Security – both physical and cyber, is very important for cannabis dispensaries. The physical security threats include the large break-ins for the large number of cash transactions and the availability of cannabis in the store which is a regulated substance that is used by cannabis dispensaries. The cyber threats include data breaches (like the one in the Ontario Cannabis Store affecting 1200 plus dispensaries in the state.)
In this blog, we will delve into both physical and cyber security requirements for your cannabis dispensary.
The most critical security threats for cannabis dispensaries thus can be categorized as:
- Internal threat
- Cyber threats
- Data breaches
- Stolen deliveries
- Shop filchers
Let’s learn in detail the elements of physical security and how they work.
Every tangible component of your dispensary is considered a part of physical security. Physical security ties everything together, including goods, tools, personnel, and the structure itself. The whole dispensary should be considered for physical security rather than individual components of the place.
Determine the security gaps in your store: If you’ve ever been the victim of theft or robbed, you might be able to pinpoint what went wrong in the past. However, there are probably still places where you could be in danger. You can start assessing the integrity of physical security in your dispensary by asking these questions to yourself:
- Do I have an alarm system that works well?
- Is my dispensary’s exterior and inside well lit?
- Are the venues where my cannabis items are exhibited safe and secure?
- Do I have enough security personnel?
- Do I have a thorough security system?
- Are my delivery cars safe and armored?
- Am I running my dispensary in accordance with the laws governing the security of cannabis in my state?
If your answer is a NO to any of the above questions, then there is a red flag to notice.
Create your dispensary physical security plan: The current cannabis industry mandates detailed security plans. You need to create a comprehensive procedure for the systems in place to identify and avoid theft, larceny, diversion, or decrease in cannabis products, cash, etc.
Here are the required measures but not limited to for outside and inside the dispensary:
- Have a licensed private alarm service provider install professional security surveillance cameras at appropriate locations covering the inner and outer range of the facility. These surveillance systems should perform:
- High resolution of 4K. A 1080p Full HD camera
- Security cameras with long-range infrared night vision to perform properly day or night
- Cameras should capture photographs in dim or no light
- Security cameras in your dispensary should have an IP66 or IP67 waterproof certification and vandal-proof casing.
- Lighting in your dispensary: A well-lit location dissuades criminals. Here are a few measures for ideal lighting:
- The brightest outdoor lighting is possible from high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting which illuminates a big area of space covering parking garages, and parking lots also
- Motion-activated lighting functions effectively as an alarm system. The lights turn on if someone breaks in close by
- Use Wall pack lights to illuminate garages, entrances, exits, and other significant exterior aspects. Wall packs are fixed on the walls of your structure
- Perimeter Fencing: The fence is a crucial physical component of your shop’s perimeter. Here are a few options for fencing:
- Aluminum fences are sturdy, long lasting, simple to maintain, and cost-effective. Vertical bars on aluminum fences make them difficult to climb
- Chain link fences offer the greatest level of security and toughness without losing isolation. Fences made of chain link are durable and resistant to harsh weather
- Wood fences offer solitude and security. Additionally, they offer physical security, exterior noise reduction, and wind protection at a reasonable price
It is imminent to understand the dispensary plan, customer movement, and navigation through the layout to plan the internal security.
Understand how consumers and personnel will navigate your dispensary layout in order to keep your inside safe. Then consider your plan for stopping or apprehending thieves in the event of a break-in, robbery, or stealing.
Here are a few measures:
- Strengthened glass: The highest risk of protection inside the facility is through windows. You can consider this strengthened glass because most glass, especially tempered glass, is easily broken by burglars
- Window film is made of a malleable polyester mylar covering and can be directly sprayed on the interior surfaces of your current glass. During arson and robbery, the film can keep your glass intact from break-ins and grab-and-run attempts
- Laminated safety glass is a very strong thermoplastic interlayer sandwiched between two layers of glass in laminated safety glass making it five times stronger
- Acrylics, polycarbonates and other polymers are used to create polycarbonate panels and far more secure than polycarbonate panels
- Place perimeter alarms at all entry points and install panic buttons on the premises at appropriate locations. Have alarms to uncover after-hours invasion
- Acoustic detectors can be used to detect glass breakage and can be installed anywhere within about 20 feet of glass windows or doors and detect the high frequency of breaking glass
- A safe is an alternative for smaller dispensaries to keep merchandise and money secure. TL-rated safes are significantly superior to regular gun safes
- Vaults are more expensive than a safe and are essential for larger cannabis enterprises because they can safely store significant amounts of cash and cannabis
- Use high security, code-compliant locks to secure doors making it difficult to break into
- High-security locks — Many states demand that dispensaries have a variety of locking mechanisms in place
- Hiring a security guard can enforce a reminder that employees and customers are being monitored which can help prevent theft
There are many reasons why cannabis businesses are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cannabis is a young industry, thus there isn’t as much information accessible about best practices for internet security.
As tiny businesses, dispensaries frequently lack the resources to hire an IT employee and are less inclined to place a high priority on cybersecurity. Cannabis consumers value privacy. Since cannabis is frequently used as medication, patient identifying information is as critical as that of a hospital.
Cannabis data, dispensary employees, websites, and customers need to be protected from cybercrime.
Here are ways to cyber secure your cannabis business:
- Turn on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) whenever you input a password, whether it be for personal or professional use.
- Use a verification app, such as Google Authenticator. Google Authenticator generates 2-Step Verification codes on your phone. Because 2-Step Verification requires a second verification step when you sign in, it offers enhanced protection for your dispensary’s Google Account.
- Enable multi-factor authentication for any online shopping alternatives your dispensary provides (or work with partners who emphasize this feature)
- Safeguard your website by securing: Use a firewall called a web application firewall (WAF), which tracks, filters, and stops data packets going to and coming from your website or web application
- Check your website frequently for dangerous code and regularly create website backups
- Install a Secure Socket Layer certificate (SSL). This digital certificate allows for an encrypted connection and authenticates the identity of a website
- Secure company network: Conduct a network audit, use an audit to identify your network’s weaknesses, unused programs, open ports, and the general effectiveness of your firewall, upgrade your antivirus program and update your antivirus software frequently
- Make sure your Wi-Fi network is hidden, encrypted, and safe
- Connect your computer to the router’s Wi-Fi network to hide your network and use a secure password
Cannabis dispensaries are a favorite security target since they make a lot of money in the cash. To protect your employees, goods, and revenue from theft, it is crucial that you invest in the best cannabis security services available.
Cybersecurity is mandatory for legal cannabis businesses. By managing both the physical and cyber security, you can ensure a safe and seamless experience for the customers. To know more details about your dispensary security requirements, book a meeting with us.