5 Office Security Measures Every Organization Should Undertake — Sheriff Deputies

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5 Office Security Measures Every Organization Should Undertake

Security risks are on the rise and it is so unfortunate that many organisations do not have the necessary office security measures in place to help protect their premises and assets from possible threats.

Some of the likely threats or security risks organizations may experience are;

  • Theft,
  • Vandalism,
  • Sabotage
  • Unauthorised Access
  • Violence
  • Burglary
  • Terrorism

Organizations should therefore research possible security risks or threats that may endanger them and seek out professional ways to prevent them. Experts in crisis management believe that the best way to manage a crisis is to anticipate one before it happens and take necessary steps in preventing it. Likewise, the best way to secure your premises is to anticipate security risks and take necessary office security measures to prevent them.

5 Office Security Measures for Organizations

Here are 5 office security measures that every organization needs to put in place in order to prevent and protect their company from potential security threats or risks.

1. Security Risk Assessment

Security risk assessment is the evaluation of an organization’s business premises, processes and activities in order to uncover hidden security loopholes that can endanger both the company and her people.

Having a security risk assessment before installing and implementing security solutions is very critical because it will help an organization to actually know the type of office security measures to implement.

The security solution that ‘organization A’ requires might be different from the solution required by ‘organisation B’. So it is vital for each organization to conduct a security risk assessment to enable them identify the particular office security measures that is most suitable for the organization.

2. Employment of Security Guards

A security guard is a person contracted and paid by an organization to protect property, asset and people. Note specially that a security guard is quite different from a gate man. While a gate-man is one who controls or tends at the gate i.e. he opens and closes the gate for incoming and outgoing visitors; a security guard has certain special functions such as;

  • Patrolling the organizations premises to prevent, detect signs of intrusion and obstruction.
  • Strict observation of all entrances and departures in and out of the organizations.
  • Checking and investigating disturbances, answers alarms and putting call to emergencies such as police, and fire services.
  • Enforcement of company rules and acts to protect lives and properties.
  • Performs access control at building entrances and vehicle gates and ensures that employees and visitors display proper passes or identification before entering the organization premises.

3. Perimeter Protection

Perimeter protection is the physical security control measures installed as a form of access control to restrict and reduce access from outside sources. It is an important asset for industrial, commercial, public or private residential premises and is generally regarded as the first line of defence in providing physical security for a facility or premises.

Examples of perimeter protection includes;

  • Fence: this is a barrier built to deter people or animal from crossing a boundary. The fence can either be electric or non-electric. Most electric fences are used to enhance security of sensitive areas such as prisons, military installations and other security sensitive places.
  • Gates: these are the most commonly used for perimeter protection. It restricts unauthorised access to premises. Just as the case with electric fence, electric gates are used by those who find the security of their premises highly important.
  • Doors and Locks: good locks are most regarded as the first line of defence. Install high security locks and electronic access control units on all doors and closets that have private information or hazardous materials, outside doors, basements etc. Make sure all doors are solid and door frames/hinges are strong enough that they cannot be pried open. Be certain all windows are secure.
  • Lights: both the inside and outside of your organization should be protected with proper lighting. Install motion sensors as well as constant outside lights. Illuminate dark places around the building and leave some interior lights on even when the business is closed.
  • Install CCTV: Closed-Circuit Television widely known CCTV should also be installed for surveillance purposes. It should be a part of the office security measures of an organization that is under constant scrutiny and organized surveillance. CCTV supports the work of security guards and other security personnel because one person cannot be at a place constantly, however cameras fitted at different strategic locations of a premise helps to record all movements within the coverage area.
  • Take Care of Common Trouble Spots: common trouble spots such as;
  1. The reception area should be equipped with a panic button for emergencies, a camera with a monitor at another employee’s desk, and a high security lock on the front door that can be controlled.
  2. The Stair case and out-of-the-way corridor should be properly lighted.
  3. The Restroom should always be locked with high security locks and only employees have access to the keys.
  4. Parking lots or garage should also be well-lighted and well-guarded. Security guards should ensure that car owners always lock their car and roll the windows up all the way.

4. Continuous Security Engagement:

Organizations should have a system of a continuous security engagement in place that will be used in maintaining security protection at all times such as;

  • Making sure that all windows and doors are securely locked before leaving and closing the workplace and checking them again in the morning and see if anything is missing.
  • Keeping all entrances and exits secured at all times. A Combination Door Lock is ideal for controlling access into a building as a code is needed to gain entry. If this system is not in place issue either card, keys or ID badges to regular staff of your workplace. A door access kit is also another way of controlling who can access the building, this way anyone who doesn’t work in the building, will not have access and must go to reception to sign in and be provided with a visitor’s badge.
  • Making sure you have a good security system. Only give the password/code to staff that have legitimate reasons for having it and change it regularly.
  • Technology is everywhere and is used all day in workplaces. Laptop and Computer security is at great importance, because of documents, files and personal information such as bank details, names and addresses are stored on them.
  • Keeping systems pass-worded. Accessing computers and laptops could be very easy for anyone if they are not pass-worded. Whatever business you are in, keeping documents and personal information safe is vital, so keep your computer and documents pass-worded.
  • Knowing that your employees understand and know what security measure your company has is essential to maintaining security of the workplace. They will need to know who to go to if they have any questions or doubts about a security procedure and what the company policy is and when it changes. This way when a security procedure is carried out, it is done correctly and the member of staff can feel safe about it
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5. Developing an Emergency Response Plan

Always be prepared for an emergency. Emergencies can happen at any time and when it happens, it is critical that your organization should know what to do. A good emergency response plan helps companies not only protect its employees but its community, and the environment.

Being prepared for an emergency can limit injuries and damages and help people return to a normal business day. The following tips can be helpful as a guide in developing an emergency response plan.

  • All members of the Organization should know the evacuation plans and exit routes to use during an emergency.
  • Have a designated post-evacuation meeting location where appropriate personnel can take a headcount and identify missing workers. Every employee should be aware of this location.
  • Knowing the location of fire extinguishers and medical kits and how to use them.
  • Never lock fire exits or block doorways or stairways. Keep fire doors closed to slow the spread of smoke and fire.
  • Report damaged or malfunctioning safety systems to appropriate personnel for repair and maintenance.
  • Make special emergency plans for co-workers who are disabled or may require assistance during an emergency. Assign someone also the responsibility of getting visitors out of the building during an emergency.
  • Develop a list of everyone’s home phone numbers with instructions for who will call whom. Make sure everyone keeps a printed copy at his or her home.
  • Cover all types of emergencies in the plan, including fire, medical, suspicious persons or devices, accidents, hazardous materials, robberies, theft, and natural disasters.

Conclusion

Obviously, there are so many security risks or threats that can endanger an organization. These 5 office security measures discussed are what we recommend you begin with in ensuring the protection of the lives and properties in your office.

We are currently helping several organizations like yours identify the right office security measures they need to put in place for their companies.

www.sheriffdeputiesltd.com

Construction Site Security Guide

Construction is a vast and valuable industry which involves both the storage and on-going use of high value vehicles, materials, tools and machinery. All of these items have a resale value, whilst items such as fuel have an off-set cost value, making construction sites a highly profitable magnet for criminals.

As such, every year, the construction industry loses £400 million through theft, and approximately the same amount again through vandalism and fire, with around 40% (approximately 100,000) of all construction site fires being started deliberately (source: Aviva).

The industry also involves a significant workforce, many of whom can be rendered vulnerable by inefficient security measures on construction sites.

The threats

Criminal activity as a result of unauthorised entry into a construction site presents several overall threats:

  • To operations, including ongoing works and schedules, disruption to which costs millions each year.
  • To property and materials – including buildings and outbuildings, structures under construction or demolition, as well as construction materials, tools, equipment, plant, fuel and petty theft of workers’ possessions and assets.
  • To life, including trespassers causing damage which has the potential to injure, maim or kill, such as ripping out fixtures and leaving wiring unsafe, as well as deliberate actions such as arson which threaten life as well as property.

As an example, the relatively high cost of fuel means that fuel theft is popular: it can easily be reused and disappear without trace, whilst the single action of stealing fuel from a construction site can have repercussions which threaten operations, property and life:

  • Operational cost – few plant vehicles or generators can function without fuel. The delays caused by both the lack and the need to refuel affects schedules, which can affect overall progress towards deadlines.
  • Property cost – expensive plant may be damaged in the process of the theft.
  • Life – fuel spilled during theft is common and presents a fire hazard which could be both life-changing and life-ending.

Loss and liability

As well as the threats to operations, property and life, the actions of thieves who’ve gained access through inadequately secured sites threatens site owners or managers with liability for further loss and damage. For example, if plant and heavy, powerful vehicles are stolen in order to gain access or destroy other buildings, such as ram-raiding retail premises, or to gain high up access to a building, this consequential action of the theft can be costly in terms of both site loss and liability for other damage / losses occurring off-site.

Similarly, construction companies can find themselves liable for accidents involving trespassers or as a consequence of trespassers compromising overall safety. This is often the case when sites are inadequately secured against trespass and vandalism. Construction sites can be particularly vulnerable to vandalism as part of general anti-social behaviour or specific, renegade rebellion against construction being carried out in the locality.

Construction site challenges

Construction sites offer particular security challenges:

  • Busy sites mean constant movement. With workers being focused on their own areas and tasks, the site may be vulnerable to opportunists who may just walk in unchallenged to help themselves, or enter the site to check out the layout, value of assets and presence (or not) of onsite security, in order to return later for a more organised theft spree.
  • A variety of access points are often needed, for vehicles, construction site workers and for authorised visitors, such as managers and building control. Access points and arrangements may constantly change as work progresses and may be particularly vulnerable as phases of work move on.
  • Movement and storage of vehicles which may need to be kept onsite temporarily can be a challenge to secure in a cost-effective and safe manner.

Security essentials

Every construction site is different, both in location, environmental factors and needs, but in order to achieve security, there are common factors for fundamental security:

  • Thorough risk analysis is essential for the site and should reflect physical security, operational security and changes across each phase of work.
  • Protocols should be put into place to reduce risks identified in the risk analysis.
  • Limiting access, both to vehicles and visitors on foot, is essential in reducing opportunity for unauthorised access. Numbers should be limited and only authorised vehicles and persons present – no one, including site workers, should be able to access a site through an open entrance.
  • Vehicle vulnerability should be addressed with action which includes key protocols so that plant which is temporarily not in use is not left unattended with keys in the ignition. All keys should be signed in and out and vehicles not in use should be locked in a separate parking area or garaged on-site. All plant should be fitted with immobilisation devices and tracking.
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Physical security involves embedding robust security which supports the infrastructure of the site. This means installing measures such as:

  • CCTV, alarm systems and signage – including highly visible systems which offer remote monitoring and recording both as deterrent and quick alert to problems arising. Warning signage and out-of-hours security contact information are essentials.
  • Access control – as well as minimal access points, this includes installing suitable, industrial security gating so that gates cannot be simply unhinged after hours.
  • Lighting – as both a visible deterrent and aid to security, lighting can particularly protect access points and should be fitted to areas which are inaccessible and therefore cannot be disabled by intruders.
  • Fencing and barriers – RISC recommends construction sites install site perimeter security of at least 2.4 metres high. Additional security can be gained by deploying:
    • Barriers within the site to create separately secure areas.
    • Anti-climb, palisade and / or welded mesh fencing as these reduce access through climbing and makes intruders visible.
    • Kerbs and bollards if there is a risk of uninvited vehicle access across any part of the perimeter.
  • Locks – sites should include lockable storage such as steel tool vaults and containment so that all equipment, tools, metals and materials can be secured out of sight overnight and when not in use, to reduce visible temptation to opportunists. Fuel stores should also be adequately protected, to prevent both theft and possible use as part of an arson attack. All access points should be lockable after hours, using tamper-resistant methods, for example robust padlocking rather than shackles which could be cut.
  • Scaffolding – a resource often used by criminals to gain further access to property, all types of scaffolding, including scaffolding towers and ladders should be locked away when not in use.

Operational security is the essential human overview and involvement in the security of the construction site. This may include designated personnel to oversee:

  • Provision and monitoring of risk management, assessment and health and safety protocols.
  • Manned guarding – with guards who are suitably qualified and hold a current Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. 24 hour guarding is probably essential for larger sites whilst smaller sites may find mobile patrols or dog security more appropriate.
  • Entry and exit monitoring.
  • Locking away and security marking of plant, tools and equipment.
  • Key use protocols.
  • Managing and operating technology which supports security, such as setting alarms and automated systems (particularly important as the site develops and areas become additionally or differently vulnerable).

Finally, for any security put into place, it’s essential that site managers and workers share full involvement in the development of site security, are aware of systems and protocols and take responsibility for using these appropriately at all times.

This information is for general guidance only. For essential construction industry specific information, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive offers regularly updated information, including protocols and codes of practice.

Get in touch with SafeSite Facilities for free quotes and expert advice about construction site security.

www.safesitefacilities.co.uk

12 Ways To Increase Hotel Security

Even when hotels have strong security policies and procedures in place, they are still vulnerable to cyber attacks, break-ins, theft, fraud, and other crimes. That’s why it’s vital to take precautionary measures and continually evaluate security programs. “Having robust security in place means a better, safer, guest experience,” says Chad Callaghan, principal of Premises Liability Experts and American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) security consultant. “When department managers and other employees think more about safety and security, you can prevent a lot of theft and minimize dangers.”

Inadequate security has repercussions beyond guests losing belongings to theft. Hotels can be held liable for the criminal acts of third parties. Civil litigation against property owners and managers has become commonplace ever since Garzilli v. Howard Johnson. In this 1976 court case, the jury ruled in favor of singer Connie Francis, who had sued a Howard Johnson in New York for negligent security after being assaulted by an unknown man who entered her room through a sliding glass door. And hotels are still targets of lawsuits because of theft and injury.

Before becoming AHLA’s security consultant, Callaghan spent 35 years with Marriott International. As the vice president of global safety and security for the Americas, Callaghan was responsible for Marriott properties throughout the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. During his more than three-decade career, Callaghan has managed everything from the integration of new technologies such as electronic locks and computer surveillance systems to implementing anti-terrorism procedures. Here, Callaghan shares expert tips on guest safety, internal theft, and cybersecurity that can help owners and operators avoid downtime, reputation loss, liability, and lawsuits. To ensure your property is secure and able to face the latest threats, here’s what you need to know:

Guest Safety: Ensuring Return Stays and a Good Reputation

When guests check in, they’re likely more concerned about making a meeting or going sightseeing. Security shouldn’t be on their minds during, or after, their visit. In the summer of 2012, security researcher and software developer Cody Brocious exposed a security flaw in certain Onity door locks and revealed a lock-hacking technique that received widespread exposure in the news. Since then, dozens of guestroom burglaries at hotels in Texas and Arizona have been linked to the hacking technique. Although Onity announced a fix for the security flaw, hotels that have not taken the appropriate steps to mitigate risks posed by this threat are still vulnerable.

With social media and review sites spreading negative sentiment like wildfire, it’s more important than ever to amp up guest security—your reputation and bottom line depends on it. Here’s how:

1 Update locks.

Locks that can track who goes in and out of rooms can serve as a deterrent to theft. “When employees realize there’s an audit process on door security, it makes rooms less prone to theft,” Callaghan says. Other upgrades include automatic deadbolts, which can better prevent external threats from thieves, or systems that eliminate the need for master keys.

2 Make time for safety meetings.

Perhaps as part of a regular meeting, schedule time to talk about guest safety. Part of this time could also be spent watching training videos, such as those produced by Safety Source Productions. These videos, accompanied by handouts, are a low-cost way to share information about guest safety and can train employees about how to spot suspicious behavior.

3 Monitor activity with software.

Having closed-circuit television to monitor the property doesn’t matter too much if no one is looking at the monitors. Recent innovations in software have solved that problem. Coupled with software, video cameras can now recognize activity in an area and provide an alert. One example: the system can alert when there is activity in a valet parking area. Other options include using a third party to monitor the exterior of the hotel. Some of these systems have voice command capability, where operators can see and warn off people captured on surveillance.

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4 Evaluate and improve—quickly.

Darrell Clifton, director of security for the 1,572-room Circus Circus Reno Hotel and Casino in Nevada, conducts weekly reviews of the property and even has checklists for staff to ensure areas, such as stairwells, are clean, safe, and well lit. “We concentrate on our liability,” Clifton says. “If we know of something that’s happened, if someone was robbed or there was an accident, that area is quickly addressed. We can’t ignore it. We do something immediately to protect from another event happening.”

5 Meet and greet.

One of the simplest, but most effective, ways of securing a property is to provide excellent customer service. “Engage customers you encounter,” Clifton says. “Ask them about their stay and if there’s anything you can do to help. You don’t have to throw more labor at security. Just make employees a little smarter.” By talking with people on your property, staff can determine if there’s a non-guest who may intend to commit a crime. Employees should also look out for people who don’t fit the profile of the hotel’s typical guest.

Theft and Fraud: Monitoring Employee Activities

It’s a disappointing reality that hoteliers have to contend with employee theft and fraud. But theft and fraud can have a major impact on a property’s bottom line and guest satisfaction. This past year, a number of employee theft stories have made the headlines. In October, an employee at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge, La., allegedly stole more than $34,000 from hotel safe deposits and altered financial records to cover his tracks. In July, a former employee of a Tallahassee hotel faced charges she stole more than $42,000 from the business by diverting money onto personal credit cards. To prevent such losses, follow these tips:

6 Provide a sense of ownership.

When employees have a sense of ownership in a property, security throughout the property will be much tighter. One method to promote such ownership is instituting some form of profit sharing. So, when employees see waste or theft, they’re more likely to stop or report it. “The employees are the eyes and ears of the hotel,” Callaghan says. “At hotels where they’ve had profit sharing, I’ve heard employees say things such as, ‘Hey, don’t do that, that’s my profit sharing.’ ”

7 Boost employee empowerment.

Related to ownership, when employees have a sense of empowerment, they’ll be able to solve safety and security problems quickly and often more efficiently. Have an anonymous tip line, where employees can report theft or threats to guest or staff safety. And when an employee sees anything unsafe or unsecure on the property, have a work order system in place that treats these reports with priority.

8 Staff smart.

During the hiring process, conduct drug screening and criminal background checks. Then, once the person is hired, explain that there are controls in place. Employees who know there are monitoring systems will be less likely to commit crimes of opportunity. And while it may be tempting to consolidate duties, reduce headcount, and save payroll, it may cost property managers in the long run. For important processes, such as handling a cash bag, have at least two people sign off. Also, to avoid adding staff, property managers can also turn to external, off-site auditors.

9 Add active monitoring to video surveillance.

Most properties have some sort of video surveillance of employee activities around sensitive areas, such as the front desk and cash drawer. But new technology enables another level of monitoring. Software enables hotel owners to match transactions with video surveillance, eliminating the need to watch hours and hours of video to find potential criminal activity. For example, the software can detect when a cash draw is left open and will show that whatever is being passed over a scanner is actually read. “It’s pretty inexpensive and won’t cost an owner much to have those analytics,” Clifton says, adding that such systems could be installed for less than $10,000, depending on the type and number of cameras installed. “Often, when you buy a new video system, the software will be added. Be sure to ask for it, though.”

Cybersecurity: Protecting Electronic Borders

As technology has advanced, so has criminals’ ability to exploit those new technologies. The hotel industry has seen several such examples lately. Russian hackers breached Wyndham Worldwide’s data center in Phoenix three times between 2008 and 2010, accessing more than 600,000 payment card accounts and leading to more than $10.6 million in fraud loss. As a result, in June 2012, the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit alleging that Wyndham failed to implement reasonable data security measures to protect the payment card information of their customers. (Wyndham has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.)

Property owners and managers should reassess cybersecurity about as often as physical security. Here are a few things to look for and consider as you evaluate your cybersecurity:

10 Connect IT and security departments.

Don’t keep a wall between the information technology and security departments of your property. “The two departments should work together, because security is [vital to] both their jobs,” Clifton says. “Clearly establish how the two departments work together, and they should know where each other’s responsibilities stop and the other begins.” To foster this relationship, some properties place the two departments under the same manager and same budget. And the two departments should conduct regular security meetings, perhaps as often as once a week.

11 Upgrade to VLAN.

A LAN, or local area network, is a network that connects computers. For many businesses that includes a WiFi access point for customers. However, WiFi that’s directly connected to your property’s servers can pose a risk and provide easy access for savvy hackers. One way to add more cybersecurity is to install what’s called a VLAN, or virtual network. Relatively inexpensive, VLANs often don’t require additional hardware. Installing this software can add another layer of security between your servers and potential hackers. Also, a common feature of VLANs is the ability to set up multiple wireless network names, which can have varying levels of security. Computers used for business and staff can have a high level of security, and guest WiFi networks can have a lower, easy-to-access level of security and be separated from the property’s network.

12 Beware of social engineering.

Not all cyber threats occur online. Social engineering and physical hacking of hotel computers pose a significant risk. “Employees should have an awareness about the physical security of computers, access control, and passwords,” Clifton says. “Many of the big hacking schemes we hear about start with someone conning a password out of an employee.” Change passwords every three months. Also, employees should monitor the physical access points to a property’s computers and servers. Make regular patrols to look for people who are in staff-only areas of a property.

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