“Man maintains his poise, balance and sense of security only as he is moving forward,” famed surgeon Maxwell Maltz once quipped. This is especially true in business. Without constantly maintained warehouse security, any other tech upgrade or customer service enhancement is basically useless. How long do you think you can maintain a great market share if a hacker sells your blueprints to all of your competitors after stealing them from an exploit in your network? With this in mind, here are some of the things to look for to determine if your warehouse is as safe as it should be.
INVEST IN HIGH TECH HARDWARE (AND SOFTWARE).
This may seem like a no brainer, but you might be surprised at the number of companies who try to protect multimillion dollar investments in proprietary, highly technical inventory using security from ten years ago. They may be complacent or cocky, thinking that simply remaining below the radar will protect them, but any company with any computer online at any time is at risk of being located and raided either physically or digitally. If hackers with minimal resources can make their way into FBI and Fortune 500 company files, then you owe it to yourself to take the threat of a breach seriously at all times.
High tech hardware goes beyond cameras attached to entryway doors, and it even goes beyond the number of cameras that you have installed. You need digital protection as well – 35 percent of all warehouse thefts are now done digitally, not physically. You can now invest in systems that allow you to monitor your inventory from your smart phone anywhere in the world as well, so you can maintain personal control over the space if you feel more comfortable that way. However, if you invest in one of these systems, you may benefit from a company that keeps a visual and audio recording in the cloud, with records that cannot be directly accessed even if the physical camera is hacked.
If you are investing in third party distribution or fulfillment (3PF), then make sure that your fulfillment company keeps records outside of the physical location of the warehouse. One “low tech” security measure that works extremely well, however, is convex mirrors. Convex security mirrors allow security guards to see around corners, and they also help employees see around corners during the workday. Look for these.
INCREASE ACCESS SECURITY.
Is every person who comes near your inventory signing in, and do you have digital and visual records of these interactions? If you have more than one entrance, shut all of them down to all but a select few, and keep one entrance, the most secured one, as the guest entrance. Make all guests to the facility sign in, and keep records of employees as well through your payment system. If there is an internal breach, you should have physical security on hand to escort the offender away from the grounds and call the police.
There is no reason that people with different jobs should be able to access each other. For instance, drivers usually have no need to access the interior of the warehouse. You can designate a special waiting area for drivers if they must remain on the grounds for some reason after dropping off or before picking up an order, but under no circumstances should they have access that resembles the access of the interior employees.
If you are invested in a 3PF facility, make sure that you see physical security on the grounds, signs that point out the guest entrance and the sign in policy, and that the grounds close off all other entrances. Find out if the facility has any agreements with local police officers to patrol the facility. You may also ask if the facility conducts safety compliance audits of the facility and its operations. It is recommended that a warehouse conduct this audit at least twice a year. You may also ask about two man rules, an internal security measure that requires at least two employees to be present when an especially sensitive part of the warehouse is accessed.
All of the sensitive electronic data points within a warehouse should be password protected with the latest encryption and a unique entry for each person with the ability to access the point at all. The most important data points to consider are shipping points, load points, put away points and receiving points.
If you are invested in a 3PF facility, you can ask for a password tier structure without asking for actual passwords. You will be able to see exactly who can access the parts of the warehouse with your inventory, an approximate amount of traffic that is around your inventory per day and approximate schedules of when the data point will be accessed by these people on average. Do not be afraid to ask for the background information of any employee who will be accessing your inventory more than normal, and make sure that your chosen 3PF facility has background checks on all employees.
Keep in mind that hacker cloud attacks have increased 15 to 20 percent over the past year, and as criminals realize that more data from warehouses is kept in the cloud, these attacks will increase. The answer is to have a comprehensive data security system with local components as well as components in the cloud.
Since the times of Marcus Tullius Cicero, who said, “The safety of the people shall be the highest law,” leaders have known that security supersedes all else in business. If you make this the prevailing attitude of your company towards its investments, you will find your pathway to success clearer. When you are ready to protect your inventory with experienced professionals who know warehouse safety, give the good people at Ottawa Logistics a call or an email. We are more than ready to help you protect your investment in any capacity that you need us.
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