When you’re running a small business, even a small security breach can affect you greatly. Whether it’s theft of some of your product or a cyberattack, a security issue can cause you to close your doors and lose revenue. In order to ensure your business is safe from harm, conduct a security SWOT analysis on your business. Review your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to identify how you can best keep your business safe.
Cybersecurity and Physical Security SWOT Analysis
These days, it’s not enough to just lock your business’s doors at the end of the day. In addition to the physical security of your business, you also have to consider the cybersecurity of your business and customer data.
When conducting your security SWOT analysis, it’s important to think of the safety of your business from every possible angle. As a strategic planning tool, the SWOT analysis can help your business to identify:
- Areas where you are succeeding in keeping your business safe
- Elements that could compromise security for your business
- New technologies or processes you can implement to improve the security of your business
- External problems that your business may face
Confirm Your Strengths
Begin your security SWOT analysis by looking at the areas of physical security and cybersecurity that are currently protecting your business from potential harm. Your physical strengths may include only keeping $100 in float in the cash register in the evening, ensuring all your doors and windows are securely locked and installing an alarm system for when the business is closed. These measures help to ensure no threats can enter your business and do much damage.
From a cyber perspective, your strengths may include having strong passwords on all of your computers, regularly updating all of the anti-virus software on all of your systems and having a detailed access policy for certain documents and systems. This way, you can be sure that no unauthorized personnel are accessing your business’s data.
Learn From Your Weaknesses
By knowing your weaknesses, you can develop a strategy and implement a plan to improve the physical security and cybersecurity of your business. Keep in mind that improving security could create additional expenses for your business. However, the return on investing in your security may be priceless.
From a physical standpoint, you may have allowed too many employees to learn the access code for your alarm security system. This increases the chances of external people learning your code. A quick and easy solution would be to change your code and only give it to key employees whom you trust.
From a cyber perspective, a weakness may be that your employees use their own phones, laptops and tablets to access your systems. As a result, you cannot control the security on their devices, which could mean a data breach. Installing a virtual private network for employees to go through when using their own devices outside of your network to access your system will help increase your security.
Identify Security Opportunities
Figuring out opportunities to improve the physical security and cybersecurity for your business not only provides peace of mind but it helps you develop a plan to implement going forward. Opportunities may include instituting a new store-closing process where cash is dropped into the store safe. It may also involve looking into cloud storage for your business and customer data, ensuring that the information is backed up off-site.
In addition to looking at the opportunities to keep your business secure from external threats, you can also look into opportunities to keep your employees safe from your business’s elements. For example, a SWOT analysis for the safety department of a research lab would include purchasing new safety goggles and training employees on how to use specific chemicals.
Protect Against Security Threats
Threats your business may face include external elements that are out of your control, such as fire, theft, computer viruses and hacking attempts. Figure out which threats are most likely for your business. If you’re located on the boardwalk near a body of water, your business could face flooding if the water levels rise. If you’re located in a high-crime area, theft may be your biggest threat.
A security SWOT analysis example that reviews the threats for a retailer that has a large amount of customer data may include the theft of customer details. If breached, the retailer could face litigation from customers whose information was stolen. Implementing a secure firewall and consulting with a cybersecurity professional can help alleviate that threat.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.