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Why is having a workplace security policy important for your business?

Workplace security policy

There’s a number of common workplace policies, and in this post we’ll concentrate on workplace security policy.

Workplace policies and procedures
Workplace policies and procedures

The importance of a workplace security policy

Having a workplace security policy is fundamental to creating a secure organization. No matter what area of business you are in and your company size, your business will benefit from having a security policy in place. The policy outlines the company’s goal for security. Thanks to an enforced security policy you can avoid many security threats. A policy should outline basic rules, guidelines and definitions that are standardized across the whole organization. For example, you can include rules for wearing badges at all times, inform employees about security camera policy workplace regulations, notify of mandatory security awareness training, lay out the measures that insure physical and digital security, etc.

Physical access control and a workplace security policy

It is important to make physical security an integral part of the security policy. The policy should outline how employees can access the premises and means of their identification; detail procedures for visitor’s access; outline facility requirements; restrict access to sensitive files; provide guidelines on how to access systems and electronic devices; regulate remote access, etc.  

A lot of companies have security camera policy workplace control, and use CCTV cameras to prevent unauthorized access, burglaries and theft. While in most cases it is legal to use camera surveillance in public areas, if you choose to use both video and audio surveillance, you might be expected to post signs in the areas where audio is recorded and mention that in the security policy.

Different types of security cameras used at workplaces

How to set up a workplace security policy?

Think of what areas of security are important for your organization. Depending on your company’s size, budget and structure you might prepare a security policy with the help of your employees or apply to a third-party company that can design a tailor-made policy for you.

The following aspects could serve as a skeleton for your policy:

·         Physical security

·         Authentication

·         Privacy

·         Account management

·         Security awareness training

·         Special access

·         Access to visitors

·         Password

·         Security cameras

·         Network security

·         Incident management

·         Virus protection

Alternatively you can look for a Workplace security policy sample online and adopt it to your needs.

For example, you can find a workplace security policy sample here.

It usually takes a joint cooperation of the company management, HR, legal and IT departments to work out a good security policy. You can propose a workplace security policy sample and each department will make necessary changes to it.

It is important to remember that a good policy should be transparent, easy to read and consist of the following three parts:

·         An introduction

·         Assessment of possible risks

·         Security policy itself

You should also keep in mind policy compliance and lay out penalties associated with non-compliance.

All in all, by enforcing a workplace security policy and making sure it is observed properly, your company will minimize external and external threats,  set best practices, help to maintain a culture of security and prepare employees for situations when a threat to security arises.

How often should these policies be reviewed?

Once created, a workplace security policy is not set stone. Reviewing the workplace security policy for your organization is a legal obligation, but also a necessary operation which you must complete periodically to ensure that your staff are safe and capable of doing their job and that your business assets are protected to serve their purpose.

To make sure that you can run business operations without feeling threatened, you need to set up a review schedule. Since a security policy is typically designed in sections, they can serve you to create a calendar of date for reviews, and review each section separately.

Not all sections require the same attention or frequency. Some will be reviewed less, and some more often. Although more often is better, a minimum requirement for reviewing the complete bundle of security documents is once a year. Another important factor for undertaking a review are changes in security regulations and standards that must be implemented immediately.

As a general rule it is recommended to do a policy review whenever the following scenarios take place:

  • Legal compliance updates
  • Important business changes  
  • Reported incidents or imminent threats

Physical security and access control are two crucial, but frequently neglected sections from a security policy that must be reviewed often because they affect the daily functioning of an organization.

Physical Security

Physical security includes maintaining appropriate environmental conditions, such as temperature, air and humidity, as well as fire safety, visitor access, perimeter security and building requirements.

Access Control

Access controls are an important element of physical security because they help you create a

safe boundary for your business from the physical world, but also assign access control roles and authorizations to staff, business partners, and visitors. Such security roles and authorizations transfer from the physical to the digital world. They encapsulate procedures, which, in the vocabulary of security professionals, are known as “information security procedures” or “logical access control”.  

Apart from the above general reasons to perform a review, here are some of the situations that may require reviewing policy sections related to physical security and access controls:

  • Substantial business change, such as opening a new office, remotely or locally
  • Getting a large client, which can boost your business growth and eventually require a policy update
  • Implementing a BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) policy
  • Relocating the business to a new location with different environmental conditions
  • Employing many new people
  • Significant changes in staff roles
  • When the security equipment expires or needs maintenance, for instance, at fire extinguisher check-ups
  • When the reason for a reported incident was a faulty security policy

Defining situations in which you need to review physical security and access controls sections will help you become a confident and a responsible manager, and more importantly, help you keep everything under control and prevent incidents from occurring.

What are the steps to take when such reviews are conducted?

Once you create a list of reasons for reviewing these two essential elements of a workplace security policy, you need to set up a how-to process. A how-to process identifies the necessary review steps that allow you to run “business as usual” without letting the reviews affect the success of your enterprise.

When performing physical security and access controls audits, the following how-to list can guide you through the process in the shortest possible time, yet effectively:

  • Check for any changes in legal requirements.
  • Review your industry security standards, both locally and globally.
  • See if you need to obtain and implement new permits and licenses.
  • Define the frequency for each separate process - physical security and access controls and create a calendar of activities.
  • Determine who will be the responsible review manager for each section.
  • Assign staff which will collect field information.
Workplace Seuciry
Assign staff roles can create checklists to facilitate the process
  • Pick a reporting format, create templates and spreadsheets, if necessary, and distribute checklists to facilitate the process.
  • Clarify each of the staff member’s responsibility in detail to protect the business legally.   
  • Define how you will address and sanction ineffective, incomplete or late reviews.
  • Make sure that each staff member understands his or her role by providing a short training.

When the complete review process is over, make sure you update and distribute the recent version of the workplace security policy, pointing out critical new changes made by communicating them to all staff via mail or in person.

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