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Imagine you own a warehouse, and that building is packed full of stock. That stock might be car parts, it might be electrical equipment, it might even be toys and games. Whatever it is that fills this space, are your assets. On a digital level, your assets might be the data you hold on your company’s computer network or Cloud storage. The names, emails and bank details of all your clients and prospective clients.

Identifying your business’ most valuable elements means you can then move on to think about how best to protect them and that’s where target hardening comes in.

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What Is Target Hardening

In short, it’s making those assets as hard to steal as possible. If you consider them to be the target, then you’re putting plans into place to harden that target, to make it harder to steal by people both outside and inside your organisation.

You can apply this same principle to your personal targets too. Your home for instance, and everything of value inside it, is an asset you’ll want to protect and the measures you’ll take to do so are similar for both home and business.

Getting Started With Target Hardening

How Does Target Hardening Work?

One of the key considerations for all businesses is budget. Money is a consideration and if you run a small to medium enterprise (SME), you’ll want to make sure that any budget you allocate is money well spent.

Dave Kearns, MD of Expert Investigations, said: “From my decades in this industry I can tell you that dishonest employees are the number one cause of theft in the workplace. Very often the reason they steal comes down to opportunity. When businesses leave themselves vulnerable, it only takes one dishonest person to exploit that vulnerability and suddenly you’ve lost thousands of pounds in valuable stock or data. The very best thing you can do as a business owner is to put some preventative measures in place before theft happens.”

There are several ways to kickstart the process which are outlined in the next part of this blog, but let’s dig a little deeper into the principles and the aims of target hardening. We’ll also look at why your business is vulnerable to employees overriding existing controls.

If you run any business that employs others, you’re immediately more open to dishonesty. If you’re curious about what turns someone into a dishonest employee, there are three key driving factors: opportunity, rationalisation and motivation – known as the Fraud Triangle.

When an employee has rationalised their actions, found motivation (often from an outside source) then it’s only a matter of identifying an opportunity to steal.

By knocking away one side of the triangle with target hardening, in this case opportunity, the whole thing collapses. But that can only happen when you know and take action against your vulnerabilities.

How Can You Protect Your Business?

Get in touch with Expert Investigations today:

Practical Steps For Target Hardening

There’s no need to rush out and invest thousands of pounds in expensive CCTV equipment straight away. The very best first step you can take is to admit to yourself that your business might well be at risk or may even have already been the victim of dishonesty. It’s hard to admit that there may be an issue, especially when you’re considering the actions of employees who may have been with you for some time.

However, when you face up to the reality of the situation, then you’re ready to go forward. And that’s when you start thinking strategically rather than emotionally.

In an ideal world you’d already have some policies in place to protect your physical and digital assets from dishonesty, but if not here’s a great place to start.

Begin by identifying your weak points. Where is it easy to access your data or your buildings? Where does CCTV coverage fail? How easy is it to guess passwords? If you need help to make sure you’ve covered all the angles, call in the experts to carry out a thorough security audit for you. You’d be surprised at the little details they’ll expose.

Then it’s time to think about investment.

You might find yourself spending out on a better security system for your storage areas, equipment that works better and covers a greater area. But equally the investment might come in training up staff to be more aware, to stop taking shortcuts with security, remembering to take passes with them when moving through offices and so on.

It’s this investment, in staff training, that may well prove to be the most valuable. When your team knows you’re taking security seriously, they’ll be your eyes and ears against dishonest colleagues and help identify any gaps you may have missed. Leading by example is the very best move you can make when it comes to protecting your assets.

Key Lessons

Dave Kearns said: “Whether we’re talking about home or your business, prevention is always better than cure. We absolutely can help you trace and recover lost business assets but it’s just further time and money that you’ll have to spend. If you can identify areas of potential weakness and build in systems to disrupt dishonest employees, you won’t need to get to the point where you’re having to call in the police or a private investigation team.”

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Investigate Theft In The Workplace?

Workplace theft is something which affects companies of all sizes, from a multimillion pound organisation to a petrol station. Learn how to investigate it here.

How Can I Carry Out Employee Background Checks?

Employee background checks are just one of the ways to disrupt dishonest employees. Find out more here.

Is Home Working A Threat To My Business?

Will hybrid and remote working lead to an increase employee dishonesty? Only time will tell, but managing director Dave Kearns shares his thoughts here.

Now you know the potential danger to your business. It’s time to act. Book a consulation today: