The Covid-19 pandemic has changed working life as we once knew it. To maintain social distancing measures, many workforces have moved to home working. Unfortunately, this means that office spaces have been left vacant for many weeks at a time. Leaving your office space vacant poses some security risks, especially if you’re based in a city or town centre. There are many things to address to ensure your premises stays safe until things return to normal. This includes controlling access to the building and where to store expensive equipment and classified documents. Luckily, there are some measures that you can take to significantly reduce the security threat to your office building and anything that’s being stored inside.
To help you out, the team at Elite Security have brought you their top tips for keeping your office secure whilst staff are working from home. Whether you’re planning to reopen your office space soon or remain closed for the time being, these security tips are well worth your time and some might even be worth implementing in your regular security strategy after the lockdown is over.
Before implementing any security deterrents, it’s important that you regularly carry out security audits to assess any security risks to your workplace. Based on the results of the audit, you can decide which security system and measures will best tackle all of the risks whilst also remaining inside of your budget. During this time, some of the most common threats to security include theft, trespassing and vandalism, however, it’s up to you to make the final call on which security risks are the most pressing to your business.
Some things to consider in this process include:
• Are these important documents stored inside the building?
• Is money kept inside of the building?
• How secure is the structure of the building?
• What access control and CCTV systems are in place?
• Does your current CCTV system allow you to monitor it whilst away from the premises?
One of the first things to address should be access control. Fewer people are going to be accessing the building on a regular basis, which means you should be closely documenting those who do have access as well as the time and date that they have accessed the building. If you don't have a system in place already, there are a few different ones that you can put in place to make it easier to keep track of staff entering the building. Access control systems vary massively and there are many types to suit a range of budgets. Probably the best system for most offices will work by having each employee assigned their own fob or card that gives them access to the building and records their presence on-site.
Create a rota and schedule regular visits from senior members of staff or caretakers to the office to ensure that everything is as it should be. If a break-in should occur, regularly visiting the office will ensure that you’re able to identify the incident as soon as possible. On these regular visits, provide a short, informal audit to be carried out in checklist form. Some items that should be on this list include:
• Checking that your access control system is operating properly
• Running through your CCTV footage for evidence of security threats
• Checking the locks when arriving at and leaving the property
• Updating the passwords on your computers if necessary
Business Watch is a crime-prevention programme that exists in many local councils in an attempt to reduce security risks to local businesses. By registering your business to the local business watch to ensure that you’re receiving the support of your local police force when it comes to keeping your business premises safe. Your local police force will send you notifications about local crimes that are impacting business in the area, as well as specialised crime-prevention advice.
CCTV is a great way of increasing the security of your workplace. If you haven’t already, it’s important you have a good CCTV system in place during this time when there will be fewer people around to keep an eye on the building. There are many different types of CCTV systems that vary in price and quality. CCTV will also provide you with evidence that you can present to the police should a crime occur on-site.
CCTV can be controversial as some employers might feel as though they’re compromising on the privacy of their employees. If you feel this way, you could consider adding CCTV to the outside of your building and surrounding grounds whilst having the inside of the office a CCTV-free zone. Make sure that your CCTV covers all the entranceways to your building, however. You could also consider going for cameras with night-vision capabilities too.
Try and ensure that your windows are built from either toughened or security glass, especially any windows of glass doors on the ground floor of your premises. Toughened glass is around 5 times stronger than regular glass, which makes it an excellent barrier to break-ins. As well as for security, toughened glass also makes your workplace safer. When toughened glass breaks, it splits into small, circular pieces instead of jagged shards, which will keep your employees safe from injury in the event of an accident. It is also much easier to clean up after an accident too.
Commercial door locks are used in all types of organisations whether small offices or large businesses. There are many types of commercial locks that you can choose from, whether a simple pin-code lock to more heavy-duty locks. The one you choose will depend on the level of security you need to provide and also the other measures that you already have in place. One option is an electric lock, which usually requires a code or key to open and close the lock. Electric locks can’t be picked or opened by force, making them very secure. Alarm rim locks are usually installed inside of a tamper-resistant casing and are equipped with a loud alarm system that will go off if entry is forced. Card reader alarms are a more upscale option and popular with many businesses. A more high-tech option is fingerprint alarm systems, which contain a database of fingerprints that are allowed building access. Assess your options and decide the best for your security needs and budget.
Choosing a good alarm system is essential for good office security. A monitored alarm system means your system will be monitored 24/7 by an Approved Receiving Centre (ARC) who will respond to the alarm should it go off. You can arrange for instant police dispatch in the event that the alarm does go off, which means you’ll get an instant response and waste as little time as possible if an incident occurs.
Documents can often contain classified information, passwords and financial information, so it’s important that they don’t get into the wrong hands. There are a few things you can do to make your documents more secure in the office. First of all, you should make your digital copies of all your documents, and ensure these are password protected. Digital copies of your documents can be stored on cloud-based storage services such as Dropbox or JustCloud, and therefore cannot be lost even in the event of a fire.
One thing to remember is that thieves will not spend a long time inside of a building after breaking in, especially if you have an alarm system. This is why it’s crucial that you keep any cash in a secure place, ideally a locked safe. You should try to keep the amount of cash you keep in the office to a minimum and never have large amounts of cash visible to clients or employees at any time. After installing a safe, limit the number of people who have access to it. Drop-safe and time-lock safes are the most secure types, they are both incredibly heavy and can only be opened when the safe reaches a preset time, even if the correct code has been input.
10. Security Lighting
Security lighting is an excellent deterrent to thieves and trespassers on your property, especially since 60% of commercial burglaries take place in the evening or at night. You are also more likely to catch the face of a thief on your CCTV if you have lighting outside of your premises. There are a few different types of security lights for you to consider including motion-activated security lights, flood lights, solar lights, fluorescent lights and more.
11. Secure your computers and technology
In the event that any of your office equipment does get stolen, you’re going to want to ensure that no important information can be accessed. Ensure that any important documents on your computer are password protected and that you have made digital copies of these files elsewhere. If you’re planning to keep your office closed for a long period of time, it might be a good idea to allow your staff to take their computers home or to store all your technology in one room in the building that you can keep secure with a lock.
Katie Myers is an English Literature graduate and has worked as a content writer since leaving university. Currently, she works for Elite Security, where she creates content for their blog relating to all things security, access control, engineering and more.
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