How do I physically secure our business?

Your business’s physical security sets the foundation for a healthy workplace and a productive workforce. When people aren’t worried about their physical safety, they are more likely to engage with their work and do well.

Protecting people, spaces, and assets from internal and external threats is a core function of every business leader. The good news is it doesn’t have to be hard. Many security breaches are completely preventable with a few key actions and well-planned policies and practices. The following best practices will help you establish those and keep your business running safely and smoothly. 

Before you get started, find a security professional who knows your industry and its current security trends. This person will be invaluable as you design and implement or update your organization’s physical security strategy. Take the time to find the professional who can best serve your organization.

Security Assessment

This assessment will look into your specific business’s industry risks and security needs. It’s a good place to start, because it will get you to ask questions you might not have thought of and to pull together all the information you’ll need to select the best option for your organization. More isn’t necessarily better in this situation. Finding the right security configuration is much more valuable and will ensure you haven’t chosen features you won’t need.

Work with that experienced security professional to cover all the details of your spaces and their inherent security risks. This professional will bring knowledge about similar organizations, be able to answer your questions, and help you think through your options.

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Access Control

One of the most basic ways to protect your business’s physical security is to know who’s there and to confirm they have permission to be there. This will be a fundamental piece of your overall strategy. 

Access control can be as advanced as you want it to be. The technology is developing quickly and now includes sophisticated options like biometric entry solutions and breathalyzers as well as those familiar access cards and badgeholders.

The job of an access control system has grown to include features like asset tracking, more efficient emergency response processes, and geofencing technology that allows you to communicate automatically with everyone in a certain area. 

Remember the most basic access control items too. For example, install high security deadbolts and have a well-documented process for collecting keys and deactivating access cards when someone leaves your organization.

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Video Surveillance

Often the simple presence of a CCTV camera is an effective deterrent. This tool has also evolved to include thermal imaging, UHD (Ultra HD) capability for more detailed images, and remote access to the information. 

When you choose the 24/7 surveillance of CCTV technology, you give your security team a tool to monitor a larger physical area than they ever could on foot. This means they have the edge to stop threats and track intruders before it’s too late. If you choose video surveillance, remember to implement appropriate storage and review protocols.

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Intrusion Alarm

An intrusion alarm is the best way to deter an intruder while simultaneously notifying your teams of a security breach. These alarms have advanced beyond that familiar blare that building occupants couldn’t ignore. Now they can integrate with the access control system to enact a facility lockdown and allow mobile access to reduce response times even if no one is on-site. When considering this option, evaluate it alongside the tools it would work with.

Employee/Management Training

The technology solutions and physical tools are half of an effective security strategy. The other half is to train your teams and leaders on how to identify and respond to threats and incidents. This ensures your people, facilities, and assets are protected and available to work as planned. Repeat and update this training regularly to keep everyone up-to-speed on the current policies and best practices. Work this into the daily operations by sharing tips and interesting facts throughout the year, not just when the next training session is coming up. Get your teams involved by asking for their ideas and examples of safe or unsafe activities.

The corporate policies you choose are a communication tool and need to address security as a whole, not only the physical aspects. That could mean keeping people safe from themselves and each other with zero tolerance policies on controlled substances, weapons, and behavior like bullying and harassment. Not only will these policies keep your organization safer, they’ll help your teams feel safer so they’ll be more comfortable, engaged, and successful in their work. Consider involving key team members in the creation or review of security policies to ensure these policies are as effective as possible.

Gauge your organization’s openness for technological complexity and choose the solutions that will serve your physical needs while fitting your organizational culture. The key to whatever options you choose will be getting your people to use them as intended. Assess your security strategy annually and adjust as needed to keep up with changes in your business and technological advances.

Take advantage of the relevant webinars, white papers, or other resources your security vendors may offer as part of the cost. This doesn’t have to be hard and you don’t have to do it alone.

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Mike MacLennan Director of IT South Suburban Parks and Recreation August 21, 2020

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