Dealing With Security Issues: Preventing Cyberattacks and Otherwise on Your Business

Hacking and other cyber-related breaches continue to be ongoing risks for small businesses, but additional everyday issues, such as shoplifting, are increasingly adding to the challenges retailers face.

Over $13 billion worth of merchandise is stolen from retailers every year, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. Some small businesses are reporting a rise in shoplifting incidents.

More than half (54 percent) of the small business owners surveyed by said shoplifting had increased in 2021, including the number of incidents during their peak holiday shopping seasons last year.

About 89 percent of those surveyed reported onsite customer theft in 2021, a 1 percent increase over the 2020 report by One in four small businesses report dealing with the issue weekly, the survey said, according to the post by Alex Kerai.

Small-business owners reported that daily shoplifting nearly doubled in 2021 compared to 2020, the survey said.

Dealing With Onsite Theft

Retail groups and crime prevention professionals recommend business owners invest in and install cameras to help combat shoplifting.

Even if the technology doesn’t go as far as face recognition, they say, just having cameras placed inside and outside your store can serve as a deterrent to thefts.

Also, some smaller retailers will use inside-store policies to help reduce shoplifting incidents. For example, a small business could start requiring anyone under 15 years old to come in without a guardian.

Another shoplifting-thwarting policy to consider is a ban on groups of more than four people inside your store or a requirement that customers check their coats or bags before shopping.

Further, experts say small business owners must have clearly marked areas, specifically those that are off-limits to customers.

“Lock dressing room doors when unattended and post signs for employee-only spaces,” says a SCORE post about shoplifting prevention.

Keeping your store clean and organized can also help prevent and help you track shoplifting losses.

“It’s hard to notice when items go missing when shelves and counters are cluttered and disorganized,” notes the SCORE blog. “Consider only setting out a certain number of any one item and keeping the rest in the stock room, so you can keep better track your inventory.”

Fighting Off Cybersecurity Threats

While most small business owners recognize the threat of a possible cyberattack, many say budget constraints or other limitations often keep them from enacting extensive protection measures.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, a recent survey indicated that 88 percent of small business owners thought their operations were susceptible to a cyberattack. 

“Yet many businesses can’t afford professional IT solutions, have limited time to devote to cybersecurity, or they don’t know where to begin,” the SBA said in a post on its website.

Some of the oft-shared cybersecurity steps can be taken with no cost or a low cost to your business, such as changing passwords often or using and updating antivirus and antispyware software on all of your computers.

Also, IT security professionals say small businesses should take measures to secure their computer networks.

“Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information,” the SBA cautions. “If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden.”

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