Securing your office takes some bold and deliberate measures focused on keeping the work and employees safe from interruption. Workplace security takes many forms from keeping the employees safe from robbery to securing software and even locking the file room.
The best office security measures include access control, locking specific rooms and areas, surveillance, hiring security consultants, training the employees, protecting physical copies, lighting up the place, installing firewalls and antivirus software, using security guards and others. Security measures need not be too inhibitive that they affect the work of the employees.
These aspects apply both to the home office and the workplace and are meant to ensure that there isn’t any theft, fraud or other security breach to tamper with the flow of activities. When set up, each aspect needs to be implemented strictly to attain the best office security.
Best Office Security Measures
The best tips to keep your office safe include the following:
1. Access Control
Access control is the management of people in a given situation in terms of who can access what and in what area. With access control, you can choose who accesses certain parts of the workplace or your home office with keys meant for these areas.
Physical lock-and-key methods don’t always work and, instead, you need to have key cards (also called swiper cards or access cards), keypads with codes or key fobs each with a code to record who accessed which area, at what time and for how long. Phones with NFC (Near Field Communication) can also be used for the same purpose. If something gets lost, you can easily trace it back to the person.
Access control also allows you choose various levels of security such that certain key cards or other security measures only work for employees at a certain level. Sensitive files, for example, can only be accessed by certain employees only. Also, keycards can be easily deactivated remotely when the card is stolen or an employee is a security risk.
Another form of access control is using access control phone systems. For this ones, an employee calls the security team to have certain doors unlocked to grant them access. It’s easy to know who accessed which door with ease.
2. Locking Specific Rooms and Areas
Adding to the aspect of access control, you need to lock up specific areas such as server rooms, safes and others whose significance to the firm cannot be taken for granted. For example, someone tampering with the server room can bring down the operations of the whole firm.
For this type of security measure, you need key cards, combination locks, passwords and others to keep the rooms secure. It also applies to a home office where you’ve stored important items. Without locking it up, someone can enter and mess up a lifetime’s worth of work intentionally or unintentionally.
Keys shouldn’t be considered as a good security measure as they’re easy to copy or lose and can thus land into the wrong hands without a trace as to who used them or when they used them.
3. Implementing Surveillance
Besides locking doors other parts of the firm, there’s always a chance that a key, password or other security feature falls into the wrong hands or is used wrongly. For this reason, you need to have surveillance cameras and guards to keep track of the movement of people and items.
For example, you can have cameras in each corridor to find out who accessed which area and at what time. Also, you can install motion-sensing cameras to eliminate blind spots in the surveillance system. This way, sneaking into an office or file room to cause harm is hard.
The same measures need to be implemented at home for the same purpose in your home office security measures. Closed-circuit surveillance systems are a system of cameras and television sets used to add visibility to parts of a building and are the most used surveillance system. They’re commonly referred to as CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television).
4. Hiring Security Consultants
A security consultant has the expertise and experience to point out the security loopholes someone can exploit to carry out illegal activities in a business. Together with a lawyer, the consultant can put in place the right security system besides helping you catch a thief in the case of a theft. This expertise doesn’t cost much yet goes a long way in ensuring steady work for your office be it at home or the workplace.
5. Training the Employees
Without proper security training, the rest of the measures in this guide won’t be of much use. You need to teach the employees and any visitors on the firm or home about the security measures in place and the best way to implement them.
Teach them how to deal with emergencies, the consequences of not adhering to the measures in place, and the role they play in ensuring a secure workplace. Even in your home office security measures, teach your family how to keep the home and the office safe.
Some good security practices to instill in the employees include the following:
- Lock doors behind you and after hours.
- Secure all equipment when done using them.
- Each employee needs a lockable drawer or locker.
- Cash and checks are to be deposited daily.
- If working late, leave with another employee or have the security guard around.
- Emergency numbers need to be posted in all parts of the firm or office.
- Never leaves valuables unattended to.
- After dark, avoid areas with poor lighting.
- Have serial numbers for all equipment and numbers for employees for easy crime investigation.
- Always identify the intent of each visitor on the firm and limit their movements.
- Always supervise visitors to the firm.
- Keep some plans such as those for vacations private.
- Having a proper cash flow procedure.
- Having checks and balances on bookkeeping.
- Auditing internal documents.
- Double-checking invoices.
- Maintaining a proper record of the visitors to the premises.
- Issue access control badges to the employees to limit their movements to certain areas. They should have their photos and other details.
- Empty the trash frequently to eliminate cases of important equipment or data finding its way into the wrong hands.
Employee theft should also be prevented as it costs firms dearly each year. Some forms of employee theft include the following:
- Ghost payrolls where fake employees are created and paid salaries.
- Sweethearting where employees undercharge each other at the cost of the firm.
- Forging company documents for personal gain.
- Stealing company property.
The measures above go a long way in keeping the employees and office property safe. Security onboarding is integrating new employees into the security system of the firm through training and other guidelines and should always be implemented with each new employee.
6. Protecting Physical Copies
Even when the world is moving towards paperless and digital offices, there are still lots of physical paper being used in offices and other areas. These can easily land into the wrong hands and cost the firm dearly.
You thus need to utilize surveillance, access control and limitation of access to the copies to keep them safe. When done using the papers, you should shred them with a good shredder to avoid them landing into the wrong hands. Scanning and generally digitizing them makes it easier to protect them from fires and theft besides saving on storage costs.
7. Lighting up the Place
Light and theft or burglary don’t go together. For this reason, you need to avoid dark areas in the firm to deter thieves, burglars and anyone else bent on doing something illegal. You can have security cameras combined with lights to light up and record illegal activities.
Like cameras, there are motion-sensing lights which only light up when they sense movement. This is a great way of deterring unwanted people from specific areas. They’re great for the workplace and home office as well.
Another clever way to increase visibility is to install mirrors in elevators and stairways. These mirrors help the people within that area see around corners and avoid accidents. They also help spread light into otherwise dark areas on the premises without the need for extra bulbs.
8. Installing Firewalls and Antivirus Software
A lot of the other measures on this list focus on the physical aspects of security. However, cybersecurity is increasingly posing a bigger risk by the day. The problem is that being hacked or duped online leaves little trace and can be performed by someone half the world away. Catching them is far from a reality.
Firewalls and antivirus software help keep the firm secure by preventing unwanted online access to files and other sensitive information. Whether you’re a firm with one employee or hundreds of thousands of workers, everyone needs to have these pieces of software as hackers can use the remotest of employees to gain access to the whole firm.
Firewalls and antivirus software help protect the intellectual property of the firm from sabotage and espionage. Even with that, the firm needs the other measures on this list to prevent sabotage from within the firm. Superzapping is when a computer bypass code falls into the wrong hands and is used to steal vital information from someone within the firm. Such cases need to be prevented both physically and electronically.
Given that cybersecurity threats keep evolving, firewall or antivirus software keeps getting updated to deal with the newer threats. Always update these pieces of software for the best security measures.
9. Using Security Guards
Even with the above office security systems, you need the human element with security guards located at specific areas in the firm. You can have lights and cameras but they won’t catch a thief as effectively as a security guard. Also, someone with ill intentions can easily use disguise to access certain areas. With an office security guard, such cases are prevented or totally eliminated.
Today’s office security guard has the role of keeping the office safe and taking care of many other roles such as guiding visitors and generally playing the role of a caretaker to the premises. This requires that they have lots of skills beyond standing at the door. The roles of a guard are to deter, detect, observe and report.
With security guards, you need people with good conduct to ensure that they’ll take care of the business rather than be part of the crimes against the business. You need to carry out due diligence and background checks to know exactly the person you’re hiring to take care of your business or home.
10. Installing Security Alarms
Alarm systems are meant to either deter the thief or alert security or both. In this regard, there are silent alarms which only alert security and the loud ones which both alert security and deter the thief. Whatever the system you choose to use, always have someone to monitor it so that that can act on the crime as it happens.
There are alarms with motion-sensing capabilities and those with the ability to detect noise, a break in or other unusual activities and go off. The best alarm systems have cameras to provide a live or recorded video feed of what is happening in a certain area of the firm. They greatly enhance workplace security.
For home office security and even in specific offices at the firm, you need doorbells, one-way passive peepholes and other warning systems for when someone wants to enter the office or building. This way, you can determine who to allow in and who to keep out.
11. Stocking Emergency Kits
Emergency kits such as first aid kits, fire extinguishers, axes, bottled water, flashlights and others help to keep the employees safe in the case of injuries and hazards at the place of work. They should be located in easily accessible and visible parts of the firm.
12. Managing Employee Turnover
When an employee leaves the firm be it on good or bad terms, their security privileges need to be revoked so that they don’t pose a security risk to the firm. These include passwords, keys, keycards and any others they were in possession of.
13. Implementing Electronic Security Measures
The electronics in the workplace are quite tempting to those with ill intentions as they can be stolen or used to steal information. Some practices to adhere to include:
- Secure printers and make sure you delete any stored documents and shred any unused copies of files.
- Disable computer drives to prevent copying information from certain computers.
- Prevent the installation of software on computers without administrative access.
These practices keep information secure for everyone.
Security Measures for Front-Line Offices
If your business deals with direct employee-to-customer services in what is called a Federal front-line type of office, you need to implement the right security measures as per the Federal Protective Service (FPS) guidelines. The guidelines include the following:
- A guard should be posted at the main entrance to the building, and at the entrance to specific offices. The guard ought to have a clear view of the office space.
- Employees should have identification cards and visitors with temporary identifications.
- Employees need to be trained on dealing with emergencies.
- Under-the-counter duress alarm systems need to be installed.
- Metal detectors and cameras need to be installed at the entrance of the office.
- Have natural barriers between the employees and customers. These include countertops, desks, partitions and glass panes.
- Train the employees on code words for when help is needed.
- Have escape rooms that are easily accessible for every employee.
A lot of planning goes into such offices to provide security while avoiding making the employee trapped or the customer segregated.
Office Security Implementation Procedure
The process of implementing office security is as follows:
- Assess the security risks to the firm or office.
- Evaluate the security vulnerabilities available.
- Establish the solutions to these vulnerabilities.
- Implement the established solutions.
- Monitor the security system regularly.
- Regularly test the security procedures.
- Revise and tweak the security measures as desired.
With time, the security system becomes better at keeping the firm safe.
How to Choose a Security System for Your Office or Firm
The factors to base your decision on when selecting a security system for your firm or home office include the following:
- The type and number of equipment and inventory in the firm.
- The number of employees, doors and locations for the office space.
- The applicable compliance requirements.
- The security risks in the area.
- Type of information being protected.
- The nature of work and activities on the firm.
These aspects determine the number of security measures to apply to keep the office secure.
Office Security System Budget Components
When budgeting for an office security system, consider the following aspects:
- The cost of the hardware components.
- The installation costs.
- The configuration costs.
- The employee training costs.
- The distractions caused by the installation process.
These will give you a good picture of how much time and money will go into setting up a security system for your firm or home office.
The Levels of Office Security Systems
There are various levels to the office security systems you will implement to the firm or home office as follows:
- Power supply
- Data connections
- Data quality security
At each level of the security system, you need to implement the larger targets of the system.
The right workplace security boosts morale and makes the employees more productive. Besides that, it helps prevent the loss of data and interruptions in the workflow.