Physical Security at Your Business – Do You Need to Up Your Game?
What Is Physical Security?
The statistics are scary. Every year, almost two million American workers are subject to violence at their workplace, with as many as 25% more incidents that go unreported. There are a number of precautions you can take to ensure that your workplace has physical security solutions in place to proactively deter these threats. There are also tools you can use to report an incident and to get help.
What is physical security and why is it important?
Physical security denotes the protection of the people, data and property at your offices from damage or harm. Each needs to be secured, from your employees and customers, to your computers and networks, to the various pieces of equipment within your property lines.
Fortunately, a few simple steps can help you significantly up your game and increase your office security through physical detection and physical deterrence strategies:
1. Assess the situation to determine which specific threats you’re up against.The USDA provides this list to help you cover your bases:
- Identify how likely you are to be targeted. Have there been threats or incidents of violence in the past?
- What is your company’s prevailing attitude toward security?
- Who handles overall security?
- How are security policies enforced?
- When was your emergency preparedness plan developed (including fire, power failure and disaster)?
- What are your local resources for police, fire and medical attention and how quickly can they respond?
- What physical security systems do you employ?
- Do these security resources, policies and procedures meet the potential threat?
2. As you address your findings, there are a number of security solutions you can implement:
Have a Plan
- Crisis Communication Plan: If there is an incident, who are the main players that need to be informed? Equip them with intercoms, phones, alarms or other concealed communication devices. Create a plan B back-up, too; a two-way radio can work in the event of a phone failure.
- Emergency Executive Information File: To be kept by security officials for use in an emergency, this secure file contains contact information for employees, their families, close relatives, schools, medical doctors, local emergency services and any important passwords.
Secure All Entrances
- Parking Lots: If your security needs require you to check visitors in at the parking lot, consider a gate equipped with a card reader or a security guard. You may also need to place traffic bollards in front of your building to deter and prevent ramming. Spike barriers are strong deterrents as well, and a well-lit parking lot is less likely to be targeted.
- All Exterior Doors (And Some Interior): Protect your first line of defense into the building. Set up key card access at the main entrances and other important doors. Distribute access control badges that feature photos for enhanced security. Consider using a biometric system for even greater security. Intercom systems can help you manage access. If you’re using manual locks, be sure to protect your keys by locking the master and spare keys in a secure place.
Keep an eye on your people, property and data. Leverage video management systems to monitor entrances and other sensitive areas and to generate a record of any incidents. These serve as powerful deterrents to crime as well as effective surveillance devices. Check all lighting to ensure that it’s working well. Video surveillance is only as good as the picture it can provide.
Fortify the Office
- Secure Setup: The layout of your office matters, too. Consider placing any important offices that house expensive equipment or other desirable items away from the outside of the building to keep them safer and away from prying eyes. Set a designated waiting area so visitors are greeted and kept in a safe and visible place. In case of an attack, you can prepare a secure area with steel doors and a protected ventilation system, stocked with emergency supplies like a first aid kit, phones, blankets, tool kits, food, clothing, flashlights and batteries.
- Day-to-Day Deterrence: Be smart about your office operations. Critical papers should be stored in safes or other secure areas. Discard your trash regularly and take care when opening packages from unknown senders. Lock closets, service openings, telephone and electrical closets. Arm utility areas and critical communications devices with alarm systems. Lock publicly accessible restrooms.
Being prepared not only provides peace of mind, but is itself a strong deterrent against crime. IST has been helping companies secure their office spaces for over 20 years. We can help you assess your space and up your security game, too.