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If you’re getting your startup up and running, then you know that it takes a lot of effort and time. It also takes a lot of resources. No matter the size of the business, you are investing resources in it, and we’re not just talking about financial resources. Startup owners are also prepared to invest their time, energy, and emotions in something they truly believe in.
So when you’ve finally hung up that (virtual or physical) "We’re Open" sign, you can breathe a sigh of relief. But you also know that the work is just getting started. And there’s something that a lot of startups and even small business owners tend to overlook when building their business from scratch: safety and security.
When considering the safety of your business, it can be easy to get hyper-focused on one aspect. But your business's safety precautions should address various elements. Continue reading for our list of basic safety considerations for startups:
It’s never too early to start talking about safety and security within your business. In fact, these considerations should be a part of your startup’s foundation. A solid business foundation is not only having a great business idea, but also how you operationalize it and ensure that it is built to last. For that, you’ll need to have safety precautions in place.
No matter which industry you’re in, internal and external threats exist. In order to ensure your startup is ready to be launched into the world, you first need to perform a risk assessment. This ensures that the safety program you implement addresses the gaps that the risk assessment will identify. The risk assessment should not only cover your systems but also the on-the-job hazards that could apply to your workers.
It can be tempting to always go with whatever’s new and top of the line when it comes to your systems and cloud solutions. But that’s not always the best option for your business. Make sure to streamline your solutions. This way, you’ll be able to laser-focus on securing one or two platforms instead of having your cybersecurity team have to do multiple checks on various solutions. That’s not only expensive and time-consuming, but it can also open up your business and clients to breaches. When in doubt, consult with experts so you can craft the best and most simple tech solutions that are also relatively easy to secure. Simple and streamlined startup security practices can help ensure your business continues running at a high level and keeps exposure to risks at a minimum.
If you have on-site operations, it’s essential to ensure the physical security not only of your company’s trade secrets but also the safety of your employees. Make sure your infrastructure is compliant with government regulations (example: Fire Code requirements) and is aligned with the recommended Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) standards.
To keep external threats out, it’s important to have security measures in place. Practices such as proper use of company ID and baggage scans are a given. CCTV and other alarm systems may seem like a huge investment but can save you from headaches in the future.
Even when you’ve enforced the best hybrid architecture for maximum security, you shouldn’t put the responsibility for protecting company and client data solely on your cybersecurity or IT team. This responsibility should be shared throughout the workforce. And a great way to empower your employees is to first equip them with the right information and highlight how they contribute to the safety and security of the business.
Easy-to-understand online learning modules as well as regular reminders on the most basic safety practices like never sharing your password or allowing another person to use your ID to enter the premises can help solidify your startup’s commitment to workplace safety. Additionally, creating digestible and constant resources helps even those who are not IT professionals understand the important role they play in keeping your business safe from threats.
Your employees help keep your business running. But it’s important to remember that they are not machines (although it’s important to note that machines can overheat too). There are studies that show overworking employees can lead to increased stress and a higher likelihood of workplace injuries and accidents. If you want to create a truly safe business, you need to make your workplace, whether virtual or physical, a safe place for your employees. This does not only mean encouraging employees to take well-deserved breaks (parental leave policy, mental health leave, etc.), but also constantly reviewing employees’ workload and hours. Leaders should also be trained in how to effectively manage a team and help raise the alarm if additional help is needed.
Additionally, companies should equip their workers with the right tools and information to ensure they can do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible. Proper lighting, ventilation, and even an inclusive company culture are all parts of a safe workplace.
If there’s anything recent history has taught us, it's that we can never be truly prepared for everything. But it’s important to still try. Plans like skeletal or remote work arrangements in cases of emergencies and regular data backups are some examples of practices that should be included in your business continuity documents. Of course, we’re hoping you won’t need them, but business continuity plans can help your company address potential risks and have backup systems to ensure your company can weather literal or metaphorical storms.
Getting your startup off the ground is not an easy feat. New challenges may come up every day, and it seems like you either have to roll with the punches or roll over. But if you truly believe in your startup, you’re hopefully choosing to go with the former—plus do your due diligence in securing your business.