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The Basics of Office Security
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The Basics of Office Security

March 26, 2019
The Basics of Office Security

Very often, workplace managers don’t take office security seriously until an incident, such as a  break-in or theft case happens.

According to Verizon’s Security Report, 22% of cyber hacks actually involve the abuse of physical access. On average, these break-ins costs $38,000 for small businesses and up to $551,000 for larger businesses, severely impacting a business' operations and even brand image.

Solving physical security problems can be simple, starting with creating a plan for office security, This can help prevent unnecessary misunderstandings, disruptions and keep your office a secure and productive place to work.

There are three key areas you should focus on when coming up with an office security strategy:

1. Secure your employees

  • Creating a secure, transparent and supporting culture.
  • Keeping the workplace safe from unauthorized access including disgruntled coworkers and customers.

2. Protect your company’s assets

  • Securing office equipment including laptops, hard drives and other electronics.
  • Keeping employees' properties safe including wallets, phones, tablets, and personal laptops.

3. Ensure smooth business operations

  • Interruption of business including lockouts, missing tools.
  • Liabilities including insurance, IP protection and lawsuits.

Designing your office security plan

Work with your co-workers to come up with the right security policies and create a plan. These are some key areas you need to plan around:

  • Office hours: When should the office be accessible? When will the doors be unlocked or locked?
  • Front desk and reception: What are the processes for visitors or guests and front desk staff?
  • Secure access: Who and under which conditions has access to sensitive areas including IT rooms or communications closets or executive offices?
  • Expectations from employees:  What do you expect from employees at work in regards to security?

Many of these factors may seem obvious but but is a big step towards a more secure office. It helps you make better decisions around workplace security that will benefit your company.

How to securely onboard employees

As soon as someone new is hired, the security onboarding begins. Prepare your front desk staff to not only help orient visitors but to also act as a gatekeeper to enforce policies at the door including making sure NDAs are signed.

Ensure that new employees are informed about the security guidelines in your office, understand them and be compliant with them. They need to know exactly what is permitted and what’s not—including signing an expected visitor in and out form, the opening hours, and when the office can be accessed and when not. Onboard them with your access control system and set restrictions if needed.

What You Need to Know About Security Systems

Access Control

Mobile access control system

Access control is the system that allows you to manage who is permitted to access your space. By setting permissions and rules around access control you can define which time periods are allowed for access and the levels of access someone needs to have to access a certain door. It also keeps track of who accesses the space, producing event logs which help with compliance. We’ve written more about access control in our “Introduction to Access Control” guide, check it out.

1. Locks and Keys

The most traditional form is having locks and keys, but keys can easily be copied or lost. There is also no events log that you could check to see what happens.

2. Electronic access control systems

These systems send a signal to an electronically wired lock to unlock the door. To unlock the door you either use a keycard, fob, keypad with code. However, you will still be unable to specifically track down who has access to your doors as these keycards or fobs can be easily passed around. You will also be unable to remove access from specific people.

3. Mobile App access control

The best type of access control is in the form of a mobile app. Its benefits are multifold -- simple yet comprehensive management of access, remote access control management, real-time events log.

Download the full cleaning checklist

Hang it at your office or send it to an office manager

Target the strengths and weaknesses of your employees

Download this self-evaluation for you and your employee to fill out.

Surveillance

Surveillance cameras help record visual activity around entry and exit points of your office or high traffic areas such as the front desk or package room. Video surveillance systems are crucial for growing workplaces and offices where not everyone is known to all employees. Typically you should install one camera for each door and then one or two on top of that for high-transit areas. This gives employees a peace of mind, protects against theft and keeps your business running.

They should include:

  • Streaming of live footage: You might want to remotely look at a real time video stream to see what is going on in the office.
  • Storage of video recording: Typically companies need a 30 day video storage so they can go back in time in the event they discover an incident. The differences would be cloud or local stored which comes at a price vs convenience decision.
  • Access control and intercom integration to be able to hear the doorbell ring, check who is there and unlock the door - all done remotely.

Advanced solutions also provide alerts based on motion tracking or face recognition which might add another layer of security.

Alarms and sensors

Alarm systems are a great enhancement of the other two components of office security which are access control and video surveillance. They allow to monitor your office space to know if an incident might be about to happen and be able to step in before damage occurs. Alerts can help notify you to suspicious changes in your environment such as someone breaking in or opening a door during off-hours.

They should include:

  • Look for integration with security cameras or access control systems - they sometimes already include some of the alarm features.
  • Ability to arm or disarm the alarm remotely.
  • You might want a third party company to monitor your alarms but typically it is more helpful if alarms go to you since they will just call you or the police anyways.
  • Integration of other sensors into the alarm ecosystem like heat or humidity.

Written by:

Bernhard Mehl
CEO at Kisi
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