The first quarter of a year is a fresh start. Time for businesses of all sizes to start planning how to make 2019 the most productive, efficient and profitable year yet. One way to do this is by investing in security software and tech, which can make the working day far easier.

Gadgets are a great idea if you’ve experienced problems or challenges in 2018 which have eaten up too much time or posed a risk to the smooth running of the business. There are lots of devices, security software, apps and tools available now that can solve some of these problems. As well as solving problems, tech can also boost productivity and streamline working practices.

Seven essential gadgets that your business could make use of in 2019

1. CCTV Surveillance Cameras

Did you spend some of 2018 worrying about your business premises when you weren’t there, or perhaps you had an issue with supplies or stock going missing? It might be time to consider installing CCTV surveillance cameras. With smart cameras keeping a close eye on your business, you can lock up and leave at night or go on holiday in full confidence.

When deciding which system to go for, choose a CCTV camera that is motion-activated, and that sends real-time alerts when motion is detected. An alert can be sent to your phone, email or even a private security firm or the police when unwanted behaviour is detected. Some systems let you define ‘unwanted behaviour’, such as zones where no unauthorised person or vehicle is
permitted to enter.

With real-time alerting, you can potentially stop a crime in action. Your cameras will also gather vital evidence for the prosecution in case you can’t catch burglars or vandals red-handed.
You can also use surveillance cameras inside your business if you wish. This can be useful if you are worried about the theft of stock, the behaviour of your employees or even just productivity during work hours. You will have to manage it carefully in terms of informing your employees and making sure not to violate their privacy or any privacy laws.

2. GPS Trackers for Fleets

Does your business have a fleet of vehicles or company cars? Even if you only have one or two vehicles, GPS trackers could be extremely useful. These trackers give you a huge amount of vital
information about your vehicles, from where they are at any given time to the routes they’ve taken. You can monitor how fast vehicles travel and
how much fuel they use from a central console or just your phone.

This information can be used to:

  • * Streamline routes and shrink fuel costs
  • * Plan more efficient routes (i.e. for multiple deliveries or callouts)
  • * Locate lost or stolen vehicles quickly
  • * Protect your investment, as vehicles can always be found as long as the tracker is active
  • * Make sure employees aren’t misusing company cars.

3. Security Software

How secure is your existing computer network system? As nothing has happened so far, you might think your IT security is just fine. But on closer inspection, you’re likely to find a huge number of vulnerabilities that a hacker or malicious party could easily exploit. Key areas that are often missed include encrypted communications, cloud application security, weak firewall and anti-virus protection, email security and unmanaged access to the different parts of your system. The start of the new year is as good a time as any for a security overhaul, starting with a security health check and the switch to more robust security software.

4. Mobile and Tablet Security

The way companies work is changing, which means that many people now work remotely or while on the move. This creates new security risks, which you may not be managing properly. Start by protecting all smartphones and tablets used for work (or accessing work files or systems) with a professional-level mobile defence system.

Smartphones and tablets used for work in public places such as cafes and co-working spaces should also use a VPN or other encrypted methods. This is to ensure that no one else can access the data, files or documents transmitted over public Wi-Fi.

5. Encrypted Portable Hard Drives

Remaining on the topic of security, how often do your employees take work home with them? They may access files on a home device (which, as above, should be protected), but they may also use USB devices to take documents home with them. This isn’t secure, as the device could be stolen or lost. Nor is it a wise idea for employees to email files to a personal email account for access at home.

The solution to this problem is simple – encrypted portable hard drives. They can store a large amount of data and are encrypted so that there’s no risk to the business if they go astray.

6. Portable Power Banks

If you regularly work while on the move, a portable power bank is absolutely essential. In fact, give everyone on your team one. They don’t cost much or are very heavy or bulky to carry around with you. There’s nothing worse than running out of battery on your smartphone, tablet or laptop while in the middle of something crucial. These power banks are small but surprisingly powerful, and they can be real life-savers if you’ve forgotten to charge up in advance.

7. USB Hubs

Your work laptops will already have USB ports, but there are never enough, right? A simple USB bank will solve your problems. They don’t cost much but give you access to four or more USB connections per port on your computer. You can use these extra ports for other useful, productivity-boosting innovations, such as extra portable screens. These surprisingly affordable, high-resolution, lightweight, universal screens fit onto many devices powered by USB. This gives you three times the number of screens to work from, which can be hugely helpful for a number of purposes – particularly when looking at multiple spreadsheets, doing research or comparing different sets of data.