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The Biggest Physical Security Threats Facing Businesses

Over the past decade or so, there’s been an increase in awareness of cyberthreats for small businesses. And while cybersecurity is a vital part of your operations, many businesses have focused on digital security protocol while putting physical security plans on the sidelines.

In today’s world, we have to think about all the security threats to your business, from theft and fraud to biohazards and natural disasters. It is of the utmost importance to have a comprehensive security strategy that protects your business against the greatest risks.

Common Threats to Security in Small Businesses

Here are some of the most common security threats small businesses face.

Workplace Violence

According to a report by Techjury, over two million people experience workplace violence every year. And that’s only what is reported, so it’s estimated that the figure could be much higher. Around 14% of people don’t feel safe in the workplace.

Workplace violence can occur between workers, between customers and employees, from personal relationships, and from criminal intent. Another report estimates that 79% of incidents are caused by people who shouldn’t have been in the building in the first place.


Retail businesses often face loss due to theft. Modern criminals are getting smarter and more savvy. They know that one security guard can’t handle more than one person at a time, so “flash crime mobs” are becoming a thing.

Criminals also learn that in many stores, the employees are told to do nothing. Billions of dollars each year are lost through theft. More businesses are implementing resources that protect high-dollar assets and using technology and security to gain a foothold over the criminals.

Natural Disasters

From fires to flooding, tornadoes to CO poisoning, the list of natural disasters that can attack your business is long. Early detection warning systems have mitigated many of the risks associated with natural disasters, but only if your business has those systems in place before you need them.

OSHA may not require evacuation drills, but we highly recommend implementing them. It’s important that employees know what to do when a crisis occurs, and that you know exactly which employees are on the property at all times.


The pandemic brought protecting the physical health of employees to the forefront. Your business may be more at risk from the simple spread of the flu virus or COVID-19 than you may think. Knowing who was in the office during exposure to a disease is vital to controlling the further spread of infection.

Determine Your Risks

You need to assess your risk from common types of threats to know what type of strategy to have in place. You may not need a hurricane plan, but you should still think about fires, tornadoes, and bad thunderstorms when it comes to natural disasters.

Maybe you’re located in a good building and aren’t worried about criminals breaking in, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have other threats to your security. Looking at where you’re vulnerable can help prevent the next threat.  

Components of a Physical Security System

Current technology gives a business many ways to reduce the risk of threats, but it may take a layered approach using multiple security methods. Here are four elements of a security system that can help your business be more secure.

  • Deterrence measures — these security methods keep people out of a space. Doors and walls are physical barriers, but adding technology to control who can gain access to certain spaces can prevent unauthorized people from getting in.
  • Detection measures — deterrents may keep people out, but you also need other options that alert you when security is at risk. Deterrents include alarms or automatic notifications when a space is invaded.
  • Delay measures — in some cases, there are ways to slow intruders down if they attempt to enter the building. Requiring credentials or a key card can delay an intruder.
  • Response measures — this aspect of physical security components includes contacting first responders or locking down the building, depending on the threat.

What Physical Security Measures Can Do for Your Business

Combining the different elements of physical security measures gives you more control over threats. Your alarm system can tell you when a breach has occurred. If you have CCTV cameras in place, you can get sensitive information about what is going on and assess the situation. Your response system can get first responders or law enforcement to the building quicker than if you called.

Access control can be implemented at various levels throughout your building, making it harder for criminals to enter the building. You can place access controls at the parking lot, any doors that let you into the building, then again at different rooms where you want even more control. These access controls can help identify who is in the building in case of a natural disaster, helping first responders know where to search first.

Implement surveillance tools both inside and outside the building to know what is happening around the facility. These cameras can be set to provide real-time monitoring and to see previously recorded activity. Some companies even use the information from these surveillance tools to audit the system and determine where security needs to be increased.

Education is just as important as your security technology. Employees and administrators need to know what to do when a threat occurs and understand how your system works. Much like the fire drills that schools have, businesses should have emergency security training. Employees will feel safer when they understand the systems in place to deter and respond to threats.

U.S. Protective Services offers commercial security systems that monitor and respond to threats within your business. Knowing that you’ve done everything you can to prevent problems in your business is an excellent way to achieve peace of mind.

We tailor a system to your business to protect it against the biggest threats you face. Then, we walk you through the process, so you know how to use it. We use only the best technology to improve your business’s security. Contact us to receive a free quote!