Home and Business Security

Business Security Advice

Below are various categories of security advice for business owners to protect their properties and staff.

Business identification

The business name, street and shop number should be displayed at the front of your business.

The number could also be painted on the street kerb outside your business to assist emergency services and visitors to locate your business.

Warning signs

Effective signage and directions will provide guidance to visitors in locating reception areas and keep visitors away from restricted areas.

Signs can also assist in controlling activities and movements throughout the premises and grounds.

Warning signs should be strategically posted around the perimeter of your property, particularly near entry/exit points to warn intruders of security measures.

Examples of such signage:
‘Warning: these premises are under constant surveillance’
‘Warning: trespassers will be prosecuted’
‘Warning: no large amounts of money kept on premises’
‘Warning: monitored alarm in operation’


Landscaping should be maintained regularly with trees and shrubs trimmed away from doors and windows.

Keeping trees and shrubs trimmed can reduce concealment opportunities and increase visibility when travelling to and from the business.

Remove obstacles and rubbish from property boundaries, footpaths, driveways, car parks and buildings to restrict concealment and prevent offenders scaling your building.

Fences and gates

Be watchful of any persons acting suspiciously and occupied parked vehicles staying longer than would normally be expected.

Security lighting

Install security lighting in and around your business, particularly over entry/exit points to create an even distribution of light with no glare e.g. sensor lighting, floodlighting.

Consider installing sensor lighting which is cost effective as it only activates when movement is detected within the zone.

Leave a limited amount of internal lighting on at night to enable patrolling police, security guards or passing people to monitor activities within the business.

Building design

The floors, walls and ceilings should be of solid construction.

The roof should be reinforced with mesh below the roofing to restrict unauthorised entry.

Maintain clear lines of sight between the street, neighbouring properties and buildings.

Bollards or barriers can be installed to reduce the opportunity for ram-raid attacks.

Limit the number of entry/exit points to restrict unauthorised access.

Counters should be designed to reduce the opportunity for assault of staff and unauthorised access to behind-counter areas – consider adjustments to the width, height and location of the counter.

Shelving within the business should be limited in height, or transparent, to increase natural visibility within the business and to the outside of the business.

Shelves should be positioned so that staff behind the counter have good lines of sight.

Letterbox and power board

The letterbox should be secured with quality lock sets to restrict unlawful access to your mail.

The power board should be housed within a cupboard or metal cabinet and secured with an approved electricity authority lock to restrict unauthorised tampering with the power supply.


External doors and frames should be of solid construction and comply with the Building Code of Australia (Fire Regulations).

The doors should be fitted with single cylinder lock sets which comply with the Building Code of Australia (Fire Regulations). A single cylinder lock set is key-operated on the external side with either a turn snib or handle on the inside to enable occupants to escape in an emergency.

More information on Australian Building Codes and Fire Safety is available on the Australian Building Codes Board website.


Windows and frames should be of solid construction.

Windows should be fitted with key-operated window lock sets to restrict unauthorised access.

Glass can also be reinforced to restrict unauthorised access by:

  • Applying shatter-resistant film
  • Replacing the existing glass with laminated glass
  • Installing metal security grilles or shutters

No more than 15% of the display area of windows should be covered with promotional materials so that surveillance opportunities to and from the business are maximised.

Property identification

Record descriptions, model information and serial numbers of all business property for easy identification.

Back up your property lists from your computer in case the computer is lost or stolen.

Mark or engrave your property with a traceable number such as your ABN (Australian Business Number) for identification.

When you sell your property, place a neat line through your engraving to show that it is no longer valid. It is also a good idea to give the person a receipt to prove the sale of the item.

Photograph and record the details of unique items to aid in their recovery if stolen.

Ensure that you have adequate insurance for the replacement of property.

Your property list, photographs and other documentation should be adequately secured e.g. in a safe or safety deposit box.

For items that cannot be engraved, you may wish to mark them with an ultra-violet pen or Microdots – these are only visible under an ultra-violet (black) light.


Telephones should be pre-programmed with the emergency number triple zero (000) and your local police number for quick reference by occupants.

Telephone lines or boxes should be secured with an approved lock to avoid unlawful tampering.


A safe designed and installed to the Australian Standards can provide additional security for money and other valuables.

Anchor the safe to the floor to prevent easy removal.

The safe should have a drop-chute facility so that staff can deposit money without having to open it.

Consider a time delay lock, which means that the safe can only be opened at a particular time (or times) each day.

The safe should be locked at all times when not in use to restrict access.

The safe should be installed in an area where access is limited and away from public view.

Key and valuables control

The control of keys and valuables is very important and should be closely monitored by management.

A key register should be used to list those staff members who have been issued with keys, the type of keys issued and the areas each staff member has access to.

The control of valuables is just as important and a register should also be used to record which staff members have been issued with valuable items such as laptop computers, mobile phones, etc.

Registers should be detailed and regularly maintained and audited.

In addition, all valuables should be clearly marked with the business details where possible and the serial numbers and other details should be recorded and stored in a safe place.

To reduce the likelihood of theft and or damage, try to limit the number of keys and valuables left unsecured or in plain sight of potential intruders.

Cash and mail handling procedures

Establish clear cash-handling procedures within your business to reduce opportunities for crime.

Try to reduce the amount of cash your business deals with.

Limit the amount of money carried in the cash drawer at any time. Use as small a float as is practical for your business.

Lock cash drawers when not in use, and clear money from the cash drawer on a regular basis e.g. to a safe.

Avoid counting cash in view of the public.

Use a minimum of two staff, or security services, when personally transferring money to or from a bank.

Consider using a reputable security company to do your banking especially when transferring large amounts of money.

Where possible, limit cash amounts by installing electronic payment systems such as EFTPOS.

Don’t use conspicuous bank-bags when transferring money.

Avoid wearing uniform or identification when moving money to or from the bank.

Establish a robbery prevention program.

Establish consistent mail handling procedures.

Establish a mail register and ensure your staff are trained in how to use it correctly.

Security alarms

To enhance the security of your business, you can install a monitored intruder alarm system.

If you have a system installed within your business, make sure you use it.

Ensure the system has been designed and installed to the Australian Standard (Domestic and Commercial Alarm Systems).

Thieves have been known to cut telephone lines to prevent alarms being reported to the security monitoring company. We suggest you consider a supplementary system such as Global Satellite Mobile (GSM) or Radio Frequency (RF) systems to transmit an alarm signal.

Consider incorporating a duress facility into the system to enable staff to activate the system manually in the event of an emergency, such as a robbery. IMPORTANT: Duress devices should only be used when it is safe to do so.

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are red lights within the detectors – they should be deactivated so that offenders cannot test the range of the system.

The system should be tested on a regular basis to ensure that it is operating effectively.

Staff should be trained in the correct use of the system.

Consider only using companies licensed under the QLD Security Providers Act.

Alarm system controls should be concealed to restrict tampering.

Remote on/off switches should be strategically located.

Movement detection devices should be strategically located around the premises.

Will it work over the NBN?

Many types of devices that are normally connected to phone lines such as; medical and security alarms, EFTPOS and fax machines, lift phones and fire indicator panels can work over the NBN. However you will need to order the right type of service over the NBN to make sure they continue to work correctly. 

It’s important you get advice from the device provider first before ordering your service over the NBN.

Surveillance equipment

Surveillance equipment can enhance the physical security of your business and assist in the identification of people involved in anti-social or criminal behavior.

Cameras should be installed both within and around the business to maximise surveillance opportunities.

Digital or video technology should be used to record images from the cameras.

Cameras should monitor the cashier’s area, high cost merchandise or areas with poor natural supervision.

TV monitors should enable staff to monitor activities on the camera.

Recording equipment should be installed away from the counter area to avoid tampering.

Videotapes need to be replaced quarterly to maintain quality images.

Installed surveillance equipment should be maintained in working order and regularly tested.

If a surveillance system is installed, use it.

Staff should be trained in the correct use of the system.

Any surveillance system should be manufactured and installed by a qualified and reputable company and regularly function tested.

Ensure that requirements of Surveillance and Privacy laws are adhered to.

Workplace health and safety

Duties of employers

An employer must ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all the employees of the employer.

That duty extends (without limitation) to the following:

  • ensuring that any premises controlled by the employer where the employees work (and the means of access to or exit from the premises) are safe and without risk to health
  • ensuring that any plant or substance provided for use by the employees at work is safe and without risks to health when properly used
  • ensuring that systems of work and the working environment of the employees are safe and without risks to health
  • providing such information, instruction, training and supervision as may be  necessary to ensure the employee’s health and safety at work
  • providing adequate facilities for the welfare of the employees at work 

Others at workplace

An employer must also ensure that people (other than the employees of the employer) are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the conduct of the employer’s undertaking while they are at the employer’s place of work.

Victim support

If you or your staff have:

  • Experienced a situation where violence or the threat of violence has occurred
  • Received an injury as a result of violence
  • Suffered a loss or adverse effects as a result of experiencing violence; or
  • Experience domestic violence or sexual assault

Contact your local police for assistance or referral to additional support agencies for the provision of:

  • Counselling (telephone or face to face)
  • Information about other support services
  • Information about legal processes
  • Information about eligibility for, and applying for, victims compensation
  • Resolving complaints about government services


Some businesses or locations may require on-site security to enhance physical security.

Security services may be used to randomly patrol your business, particularly in an isolated location.

Sensitive materials, including confidential records, should be appropriately destroyed or secured, e.g. confidential records should be shredded or disposed of through security destruction services.

Computer passwords should be changed regularly to restrict access and avoid misuse by past and present staff.

Emergency evacuation plans should be implemented and maintained by your business to assist staff and emergency services in the event of an emergency – this plan should be prominently displayed.

Staff should be suitably trained in evacuation procedures

Christmas shut down

During the annual Christmas and New Year shutdown period for the manufacturing, service, building and construction industry workshops, warehouse, factories and building sites all around Australia become targets for theft and damage.

Unless your facility or site has 24 hour (alert) manned security, illegal entry is relatively simple. On-site tools, equipment and building materials are easy prey to most thieves. In fact, most thieves already know what’s on your site and how to get it.

A few preventive measures to consider;

  • Any empty period poses obvious security problems. It is important that your premises is properly secured over the Christmas period, and that you recognise that this is a period of heightened risk. Make sure that all entry points are secure and that your alarm and CCTV systems are in good working order.
  • Inform your alarm monitoring centre and local police of the close down period. Give them your call out details, a list of approved sub contractors, times and dates they are allowed on site.
  • Inform your staff – your staff are always your most important asset – but this is particularly true during the holiday period. If you are going away while the business is still open, make sure that your staff have all the information they need. You might need to leave keys, access codes, contact numbers, and so on. Additionally, if a member of staff will be the last to shut up shop before the Christmas break, make sure that they know how to operate security systems and lock doors for all access areas.
  • Where practical, consider arranging a roster with neighboring businesses to check on empty premises when owners are away or encourage neighbours to report suspicious behaviour.
  • Suppliers should be told of the close down period and not to deliver goods and materials. You would be surprised how many deliveries are made after the shutdown date.
  • Store tools and materials in a secure compound area that is well lite and visible. Not hidden down the back in an obscure dark place that offers protection to the thief.

Check your Insurance – make sure that you understand the terms of your insurance policy. Remember that there may be exclusions concerning the number of days that the premises can be empty. Similarly, remember that you may be obliged to carry out maintenance tasks in order for your policy to remain valid. Make sure that you read your policy documents and, if you are in any doubt, contact your insurer.