You certainly understand the importance of security for your house and car, but what about your office security of your commercial building? Surprisingly, commercial properties lack adequate office security guidelines and are probably the most under-secured locations in the world.
This is due to two main reasons. Commercial properties are busy, with a variety of different groups of people needing different levels of access. Plus, commercial properties are complicated. Security equipment and systems are technical and usually require highly-trained personnel to properly maintain.
From a large warehouse to a small retail store and everything in-between, protecting a commercial location can be a challenge. But there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Here’s a complete look at office security including ten simple steps to developing and implementing an effective commercial security system and office security guidelines.
Commercial Property Security in Toronto
While Toronto is generally a safe city, your commercial property still needs security. Burglaries, vandalism and other security events occur daily. The best way to prevent crime is through deterrence. A visible, credible office security system will deter thieves and others up to no good.
Security systems can be divided into two categories: internal and external. Each area has a different general emphasis. Potential internal issues include loss prevention, hazard reduction, and area access control. External issues entryway control, lighting and camera surveillance.
Office Security Overview
Before you can implement a security plan for your commercial location, you need a thorough understanding of the current state of your location. Also called a risk assessment, an office security overview is a big picture look at the good and bad of your building’s security systems.
First, you want to look at the physical aspects of your security. What entry points are vulnerable? Are there any open loading areas, unsecured windows or unattended doors? If you have a retail store, how vulnerable is the storefront?
Next, you want to look at the people who have access to your commercial facility. What type of background screening and security checks are performed on employees? How are security measures such as access codes and other confidential procedures handled in relation to employee turnover?
While you usually have a fair degree of control over the people you hire, the same can’t always be said for everyone who enters your facility. What security measures are you taking in regards to contract workers, delivery people and other professionals who may enter and exit your location on a regular basis?
Finally, what about security measures related to members of the public? If you’re a retail business, you really have no control over who enters your location. But you need to develop security protocols for potential emergency situations.
Don’t worry if your current security situation isn’t great. The point of a security overview is to establish what you’re doing well, what you need to improve and how you can create a set of office security guidelines.
All the security equipment in the world does you no good without trusted guards you can count on. But you want to make sure your security team is properly trained. Your security force should understand when to be tough but also when to be helpful, especially if your location is open to the public.
Security guards perform many functions. They might patrol the perimeter, check exit points and otherwise watch over the location. Other guards might sit in the front of the building in order to check credentials of everyone who enters.
Well-trained personnel play a vital role in the security of your location. You want a team which understands the specific needs of your location, customers and employees.
Develop a Maintenance Schedule
Office security is more than simply installing a few locks and sensors. Instead, security is an on-going process. Your location is only secure if the security procedures are up-to-date and operational.
Office security maintenance involves checking on the proper functioning of all security systems. Are the cameras working properly? Are the keypads setup to accept the current passcodes? Even low-tech systems need to be checked out. Do the exteriors doors close properly? Are all the lights working throughout the location?
Commercial property security maintenance involves all employees. Your security team will be responsible for more technical equipment such as any cameras and monitoring stations. But even non-security personnel can be trained to close external doors, repair burned out lights and perform other simple security-related actions.
Security maintenance shouldn’t be done on “as needed” basis. That’s a sure-fire way for equipment malfunction to be overlooked. Instead, you want to schedule specific times for maintenance reviews. Minor, regular maintenance helps prevent large-scale security equipment failures.
Install Access Control Systems and Create Control Points
The best security systems involve multiple layers. Access control systems grant privileges to different personnel based on need. For instance, your security team will require access to basically every room in the location. But other employees only need access to areas relevant to their job duties.
Access control systems can be created in a variety of ways including electronic locksets, key cards and even traditional keys. Even better, you can track individual personnel movement throughout the entire location. Plus, single or limited use access can be granted to temporary workers without compromising the integrity of the entire system.
Regular Office Security Training and Drills
A properly trained security force is one of your strongest assets. But an improperly trained security team can be your greatest liability. You’ll want to implement regular security training so your team is able to respond appropriately in the event of a real emergency.
Training specifics will depend on the nature of your business. The main goal is to empower security personnel while maintaining a uniformity in action. Basically, you want your security team to have the freedom to use their discretion while also ensuring every member acts in a consistent, professional manner at all times.
Drills are another useful tool. Large, busy facilities often benefit from drills for active shooters, fires and other emergencies. Drills also help prepare non-security personnel for any potential emergencies. While a drill does require a shutdown of normal operations, the overall learning experience can literally save lives.
Install and Maintain Office Security Cameras
Your security team can’t watch your entire location around the clock. But security cameras can. Cameras are probably the single most useful piece of security equipment. If you have a limited budget, focusing on security cameras is usually the most effective use of your funds.
Cameras should be installed on both the interior and exterior of your location. Exterior cameras should be visible, as they can act as a deterrent for thieves. Cameras help detect and prevent break-ins, vandalism and other potential crimes.
Internal cameras should be positioned more strategically. You’ll use indoor cameras to help monitor any retail transactions, including potential employee theft. Cameras should also be used to record every member of the public who enters the premises. At the same time, internal cameras can remain somewhat hidden and discreet.
Protect the Perimeter of Your Location
Don’t wait until a security event occurs at your location. Prevent trouble before it develops with a comprehensive perimeter security system. Perimeter security covers the very edges of your property. Ideally, any potential threats will be identified far before they’re able to reach a busier area.
There’s no one type of perimeter security. If your location isn’t open to the public, fences and other barriers might be ideal. All locations generally benefit from perimeter lights, cameras and signage. Guard patrols are also usually very effective.
Exterior and Interior Security Lights
Criminals hate bright lights. You can reduce instances of most major and minor crimes by making sure your location is well-lit at all hours. Security lighting not only deters wrongdoing but also increases feelings of customer and employee safety.
Lights belong basically everywhere in your location. You’ll want light poles along the perimeter and throughout any parking areas. Stairwells, loading docks and other out-of-the-way areas should also be well-lit.
Interiors areas also need plenty of light. If your location is open to the public, a lack of proper lighting can lead to an increase in falls and other accidents. Don’t forget to light employee-only areas as well.
Security lighting doesn’t have to overwhelm your energy bills. Energy efficient bulbs will usually work just fine for security purposes. You can also minimize your light bulbs by installing motion sensors in appropriate locations such as around the perimeter. Plus, motion sensor lights can often catch a potential burglar completely off-guard.
A security audit is similar to a security overview, only performed at a different time. While an overview is performed before you implement any new security features, an audit lets you gauge the on-going success of any new procedures implemented.
Any time a security event occurs, you’ll want to perform an audit afterwards to assess your team’s performance. Was the event handled properly? What technology, procedures and policies would have led to a faster and more favourable outcome?
An audit lets you discover any weak points in your security systems. You can also identify any trends which your team should train and prepare for. Even if an event is handled well, there’s always plenty to learn. Audits let you adapt your security to any changes which occur over time.
At the end of the day, security is about controlling the environment. Door locks are one of the simplest and most effective ways to regulate access throughout any environment. Without locks, you simply won’t have control over your location.
Unfortunately, many locations don’t use the proper type of door locks. Residential door locks simply aren’t strong enough for commercial purposes. A commercial property requires commercial-grade locks, which are designed for high traffic areas and heavy-duty use. Commercial locks can withstand constant cycles and rotations.
Commercial locks also have more security features than household ones. A typical commercial-strength door lock will have anti-pick and anti-bump features. They’re unable to be drilled or easily broken.
Plus, commercial locks are available for practically any type of situation. Aside from standard doors, you can find commercial locks for gates, emergency exits, windows, skylights and more. Every single potential entry and exit point, even if it’s not designed for use by people, requires a commercial lock.
Commercial locks aren’t always keyed. You can install locks which are operated by a keypad, access card, fingerprint, voice and more. Solutions are even available which allow you to grant temporary access during a limited time to certain individuals, such as a cleaning crew or temporary workers.
In most cases, you’ll get the best results by hiring a commercial locksmith. He or she can assess your specific location and develop custom security strategies. Plus, professionally-installed door locks will be very difficult for others to tamper with.
Securing your commercial property requires vigilance, creativity and a well-trained staff. No one technique or piece of equipment can do the job alone. Instead, you want to implement a variety of techniques to cover as many potential situations as possible.
The 10 tips above help you organize your location’s security into simple, easy-to-implement steps. Remember: security is not a single event. Instead, it’s a constantly refined process designed to adapt to new situations and needs.
A properly secured building does more than just prevent theft. Commercial security also enhances productivity while increasing the comfort levels of employees and customers. At the end of the day, the purpose of commercial security is to keep people safe.