been checked back into inventory. We realized the need for physical lighting outside. Drive encryption discussions came up, along with what to do with client equipment after hours. Do we remote wipe the equipment right away? Do we geotag the equipment and send that information to the police? These policy discussions are still a work in progress, but we can never be as prepared as we want to be. We all need to create a security culture. Think about training and what-if scenarios. Work with your insurance company to know what will happen.

Helping You Stay Safe

We hope you never have to face this kind of scenario, but it pays to be prepared. If you have questions about securing your IT hardware, data security, installing security systems or video surveillance options, we’re happy to share our knowledge. Stay safe out there, everybody!

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