Not so long ago, a firewall was something you had to saw-cut to install the flashing. And in the roofing business, security used to involve concertina wire and mean dogs with big teeth.

Those were the days!

Security has always been part of operating a roofing business. Roofing contractors have security concerns on a number of fronts, including yard and warehouse security as well as security at jobs-in-process. Business security — the protection of data and electronic assets — is a growing concern. And it may be time to evaluate how secure you really are.

Many roofing contractors move from year to year adding computer hardware and software systems to meet growing demands. These systems and the information they process have become so valuable in some cases that a disruption or damage to them would be catastrophic. With most systems connected to the Internet, and small enough to “sprout legs and walk,” they are vulnerable to threats from the outside and inside.

Security, when it comes to data and business systems, does involve locking doors and other visible measures. But what about data protection? You must have routines in place to back up data on a regular basis, and keep at least one copy of all data at another site at all times. Losing a computer system to fire or theft is nowhere near as bad when you have a clean and contemporary copy of your records. This would seem elementary, but many contractors do not have backup procedures in place, and many who do find that they are not always followed.

What about your accounting systems? Have they grown and changed along with your computer system? Securing cash is more than having a locking bag and making daily trips to the bank. In a wired world, cash can move at an incredible velocity. A dishonest or disgruntled employee has the potential to cause massive amounts of damage with an unguarded computer system. You must have a system of checks and balances in place that works in and through changes in your data infrastructure. Like old-fashioned policies of having separate people open the mail, you need to “segment” your computer system to allow (most) people access only to specific areas of the system, not the entire system.

The Internet is a great way for the bad guys to attack your business. If you have your business computer connected to the Internet, you must invest in the hardware and/or software necessary to guard your data from damage or theft. You can not just go out and buy a “fix” for this and then just forget about it. Vigilance is needed to protect your data assets because the bad guys are figuring out new ways to get to you every day. You must occasionally review and update your data security.

These are but a few of a growing number of security issues emerging along with our digital world. Your telecommunications systems are open to fraud and attack too. Before it’s over with, your refrigerator will be subject to cyber raids.

If you had doors being left unlocked at night, you would take the steps to correct that situation right away. If you suspect your data systems are vulnerable, this may be a good time to call in your CPA or a security or computer consultant to take you through a security checkup. It may be a small price to pay for some digital peace of mind.