Workplace leaders across industries need to ensure the safety and security of their company’s employees, property, and data. This becomes more complex for companies with multiple locations. Biogen’s manager of Global Security Technology & Projects, Brandon Bourque, sat down with me, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Envoy, during a recent webinar to share his recommendations for how workplace leaders can ensure company-wide physical security with the right access control systems and processes.
Recommendation #1: Maintain consistent security standards in diverse locations
Biogen is a biotechnology company with a global footprint—with research labs, manufacturing facilities, and office spaces around the world. They also have a range of office settings, from campuses in Cambridge, MA, standalone manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, to satellite locations where they occupy a floor or two in multi-tenant buildings. Brandon emphasized the importance of maintaining consistent security standards across all of these location types. Since it can be challenging to adapt security measures to different environments, technology can help ensure consistent safety and compliance protocols. “You want to ensure that the technology solutions work and integrate with each other,” says Brandon. “We use a security camera system that integrates with our access control system to trigger alarms, like motion and loitering alarms. Plus, we have LPR (license plate recognition) software to help identify vehicles that may be tied to a blacklist of people who aren’t associated with a site or should not be allowed on site.”That data from alarm systems, combined with analytics that show how people use the workplace, empowers EHS (environmental, health and safety) leaders at Biogen to make business-critical decisions. “The data that we’re pulling from the global security side makes it all the way up to our executive leadership team, [which they use] to make decisions based on how many people are actually coming into the office and the locations of those offices,” Brandon shares. This data informs important considerations around physical security investments, such as whether to invest in additional staffing, security cameras, or employee training.
Recommendation #2: Balance security and employee experience
There’s also a delicate balance between maintaining security and enhancing the employee experience. “My boss always says, security’s not a convenience,” says Brandon. “For us to be able to do our jobs, we need employees to effectively follow guidelines and physical security standards.” As an example of this, Biogen bakes in security training during new hire orientation and requires all employees to complete annual training with an internal system called “Biogen University.” They also employ strict access control policies, such as requiring every visitor to be accompanied by an employee host with an access badge. “These standards cascade out to broader groups such as our EHS (Environment, Health & Safety) Facilities, and Lab teams,” says Brandon. “When everybody is working cohesively together, it makes our security infrastructure even tighter.”Brandon recognizes the importance of seamless employee experiences and is excited to explore new solutions. Biogen and Envoy are currently working on creating a two-factor authentication process for employees to access the office. “The need for two-factor authentication is very high right now,” said Brandon. “There are key cards that can easily duplicate employee access cards, which can then be easily passed around. So having two factor authentication is very important when it comes to security.”“Through Envoy’s integrations and APIs, we’re able to have employees register when they’re on site,” said Brandon. “Then we can actually apply an access level to that individual’s badge to be granted access.” This extra step ensures that only those who are approved can gain access to Biogen’s facilities. By leveraging Envoy’s workplace platform, Biogen employees can manage all of their workplace needs, from scheduling their days onsite to receiving visitors at work, all within the Envoy mobile app.
Recommendation #3: Keep up with emerging technologies shaping the future of security
Brandon and I also discussed the changing landscape of security technologies. He expressed enthusiasm for AI-driven video analytics, which enable early threat detection by identifying anomalies in real-time. This empowers security teams to respond swiftly to potential security breaches. As the industry begins to harness AI to stay ahead of security threats, Brandon is keeping a close eye on how this technology may be applied at Biogen.
Looking ahead: The future of multi-location security
Brandon’s insights into Biogen's security practices provide a valuable roadmap for companies seeking to establish robust security measures across diverse locations. Here are the three technology solutions he believes companies should have to future-proof their physical security and operations:
- Access control systems: Access control systems are a cornerstone of multi-location security, allowing companies to monitor employees and visitors, protect assets, and enforce security protocols consistently.
- Video surveillance: Modern video surveillance systems equipped with AI-driven analytics offer proactive threat detection and quick response capabilities. This technology not only records incidents but also helps prevent them.
- Workplace management solutions with analytics: Workplace management platforms like Envoy offer the dual benefit of enhancing employee experiences while reinforcing security measures. “We use Envoy as our workplace management solution,” says Brandon. “Our locations in Europe use it to book desks, we use its visitor management in 20 different locations–Envoy is our end all, be all.” The combination of visitor management, desk booking, and access control into one platform creates a unified security ecosystem.
As technology continues to evolve, the integration of AI-driven analytics and smart workplace solutions promises a future where security is efficient, effective, and seamlessly integrated into daily operations. By adapting to emerging trends and technologies, companies can stay ahead of security challenges and create safer workplaces for their employees.-Want to catch the full webinar? Watch the replay to hear more from Biogen’s manager of Global Security Technology & Projects, Brandon Bourque.