Physical security doesn’t just mean surveillance and alarms. Physical security encompasses everything that keeps your people, buildings, and assets safe. Without a workplace security policy, you open your business to new threats and can jeopardize the future of your organization.But how do you keep on top of your physical security when there are so many other priorities to take care of? For many organizations, it can often slip down the priority list. In this post, we’ll explore physical security in detail, including what it entails and how to improve it for next year and beyond.
What is physical workplace security?
Physical workplace security relates to the security of your people, buildings, and assets. It’s often the first line of defense for employee safety. It keeps your people safe through measures like fire prevention and visitor and employee tracking systems. Physical security also keeps your workplaces secure through technology like access control, ID verification, and alarms and surveillance. Finally, physical workplace security protects your physical assets in the office, including laptops, monitors, desks, and more.
How to assess your current physical workplace security
No matter the type of organization you are, looking at what you have with an eye for improvement is always necessary–especially when it comes to physical security. That’s where a workplace security assessment can help. It will paint a picture of your current state of security and reveal gaps and vulnerabilities that you might otherwise have missed. You can conduct a physical security assessment in 5 straightforward steps.
- Choose your assessment team. First, choose the right team for the job. Most organizations will have an external security team conduct their physical security assessment. Some of this assessment may fall into compliance, while other parts may cover the safety of your offices and processes. When you choose your team, think about who the right people would be for each section of your assessment. For example, if you want to assess your building security first, ensure you have people who specialize in property and building management ready.
- Identify stakeholders. Once you have your team in place, it’s time to identify your stakeholders. This includes any cross-functional partners who can help provide important data points before, during, and after your physical security assessment. They will work with your assessment team, and could include anyone in your organization–although common folks include HR, IT, and executive leadership.
- Follow a scoring system. With the right people in place, it’s time to begin your assessment. Follow a scoring system to evaluate your security across all of your pillars (physical, digital, and people). If you don’t have a system of your own, you can use this assessment template to help you. This matrix categorizes different security threats and helps you assess the risk across each location. Follow the instructions and give yourself a grade on where you see the strongest and weakest levels of security.
- Address vulnerabilities and plan to optimize. Once you’ve completed the assessment, your scoring system will help you spot any vulnerabilities in your physical security. With this insight, you can then jump into action mode. Improving your physical workplace security might involve different approaches depending on the severity of the threat. For example, you might want to simply hold a training session for certain teams in your office. Or you might want to invest in smarter workplace technology to improve areas of physical security where manpower won’t help.
- Conduct regular security assessments. A final step is to always conduct security assessments on a regular basis to mitigate risk of workplace threats. You may choose to assess your physical workplace security bi-annually. Or before launching new programs or processes. Whatever you decide, regularly assessing your security ensures business continuity and prepares you to withstand threats in the future.
What to focus on to improve physical security in 2023
Keeping one eye on the security today will help keep your business safe. However, it’s crucial to also keep one eye closely on the future if you want to prepare your organization. Here are a few security aspects to focus on in 2023 and beyond.
A natural part of growth is more. More employees. More customers. More workplaces. So it makes sense that the same goes for your physical workplace security. The more you scale, the more your physical security must be able to keep up with the pace. Aligning your physical security to scale alongside your business takes work. You must set up systems and processes that can grow with you and your workforce. This might be onboarding and training programs for security teams across different office locations. It could also be security playbooks like this one that you roll out at new facilities when you open them. Technology also plays a crucial role in enabling scalability. The days of installing one physical security solution in individual workplaces are long gone. Nowadays, a workplace platform can help you monitor security in every location, all the time. That means that when you open new offices, change, or downsize, you’ll still have everything secured in one, centralized system.
The right technology
There are hundreds of technologies out there to ensure the physical security of your business. And while it’s impossible to implement every piece of security tech out there, it is important to choose the right tech for your organization. Here are three important tools to secure your organization and provide you with the safety measures you need to keep your employees, offices, and assets secure.
1. Access control
Access control is a security feature that keeps your workplaces and employees safe. You’ve likely interacted with access control before. It can come in different forms, such as badges, QR codes, facial recognition, or touch ID. Access control is permission of entry. Whether that’s a device, restaurant, or workplace, access control is an important feature of security. For workplaces, access control allows you to control who enters your workplace and with what level of permission. For example, if you have a contractor coming onsite to fix some office doors, you can permit entry and provide “guest” access throughout the building. Access control provides you with peace of mind that the right people are in your workplace at all times, and your employees and property are always protected.
2. Visitor registration
Employees are back at work, and visitor traffic is up by 84% in the last year alone. With such a spike in people in your workplace again, it’s important to keep track of who enters and leaves your building. Track, screen, and report who comes into your workplace with visitor management software. This allows you to get visibility on who’s onsite and when. To avoid security breaches, you can use your visitor registration solution to screen people before they get to your office. Features like blocklists and ID verification help notify teams if an uninvited guest tries to sign-in. Utilize your visitor registration solution to keep everyone onsite safe and create a great visitor experience for folks who visit your workplace. An ultimate security win.
3. Surveillance and alarms
In a digital age, surveillance and alarms are critical to your overall security system. Surveillance can be used to detect intruders and deter them. Alarms are critical for alerting you and authorities in case of an emergency.Make sure you consistently update your security cameras with the latest software and hardware upgrades. This will capture clear images of your office at all times of the day and during all weather conditions. If you want to go one step further, you can upgrade your security cameras to have facial recognition, allowing you to rely on technology to identify anyone that could be a threat.
Automation offers a host of benefits to organizations–particularly through a workplace security lens. It keeps organizations safe and competitive. Automation allows businesses to streamline processes and improve the efficiency of their security programs at scale. Automation also saves businesses money. In fact, security automation can save organizations more than 80% of the cost they would normally spend on manual security!Automation also generates alerts during events or incidents, in real time. For example, if a visitor supplies the wrong documents, your visitor registration system will automatically flag this and alert your workplace manager. If someone opens a door without the right authorization, you can automatically trigger an alarm to alert security personnel. Automation saves you time and is a key component in how technology can uplevel your physical workplace security. –Ensuring the physical security of your workplace is a significant endeavor. But it's not one you have to undergo alone. Start by working with your security assessment team. Evaluate your strengths and vulnerabilities. Map out how you'll improve in the future. Then focus on those areas as you head into 2023. Remember, it's not only about having the right technology to protect your property, people, and assets. It's also about having tools and processes that will scale and save you time.