How to improve security in the workplace
There’s a lot to keep safe in the workplace. Your employees, first and foremost. Your facilities. Your technology. Your files. Your intellectual property. As organizations grow bigger and more complex—and hybrid work models enable employees to work flexibly—safeguarding these resources is an increasing challenge.
Without a comprehensive security plan, your company’s way of working is at risk. Learn how to improve security at your workplace with these best practices for workplace security.
Know who’s on-site at all times and why
Anticipate, track, and report who comes into the workplace and why. Start by implementing visitor screening. This will ensure all on-site visitors meet your criteria for entering the workplace. It’ll also give front desk staff a daily look at who to expect and an enforceable way to turn away unscreened visitors. Include questions about the purpose of the visit, the time of the visit, and visitor contact information.
Don’t forget about workplace health and safety. You can ask wellness, symptom, and vaccination screening questions to confirm employees are healthy before they arrive. You can also use this information to keep a comprehensive visitor log. This helps paint the full picture of who’s coming and going. It’s also helpful for reporting purposes if there is an incident. A visitor log can also help identify any suspicious visitor trends that rotating front desk staff might not catch.
Grant the right access to guests and employees
Different visitors come to your workplace for different reasons. It could be a maintenance worker fixing the elevator. It could be a job candidate coming for an interview, or an executive visiting for a meeting. Not every guest needs the same type of access to your space.
Since your visitors will have already completed the screening questionnaire, your front desk staff will know each guests’ reason for visiting and can grant them the correct level of access. For example, the maintenance worker may only need access to the lobby. The interviewer may only have to access your lobby and a single meeting room. And, well, executives probably need access to your full workplace. Take control of your workplace security by installing an access control system. This sort of system customizes visitor access levels and grants the appropriate level of entry for each guest when they check in.
Invest in alarms and surveillance systems
Physical security systems like alarms and cameras are an important line of defense against bad actors. Alarms draw attention to unwanted intruders. Video cameras record incidents and provide evidence should an incident occur.
A robust surveillance system records clear visual and audio, connects with your wider security apparatus, and alerts authorities when it detects any suspicious activity. Surveillance systems not only defend your workplace, they also deter bad actors in the first place. Potential intruders are more likely to target workplaces that have their defenses down. So keep yours up with the right technology, and hopefully, you won’t need to use it.
Train your employees to help keep the workplace secure
An empowered workforce is a safe one. Help your employees understand how to prevent a security breach in the workplace with a comprehensive security protocol. A good security protocol outlines best practices for workplace security, and considers both digital and physical security. It should include:
- How to save, label, and dispose of sensitive documents
- Guidelines around sharing company intellectual property
- Visitor check-in requirements
Require annual trainings on your workplace security rules and include situational examples that resonate with employees to bring security policies to life.
Be sure to make it safe and easy for employees to report any suspicious behavior they may experience. Your training should include information about incident reporting and you should have a clear policy in place that protects employees’ identities in these situations.
Make improvements to the physical workplace
Prevent a security breach in the workplace and halt intruders in their tracks with extra safety measures, from your filing cabinets to your firewall. Take inventory of your workplace valuables—confidential files, intellectual property, computers. How are you keeping those valuables protected?
There are the physical security basics like having locks on doors, badge-restricted access to offices, and solid filing cabinets that lock. And then there are the digital security basics. Secure all digital devices with passcodes, and require updates every month or 90 days. Revamp your digital filing system, tier documents by level of confidentiality, and save all confidential documents in passcode-protected folders.
It’s important to constantly think about how to improve security at your workplace, from all angles. As companies grow and working models become more flexible, threats evolve. Your security systems need to be ready for any kind of challenge. It could be an invisible virus, a physical intruder, or an anonymous hacker. By thinking ahead and staying vigilant, you can keep your employees, work, and physical workplace safe and secure.