6 Signs You Need to Pump Up Building Security

Posted by David Charney on February 12, 2020

Businesses, property owners and managers have a responsibility to provide building security. This involves much more than making sure intruders don't enter the building. Building security also helps ensure the safety of employees and visitors, protect your valuable business assets, and limit liability issues.

Property crime is a serious problem across the U.S. The National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) crime data from 2018 reveals more than 300,000 incidents have occurred in the parking garage / parking lot. Commercial / office buildings appear No. 9 on the list with roughly 75,000 incidents.

6 Signs You Need More Building Security

Property crimes consist of arson, burglary, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft. This NIBRS crime data covers crimes against property over a one-year period. It does not touch upon violent crimes, which includes robbery. If that's not convincing enough, check to see if you're dealing with any of the following six problems.

1. Increasing Neighborhood Crime

Visit NIBRS to use the interactive map. This shows you the crime rate for your general neighborhood. It lists the types of crimes affecting the area. Many factors affect neighborhood crime. However, you can control the building security for your office.

2. Incidences of Theft and Burglary

Your office building may have experienced vandalism, burglary, theft, or other crimes. This is a surefire sign that you need to step up on the security. You want tenants, employees, and visitors to always feel safe in and around your office building.

3. Unsecured Parking Lot

Parking lot and parking garages are a crime hotspot. Potential criminals believe there could be valuable items in vehicles. They can find many hiding spaces from underneath vehicles to dark stairwells.

4. At Risk for Safety and Liability Issues

Implementing an effective security plan requires looking at safety issues. If someone falls on the property, it's possible the business will be held liable for any injuries. It's possible for an injured intruder to sue the business. Yes, even if the person is there to commit a crime. If your insurance premiums are increasing because of issues, that might be a valid reason to beef up your security.

5. Concerns about Protecting Company Proprietary Content

A TechRepublic story says more than one-quarter of people often leave their desks without locking their computer. Worse, they leave it unlocked overnight. The story reveals 36 percent of workers admit to leaving their documents exposed. Additionally, 36 percent of executives say employees have reported lost or stolen documents.

A 2018 study from Shred-it uncovers that more than 80 percent of the C-suites believe employee negligence is the cause of a breach. Nine out of 10 Americans say employee negligence plays at least a minor role in data breaches in U.S. companies.

6. Prevent Unauthorized Access

One of the easiest ways to enter a building is to walk right behind someone who has access. This is called tailgating. It's natural for people to hold the door open for the person behind. They rarely question whether the person is allowed to enter. To complicate matters, most office buildings contain multiple entry points.

You can have a lock on your door. You can use an access control system. People can still violate protocol by letting others into the building.

8 Ways to Boost Building Security

These six problems are the most common for office buildings. The best way to overcome them is by implementing a layered security program with integrated security.

An access control system is one of the more effective security options, but it cannot work alone. As previously mentioned, someone with access to the office building could allow someone else to tailgate. Employees don't know everyone who works there. They don't know if the person is a visitor or a client. Still, they assume good intentions.

Here's how you can create a safe and secure building.

1. Create a Security Plan

In developing the security plan, you want to conduct a security risk assessment. Look at all your assets. Determine what needs protecting. For a thorough risk assessment, bring in a security consultant.

A risk assessment identifies your building security's strengths and weaknesses. Review who comes and goes on the property. How do they get in and out? What are the weak spots?

A security plan includes a layout of the property. You can use this layout to mark any security solutions you have in place. It'll help you determine the vulnerable areas. If you have or plan to add video surveillance, you can mark where the cameras are or will be placed.

As you identify your needs, prioritize them. You may not be able to budget for everything at once. The security plan includes policies and procedures for everything. The process for hiring a new employee, for example, would include a background check.

The plan lists the current security measures. Finally, add a sign-off sheet. Here, employees need to sign it saying they understand the processes and procedures and will abide by them. When they break protocol, "I didn't know that" will not suffice as a reason.

2. Develop a Position with Security Responsibilities

Even if you outsource all your security, you want at least one employee whose sole role is overseeing security. Someone needs to be the contact person for all things security. This person also oversees the policies and procedures ensuring all employees receive training.

You're only as strong as your weakest link, and that weakest link is often an employee. All it takes is for one employee to let someone tailgate into the building. That's where video surveillance is a big help. It can catch tailgating incidents. More on this in a minute.

3. Design a Customer and Visitor Management Process

What is the process for non-employees who visit the office building? Don't forget about the package and mail delivery. They want to get in and out with packages quickly. You want to avoid creating a bottleneck for them. What's the checkout process? Document all this in the security plan.

4. Require Photo Identification

One of the more effective security tools is ID badges. They contain the employee's information and photo. This reduces the likelihood of someone swiping the badge and using it when they don't look like the photo.

You'll want to do something similar with visitors and customers. Obviously, they won't have photo badges. However, you can create badges that aren't easy to duplicate. Perhaps, a randomly rotating schedule of badge designs.

If you integrate an access control system with the badges, you can control the areas employees can access. If your office building has a server room, you can limit access to only those who need to enter. These processes and procedures also belong in the security plan.

5. Use Smart Lighting

Lighting is one of the cheapest, simplest, and most effective security solutions. However, not every office building does it right. Sometimes they don't have enough lighting, or they have too much or too bright. Effective lighting is not about how many or how bright. It's about taking a strategic approach to placement and design.

6. Integrate an Access Control System

An access control system takes your photo badges a step further. You can control who can enter any part of the building. If you have a parking garage with a gate, employees can swipe their badges to enter. They can do the same to enter the building.

Access control can do just about anything. Incorporate it in the elevator so people can access specific floors. When an employee resigns or gets fired, they turn in their badge with their access. No worrying about them accessing office building resources.

They work well as part of an integrated security system that includes video surveillance. You'd be able to match the time stamp with the video. Integrated security enhances efficiencies and saves on costs.

7. Install Fences and Locks, If Needed

Whether you can use a fence depends on your property. It may not be possible to put up a fence or gate around the office building's property. If you have an access control system, you most likely won't need locks. It's just another layer of security to consider. Your security plan is not going to be the same as a construction site or even another office building.

8. Implement Remote Video Surveillance

Video surveillance is the final layer of an effective security plan. Remember, tailgating can happen even with an access control system, but it'll be harder to get away with it when you integrate video surveillance.

It can also help protect you from liability issues. If someone gets hurt in the office building, video surveillance footage can show what happened. It's hard to prove that you're not at fault without video.

Remote video surveillance can help catch potential hazards before accidents happen. They rely on a combination of analytics and human intelligence. Trained security operators contact your company when they see hazards. The best part is they're safely located away from your office building.

Video surveillance can help identify potential threats. When the system sees intruders, the security operator can issue an audio warning. If the trespassers continue to work their way to the building or parking lot, the operator can call law enforcement while keeping an eye on the intruders.

Enhancing Building Security

You can get a faster ROI when you take a layered and integrated approach to office building security. It helps ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Most importantly, it largely boosts the security and safety of your office building. It'll help catch problems earlier, before the costs climb and spin out of control.

Pick up this free remote video surveillance guide to learn how it can do more than catch criminals and deter crime. If you'd like to discuss your specific requirements or meet with a security consultant, please contact us.

Posted in: Crime Prevention, Video Security Systems, Security Guards & Savings, Video Monitoring