Protecting your valuables, assets and sensitive items is crucial for any business. But will a lockable filing cabinet do, or should you invest in a proper safe? Here are some of the main reasons for choosing a safe.
- You deal with cash: Any business handling cash should definitely have a safe on the premises, to protect against potential losses resulting from theft, fraud or burglary.
- You possess sensitive data: If your business handles sensitive information, such as a government department or financial business, these should be locked away for data protection, or indeed incase of fire. A locked filing cabinet will be suitable for some information, but you need to think carefully about how sensitive the information is and therefore whether you need a safe.
- You handle controlled drugs: As a pharmaceutical company, hospital or care facility, you need to keep controlled drugs under lock and key.
- You possess guns, air rifles or firearms: These must be kept in a locked, purpose built gun cabinet and the cabinet must be secured to the floor, wall or both.
- You have crucial or sensitive electronic data: If you keep data on passports, flash drives or other electronic storage, this should be securely locked away to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.
- Your insurance policy requires it: Some insurance agreements require you to use a safe to secure valuable or sensitive items.
If you aren’t sure if a safe is the right choice for your business, think about what it is you’ll put in it. If it’s just a few documents or some personnel files, chances are a fireproof filing cabinet will do a fair job. If it’s cash, deeds, medicines or other potentially risky items, a safe is your ‘safest’ bet.
Considerations before purchasing a safe
There are a few key questions to ask yourself. By answering these questions you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and think about what features and functions you need to look for in a safe.
Do you need insurance cover for the items you are putting in the safe? If so, you should talk to your insurer before making a purchase, as they may specify a particular security grade or cash rating.
How much are the items you’re going to be putting into the safe worth? If you’re dealing with cash, this is easy enough to calculate. However, if you’re dealing with less tangible things, such as sensitive documents or medicines, it’s not so easy to figure out. Try to think of the impact it would have on your business or reputation if they were to fall into the wrong hands, and allocate a suitable value to them.
According to the European Safe Standards, safes with a grade 0 rating should be used for storing up to £10,000 in valuables or cash, whereas a safe which is rated grade 6 would be suitable for up to £150,000 in cash, and £1.5 million of valuables. The grading system goes all the way up to 13, at which level £3.5 million would be secure. For smaller needs, under EN144450, the S1 and S2 safes are suitable for up to £2,000 and £4,000 value respectively.
Do you need the items to be protected from fire? In most cases, the answer would be ‘yes’, but do think it through as you will be paying a premium if you want a fire-proof safe for your business. Most safes are fire resistant, at least, but proper fireproof safes will offer protection against high heat for a specified period of time.
For example, a safe which is labelled as EN15659 LFS 30P will give you 30 minutes of fire protection for paper, at temperatures of up to 900 degrees C. EN15659 LFS 60P will do the same for up to 60 minutes. Be aware that there are other sets of ratings for data and computer media, such as EN1047 60D and EN1047 90D. That means you need to know what you are fireproofing before making your choice.
Do you need a deposit facility for your safe? This is where your staff will be able to access the safe to put things in only. In some businesses, for example shops, pubs and other cash handling environments, this can be very useful. It allows the staff to remove money from the customer facing area and put it in a safe place, without having access to any other money or valuables.
Deposit and cashier safes can work via a drawer or mechanism, or simply by posting things in through a slot. Adding a deposit system reduces the security of a safe, and therefore your insurance company may decide to downgrade the cash rating of your safe. However, if you want to protect your income without giving staff keys to your safe, it can be a worthwhile option.
What sort of lock would suit you? There are a huge variety to choose from, so it’s important to think about what will suit your needs and business the best.
- Key locking: The most basic, standard locking method, it’s also the cheapest and one of the most reliable. However, there is the disadvantage of having to carry around a bulky safe key, and the potential for your key to be lost or stolen, therefore compromising the security of your safe.
- Electronic pin code: Electronic locks are much more convenient than keys, and are usually a very reliable method of securing your safe. Cheap electronic pin locks can be easy to break, so invest in a good one. The more features and more complex the lock, the more expensive it will be. The main downside of this type of lock is that you could possibly forget your code, making it difficult to access your stored items.
- Electronic biometric locks: Biometric locks use things that are unique to you to secure your safe, such as your fingerprint, iris or veins in your palm. Most commonly they use your fingerprint, which means there is no key to lose and no code to forget. If you can afford it, this is usually the most reliable and convenient lock type.
- Security linked locks: With an electric locking system, it is possible to connect the safe to your business security system and alarm, so that any fraudulent access creates an alert. You can also integrate them with your IT systems, giving you an audit trail of who has had access at certain times, and preventing internal fraud. They can also be programmed to only allow certain users access at particular times, single use codes can be obtained and complete lockdown can be remotely activated. Some safes even have a silent alarm function, where you can enter a different code if you are being forced to open the safe, alerting the police to a potential problem.
As well as these considerations, you’ll need to think about where the safe will live and what you’re going to store inside. This will help you decide on the configuration, size and style that will suit.
Not sure which is right for your business needs? Speak to one of our team members, who can help you choose the right security safes to fit your requirements.