If you oversee security at a pharmaceutical or biotech company, then you understand the importance of establishing a strong security posture. A single breach can compromise highly sensitive research and development information and put your employees at risk. Keeping your company and property secure doesn’t have to mean staffing every door with a security guard. There are tools and policies you can put in place that can help keep your facility secure. In this post, we’ll share three strategies to protect your organization from potential threats.
1. Create and enforce workplace visitor policies
Without proper systems in place, it can be difficult to track and monitor the movement of visitors, leaving the workplace vulnerable to unauthorized access and suspicious activities. Creating a comprehensive workplace visitor policy will help align your front desk staff, security team, and employees on how they can support a secure onsite environment. Your policy should be comprehensive and include:
- The purpose of the visitor policy
- Who is allowed to invite guests to the workplace
- When visitors can be onsite
- Which types of visitors can be onsite (e.g., business partners, shareholders and investors, and academic researchers)
- Which areas of the workplace each type of visitor can and cannot enter (e.g., common spaces, testing laboratories, and manufacturing areas)
- Emergency procedures
Once you have a policy in place, you should train your front desk and security teams on how to enforce it. Since your company likely has to adhere to very specific procedures to keep its facilities safe, you may want to consider implementing a tool that can match your needs, like a secure visitor management software. This technology can unlock advanced security features that will empower your team to:
- Screen visitors in advance: Take immediate action if a visitor appears on a watch list, has an invalid ID, or hasn’t signed your NDA. Ensure guests complete required safety forms and agreements, watch mandatory safety videos, and acknowledge which areas of the facility are off-limits before entering the workplace.
- Track real-time occupancy data: Pull up-to-date workplace data reports to see who’s onsite in the event of an emergency evacuation or a safety audit.
- Respond to security incidents: Keep a detailed record of everyone who enters your facility. In the event of a security breach, you can refer to historical records to determine who was onsite and which legal documents they signed.
- Standardize your security protocols across locations: Use centralized insights to stay on top of workplace foot traffic across all your facilities. If you spot trends, you can deploy security protocols, such as additional security staff or surveillance measures, at scale.
2. Invest in robust surveillance and monitoring systems
On top of visitor management procedures, surveillance and monitoring systems can help keep your facilities secure. While this technology can boost the security of companies in any industry, it’s an especially important measure for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Surveillance and monitoring systems can help:
- Safeguard intellectual property: Your company might house valuable intellectual property, including proprietary formulas, trade secrets, and confidential data in its facilities. Surveillance cameras can help to deter unauthorized access, helping to protect these critical assets from theft and unauthorized disclosure.
- Prevent product contamination and theft: Your company might also handle sensitive materials, such as chemicals and biological substances. If so, surveillance systems can enable your team to closely monitor activities in laboratories, manufacturing areas, and storage facilities, reducing the risk of product contamination or theft. Cameras can help identify any suspicious behavior or potential breaches in protocols that may compromise the quality, safety, or efficacy of your products.
- Protect employees: Your researchers, scientists, and technicians are vital to your organization's success. Surveillance cameras monitor common areas, entrances, and exits, and help thwart unauthorized access and potential incidents of workplace violence. Real-time monitoring allows your security team to respond quickly to emergencies.
- Prevent industrial espionage: Surveillance systems can also discourage people from attempting to access your facilities to steal your company’s intellectual property. A surveillance system can help safeguard valuable assets and maintain a competitive edge.
3. Establish employee training and awareness
Finally, employee training and awareness can tighten your organization’s overall security posture. If you haven’t already, establish a training program for your employees so they can learn about your company’s security protocols and best practices. Your training should go beyond explaining your visitor policy and cover topics including:
- Proper employee sign-in and entrance procedures
- Recognizing and reporting suspicious activities
- Proper handling of sensitive information
- Password security
- Emergency response procedures
- Identifying and responding to potential workplace violence situations
- Cybersecurity best practices and awareness
- Compliance with regulatory requirements and industry-specific security standards
Remember your people can be security resources as well. Training your employees on your company’s workplace security procedures and best practices creates an extra layer of vigilance that strengthens your overall security posture.
Pro tip: Host an employee training session once every quarter. This will help improve workplace security awareness and encourage a security-conscious culture.
—The cost of a security breach can be catastrophic for companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. By prioritizing visitor management, surveillance, and employee training, you can help create a secure environment that mitigates risks to your company’s people and assets.