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Best Physical Security Measures for a Safe Workplace

Best Physical Security Measures for a Safe Workplace

Let’s think: you go to work one morning and get to the office only to find that there are documents that are missing or even worse there are people who should not be there that are already within the restricted areas. Sadly enough, this is not just a nightmare scenario, but a reality for many companies nowadays. Research indicates that about 57% of organizations have had to deal with some form of physical security threat in the past three years with the average cost of such threats rising to millions of dollars. 

In today’s world, it has become more important than ever to have good physical security measures in place in the workplace. It ranges from the protection of your employees and assets to ensuring that your environment is safe and secure. This is very important. But do not worry we are here to guide you through all these hurdles. 

This blog will explore and outline the best security measures that can be taken to protect your workplace to avoid such incidents hence providing a safe environment for the people involved.

Types of Physical Security Threats

Unauthorized Access

This is a major issue in any workplace since it is wrong to allow unauthorized individuals to access a workplace. This is because when unauthorized persons penetrate into restricted zones, this is a very big blow to security. For instance, in 2022, a major tech company reported a breach where an outsider was able to gain access to some restricted data through a technique known as tailgating where the intruder simply followed an authorized individual through a restricted entry point. 

Theft and Vandalism

Vandalism and theft may hinder business activities and result in losses. Companies such as retail businesses for instance suffer losses amounting to billions of dollars every year through theft. One example is a story of a warehouse that lost $2 million in electronics to thieves who easily got past the weak perimeter security. 

Insider Threats

Insider threats refer to a situation where employees or contractors compromise the security of the organisation by using their access to the company’s resources to steal or destroy them. PwC has found that in 57% of fraud cases, the fraudster is an employee of the organization. 

Social Engineering

Social engineering exploits human psychology to gain unauthorized access. One common tactic is phishing where attackers trick employees into revealing sensitive information. A notable incident involved a financial firm where an attacker posed as an IT technician and gained access to secure systems. 

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, and fires can devastate a workplace. In 2023 a hurricane caused severe damage to several businesses in Florida resulting in millions in losses and months of recovery time. 

Workplace Violence

Workplace violence can range from verbal threats to physical assaults. In 2019 a disgruntled employee at a distribution centre caused a violent incident that injured several coworkers. Implementing strict security protocols, hiring trained security personnel, and having emergency response plans can help manage and prevent such situations.

Technical Threats

Technical threats include tampering with security systems or infrastructure. For example, during a power outage surveillance cameras and alarm systems might fail creating vulnerabilities. Ensuring regular maintenance of security equipment and having backup systems can prevent such issues.

Use of Best Access Control Systems

Keycard and Biometric Systems

  • Enhanced Security: Keycards and biometric scanners restrict access to authorized personnel only. Keycards store unique user credentials while biometric systems use fingerprints or retinal scans making unauthorized access very difficult.
  • Audit Trails: Both systems provide detailed logs of entry and exit times helping in tracking movements and maintaining security records.
  • Difficult to Duplicate: Keycards and biometric data are hard to replicate reducing the risk of unauthorised use.

ID Badging

  • Visible Identification: Employees and visitors wear ID badges at all times making it easy to spot unauthorized persons.
  • Customized Solutions: ID badging systems can be tailored to meet specific organizational needs integrating seamlessly with existing security infrastructure.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

  • Layered Security: Combining keycards with MFA requires two or more verification methods to enhance overall security.
  • Harder to Breach: MFA makes it significantly more difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain access as they need multiple credentials.

Cost-Effective Management

  • Easy Deactivation: Lost or stolen keycards can be quickly deactivated preventing unauthorised access without significant cost.
  • Reduced Maintenance: Biometric systems reduce the need for physical keys, lowering maintenance costs and minimizing the risk of lost keys.

Convenience and Efficiency

  • Quick Access: Biometric systems provide fast and efficient access as users do not need to remember passwords or carry physical keys.
  • User-Friendly: Modern systems are designed to be intuitive making it easy for employees to use them without extensive training.

Scalability

  • Flexible Integration: Access control systems can be scaled and integrated with other security measures such as surveillance cameras and alarm systems providing a comprehensive security solution.
  • Future-Proof: These systems can be updated to include new technologies and security features ensuring long-term effectiveness.

Compliance

  • Regulatory Adherence: Implementing robust access control helps meet industry compliance standards and regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA enhancing overall security and legal standing.

Enhance Surveillance and Monitoring

Install Surveillance Cameras

  • Strategic Placement: Place cameras in high-traffic and sensitive areas like entrances, exits, and storage rooms. This deters criminal activity by increasing the risk of being caught on camera.
  • Modern Features: Use cameras with night vision and motion detection to ensure 24/7 monitoring. Examples include:
  • Hikvision DS-2CD2347G1-LU: Known for excellent night vision and motion detection.
  • Axis P1435-LE: This has the best outdoor surveillance capabilities.

Monitor and Analyze Footage

  • Regular Monitoring: It is recommended to monitor the footage on a regular basis and perform a periodic review for any suspicious events. This can help to prevent small problems from developing into major security threats.
  • Advanced Analytics: Choose tools that provide video analysis capabilities. These tools can also be used to alert the people monitoring the subjects to any unusual behavior or movements which makes the process easier. Examples include:
  • Genetec Security Center: Allows for constant surveillance and offers more sophisticated data processing.
  • Milestone XProtect: Provides a broad range of video management and analysis solutions.

Combine AI and Machine Learning

  • Real-Time Threat Detection: AI can also scan through live feeds and identify threats as they unfold within a given area. For example identification of unauthorized persons in prohibited zones. Examples include:
  • Avigilon Control Center (ACC): It has the capability to detect threats in real-time using artificial intelligence.
  • BriefCam: It offers features such as video synopsis through the use of Artificial Intelligence and real-time alerting.
  • Automated Alerts: Program alerts for certain events such as movement within certain areas of the facility. This makes it easy to respond to any security threats that may present themselves.

Cost-Effective Security

  • Round-the-Clock Monitoring: Unlike human guards, cameras don’t need breaks. This provides continuous surveillance without the added cost of overtime.
  • Remote Access: Modern surveillance systems allow you to monitor your workplace from anywhere via smartphone or computer offering flexibility and peace of mind. Examples include:
  • Nest Cam IQ: Offers remote access through a smartphone app.
  • Arlo Pro 3: Provides high-quality video and remote monitoring.

Secure Physical Documents and Digital Assets

Clear Desk Policy

  • Definition and Benefits: A clear desk policy mandates that all employees clear their desks of any documents and sensitive materials at the end of each workday. This policy helps to protect confidential information, reduce clutter, and improve overall workplace security. 
Implementation Steps:
  1. Employee Training: Educate employees on the importance of the policy and how to comply with it.
  2. Regular Audits: Conduct routine checks to ensure adherence.
  3. Provide Storage Solutions: Supply employees with adequate lockable storage options.
  4. Management Support: Ensure that management leads by example and reinforces the policy consistently.

Shredding Sensitive Documents

Importance: Proper disposal of sensitive documents is crucial to prevent information leaks and protect against identity theft. Shredding ensures that confidential information cannot be reconstructed or misused.

Services and Solutions:

  • On-Site Shredding: This service brings shredding equipment to your office allowing you to witness the destruction of documents.
  • Off-Site Shredding: Documents are securely transported to a shredding facility.
  • Regular Shedding Schedules: Implement a routine schedule to ensure documents are shredded regularly.
  • Secure Bins: Use locked bins for document collection prior to shredding.

Digital Encryption and Secure Storage

  • Encrypting Sensitive Documents: Encrypting digital documents ensures that even if data is intercepted it cannot be read without the correct decryption key. This adds a critical layer of security to digital asset management.
  • Encryption Tools: Use software such as BitLocker for Windows or FileVault for Mac to encrypt documents.
  • Secure Email: Use encrypted email services to send sensitive information.

Best Practices for Digital Asset Management:

  • Regular Backups: Perform regular backups of all important data to prevent loss.
  • Cloud Storage Solutions: Utilise secure cloud storage options like Google Workspace or Microsoft OneDrive which offer built-in encryption and security features.
  • Antivirus and Anti-Malware: Keep all systems protected with updated antivirus and anti-malware software.

Strengthen Perimeter Security

Secure Windows and Doors

  • Entry Points: Securing windows and doors is crucial. Use high-quality deadbolts for doors and reinforced glass or bars for windows. These measures make it harder for intruders to gain entry.
  • Regular Maintenance: This is a reminder to check locks and barriers frequently. Check that they are in good shape and repair or replace any faulty parts. Maintenance helps to avoid simple hacks and ensures that your protection mechanisms remain efficient.
Perimeter Barriers
  • Physical Barriers: Fences and gates are also good for preventing people from accessing an area without permission. Ensure that the fences are high and strong and are placed around the perimeters of the compound. 
  • Advanced Solutions: Think about using high-tech perimeter security measures, such as electric fencing or anti-climb panels. These offer better physical security threats as compared to conventional security systems.
  • Access Control Solutions: Ensure that gates are connected to other security measures such as keycard or biometric security. 

Lighting and Visibility

  • Importance of Lighting: Proper illumination makes the criminals easily seen hence reducing the chances of conducting their activities. It also helps to ensure that the areas that are well lit are difficult for the intruders to conceal themselves in.
  • Placement Strategies: Install lights at all the gateways around fences and any other ill-lit areas. Sensors are useful and they also help in saving power. Make sure that cameras are placed in areas that have good lighting to make sure that the captured footage is clear.
  • Security Systems for Offices: Integrate the lighting system with surveillance cameras. This means that offices with good lighting when installing surveillance cameras will capture better images that will help in the identification of threats and subsequent action.

Regular Inspections

  • Scheduled Checks: Conduct regular inspections of all perimeter security measures. This includes checking fences, gates, lights, and cameras. Address any vulnerabilities immediately.
  • Employee Training: Train employees to recognize and report any security issues. Awareness among staff enhances the effectiveness of security systems.

Integrate Technology

  • Smart Security Systems: Use smart locks and IoT devices to monitor and control access points remotely. These systems can send alerts if there is any breach or unusual activity.
  • Office Surveillance Systems: Integrate perimeter security with your office surveillance systems. This provides a comprehensive security solution that covers both internal and external threats.

Prepare for Emergencies

Emergency Response Plans

  • Develop Comprehensive Plans: Create detailed emergency response plans tailored to your workplace. These should cover various scenarios such as natural disasters, fires, medical emergencies, and workplace violence. Identify key areas like evacuation routes assembly points and the location of emergency equipment.
  • Example: A manufacturing plant developed a plan that includes specific evacuation routes for different sections and designated assembly points outside the building.
  • Regular Updates and Training: Update these plans regularly to address new threats or changes in the workplace. Conduct thorough training sessions so that all employees are familiar with the procedures. 
  • Example: A tech company updates its emergency response plan quarterly and holds monthly training sessions for new hires.

Conduct Regular Drills

  • Importance of Drills: Regular drills are essential for ensuring everyone knows what to do in an emergency. They help identify any weaknesses in the plan and ensure that employees can evacuate quickly and safely.
  • Example: Conduct fire drills once a month and bi-annual earthquake drills to ensure readiness.
  • Types of Drills: Conduct different types of drills to cover various emergency situations such as fire drills, earthquake drills, and active shooter drills. This comprehensive approach ensures preparedness for multiple scenarios.
  • Example: An office in a high-rise building conducts active shooter drills using the “Run Hide Fight” technique providing practical scenarios for employees.

Emergency Communication Systems

  • Effective Communication: Establish clear communication channels for use during emergencies. This could include mass notification systems, emergency alert apps and two-way radios. 
  • Example: Use systems like AlertMedia or Everbridge for real-time communication. These platforms can send alerts via multiple channels ensuring that all employees receive critical information promptly.
  • Tools and Technologies: Use advanced tools like AlertMedia or Everbridge for real-time communication. These platforms can send alerts via multiple channels ensuring that all employees receive critical information promptly.
  • Example: A hospital uses AlertMedia to send emergency alerts through text messages, emails, and phone calls simultaneously during a drill.

Engage with Local Emergency Services

  • Collaborate with Authorities: Build relationships with local fire departments, police, and medical services. Their expertise and support can be invaluable during an emergency providing insights and assistance that are crucial for effective response.
  • Example: A retail company holds annual meetings with local fire and police departments to review and update their emergency plans.
  • Regular Consultation: Regularly consult with these services to keep your plans updated and to ensure that your workplace is prepared for specific local risks.
  • Example: Consulting with local emergency services helps a factory implement better fire safety measures after a nearby facility experiences a major incident.

Employee Involvement

  • Assign Roles: Designate specific roles to employees such as incident commanders, communication coordinators and first aid providers. Clearly define their responsibilities and ensure they are well-trained to handle emergencies.
  • Example: A large office designates floor wardens responsible for leading evacuations and checking for stragglers during drills.
  • Inclusion and Accessibility: Make sure your plans are inclusive considering the needs of employees with disabilities or language barriers. This ensures that everyone knows what to do and can act effectively in an emergency.
  • Example: Providing evacuation chairs and training for assisting employees with mobility issues during an evacuation.

Bottom Line 

Measures to counter physical security risks must be put in place and workplace security must be effectively managed. These steps include improving the perimeter security and planning for emergencies so as to provide security in the learning institutions. There are ways to ensure the safety of offices and their employees, and some of them include access control solutions and office surveillance systems. Other measures that strengthen your security framework are practice drills, detailed emergency plans and efficient communication channels. You can achieve this by taking the following steps and making your workplace safe for all.

Looking for a way to improve the security of your office? Get in touch with Security Base Group for high-quality access control and office surveillance services that meet your requirements.

 

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