For small business owners, the threat of a break-in is constant and grave. In many cases, these companies have small headquarters with only a handful of rooms, making them quick and easy targets for criminals looking to score cash or equipment. The bad news is, the threat never goes away – there will always be thieves looking to take advantage of poorly-protected offices. The good news is, small businesses can protect themselves.

There is no one-stop solution for breaking and entering deterrence. Rather, managers and owners should take a holistic approach to building security by employing every possible protection. Additionally, companies cannot get lazy and neglect proper security practices. A breach can happen anytime – constant vigilance is key.

Always keep your guard up
Most break-ins are the result of carelessness, Sean Ahrens, head of Aon's security practice in Chicago, explained to the Omaha World-Herald.

"We're in an era of complacency. We only get ratcheted up after something happens," Ahrens told the news source.

Rather than taking a reactive stance, companies should be proactive and use preventative techniques to deter criminals. Just because break-ins are rare does not mean they should not be considered a possibility at any given time. Law enforcement officials recommend businesses use several methods of protection, each one backing up the other, so that maximum security is maintained.

"We try to encourage businesses to take more than just one precaution – an alarm, cameras, a safe built into the floor, putting the valuables in that safe, not keeping lots of cash on hand," Sergeant Erin Payne of the Omaha Police Department told the Omaha World-Herald. "We try to teach them to use several layers of protection."

Criminals are growing increasingly sophisticated, and some of them may be able to thwart one security measure. But the presence of multiple systems should prove effective.

The multiple front approach
The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) suggests that companies should protect themselves on three fronts: cyber, personnel and physical. While cyber security may seem a separate threat from personnel and building security, it is still connected. Hackers could potentially compromise security codes for your building and safe via online records.

Most importantly, CPNI highlights the idea that a shortcoming in any one of these three fronts could be what leads to a devastating breach. Installing an expensive security card reader on the entrance is of little use if a company hires untrustworthy individuals that take advantage of their access.

CPNI also noted two key aspects of security systems: they must be appropriate and proportionate. Managers and owners should prioritize the most valuable or exposed areas first and foremost. Every building has its weak points, and every company has a different budget, so starting with the most at-risk areas is paramount. Companies should also be sure the cost of the security does not exceed the value of what it is protecting, and use a platform that is proportionate to the threat. Finally, small businesses should take a long-term approach – plan for the integration of a system that will be effective for the foreseeable future rather than a quick fix.

By following these guidelines and maintaining the right attitude toward building security, small companies will be able to negate any threats that come their way and maintain a lasting, effective solution.

Security equipment and surveillance industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in security equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.