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Physical Office Security Best Practices

With the invention of technologies such as video surveillance and access control, physical office security has quickly become a part of the IT space.
May 06, 2021

In this Article:

What is Physical Office Security?

How can IT teams help keep people, offices and property safe? 

Assessing Your Security Risks

The first step in improving your physical office security should be to assess the state of your current security solutions.

Physical Security Systems

There are many different physical security systems available, but each is only as effective as the policies and practices you put in place along with them. 

Physical Office Security Best Practices

You may have the most sophisticated physical security devices on the planet, but without the proper policies and practices in place, you could still be at risk. 

Securing a modern workplace requires careful collaboration between IT services, employees, and a host of other parties. Security threats are everywhere from online to your front door. Some of the most significant protections you can put in place start with the security of your physical location.

Properly securing your office can help to mitigate and reduce threats and future workplace downtime. With the invention of technologies such as video surveillance, or access control, physical office security has quickly become a part of the IT space. Utilizing these modern security systems and practices can go a long way in making your business physically more secure. Here’s an overview of physical office security best practices, so you can ensure your workplace is secure.

CDW Amplified™ Physical Security deploys, integrates and manages physical security systems that improve safety and security. Learn More

What is Physical Office Security?

Everything from employee access to the fire alarms in your building can be considered physical office security. Anyone inside of your workspace needs to be protected by some form of physical security. For smaller offices, this can mean simply singing in visitors at a front desk or sharing the Wi-Fi password with new employees. For larger organizations, physical security can become a bit more comprehensive and involve ID badges or other more advanced security services.

No matter the size of your business, it is crucial to understand where you are at risk and the steps you can take to prevent damage. Properly securing your workspace means that employees and visitors can work as efficiently and safely as possible without fear of security risks or immediate danger.

Assessing Your Security Risks

The first step in improving your physical office security should be to assess the state of your current security solutions. Performing regular security assessments allows your business to determine the areas that are most likely to be targeted by malicious parties trying to gain access to your resources. You should always try to be as thorough as possible when performing assessments. The more problems you find, the more potential problems you can work to prevent in the long run.

It is good practice to perform security assessments at regular intervals or anytime there is a significant change to your business infrastructures, such as the addition of new equipment or employees. Making changes to your business creates new potential areas for security risks. By assessing these new areas as they are implemented, you can reduce or prevent future issues. Security professionals such as those at CDW can help by performing these assessments and making recommendations specifically designed for your business to improve its security. 

Physical Security Systems

There are a few core parts of any physical office security system. The most crucial being access control, which refers to how employee access to the physical office is handled. Beyond deciding who enters the building, physical security systems are also in charge of monitoring your workspace and ensuring it is safe and usable for your employees. In smaller offices, a single employee or the IT department can manage access or employee onboarding. However, when it comes to larger corporations, an entire security department may be needed.

There are many different physical security systems available, but each is only as effective as the policies and practices you put in place along with them. Read below for a list of the most common physical security devices and how they can help secure your business:

Video Surveillance Equipment

Workplace cameras have come a long way from basic CCTV. Modern surveillance systems utilize IP-enabled video cameras to provide real-time protection and monitoring powered by analytics and AI. With these modern devices, you can view live cameras and recorded footage in any location. By utilizing this new technology, cameras can be viable for much more than just re-watching past events. Enhanced video surveillance can even alert you to potential risks or allow you to monitor employee and business processes. Beyond security, monitoring employees and procedures will also create valuable video data that can be analyzed to further improve and optimize operations. 

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Access Control

The larger your business is, the more areas you will need to secure to protect your organization. Whether you run a small office with less than ten employees or a multi-floor office building, controlling personnel access is vital to securing your workspace and information. The first step in an access control plan is securing points of entry. This means learning of all the ways to enter your business and ensuring that they are secure and require the proper credentials to grant entry.

This can be taken a step further by dividing up employee access within the office to add yet another layer of security. For example, Sales department employees do not need access to internal servers or security cameras. By requiring unique credentials for specific areas and only giving those credentials to employees with the proper clearance, you can add another valuable layer of physical security to your business. 

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Environmental Sensors

Sometimes, security threats can result from the environment and not a malicious party. When these threats occur, your office must have the proper sensors and alert systems in place to keep all employees, clients, and visitors as safe as possible. Such environmental sensors include fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and any other equipment that will alert personnel to potentially dangerous changes within the environment. Extended situational awareness means faster response times and reduced damages when environmental emergencies do occur. 

Physical Office Security Best Practices

You may have the most sophisticated physical security devices on the planet, but without the proper policies and practices in place, you could still be at risk. Security practices are the application of ideas and policies used in conjunction with physical equipment to protect your business as best as possible. Policies can range from basic patterns such as resetting employee passwords at regular intervals to specific instructions as to how to add or remove employees from internal infrastructure safely. The key to successful physical security is to educate personnel so they can feel comfortable and safe utilizing your security resources within the workspace.

Below you will find some common physical office security best practices and what they aim to accomplish for your business:

Stay Up to Date

Security systems are no different from any other program. Over time, devices and software receive regular updates aimed at improving their performance and longevity. Updates can often have significant changes that add or remove levels of security from what was present before. This is why it is always recommended to stay as up to date as possible with all aspects of your physical security.

Often, updates will be released in response to discovered flaws or errors within systems. Applying these updates is the only way you can make sure you are protected against the newest threats. Applying regular updates to systems will ensure that any employee access changes are quickly detected and addressed accordingly.

Monitor Employee Turnover & Onboarding

An unflattering aspect of any business is employee turnover. Whether the employee is leaving on good terms or must be escorted out of the office, there is an immediate need to revoke that person’s access to company resources. Establishing employee exit and entrance procedures can help you maintain physical security by regulating office and network access to required personnel. Employees discontinuing work for your business should promptly turn in all physical access tools such as keys or keycards and relinquish access credentials for any digital company resources as well.

The same goes for new employees. Access to company resources should require specific credentials that will only be supplied to new hires after adequate training has been completed.         

Train Employees

The only thing more effective than a sophisticated security tool is an employee who knows how to properly utilize said system. By training employees to work with security systems, you can create a workplace culture that incentivizes safety and efficiency. Educating employees also helps to improve security, because employees who are aware of security concerns are better equipped to recognize or identify future threats before they occur. It is good practice to train new employees on current systems and offer regular educational opportunities for current employees to learn new security features or updates.

Regularly Test Security

Just because your physical security systems have been working as intended does not mean that they will always function that way. Updates in programs or hardware failure can quickly put a previously rock-solid defense system at risk. This is why it is crucial to test your physical security systems at regular intervals. By testing your security practices, you can learn of potential areas that require more significant protection and ensure that your hardware is operating as intended. Suppose you are the one making your security fail. In that case, it is not necessarily a bad thing but rather a learning process that can make your business more secure in the long run. 

Summary

Having successful physical office security requires the careful collaboration of sophisticated technologies and employees. Systems such as automated access control or networked surveillance cameras can help to add layers of protection to your office but are only as effective as the departments and employees using them. Regular employee training and staying up to date on threats and workplace changes will guarantee your business is as secure as possible. By carefully implementing thought-out policies and practices, you can ensure that both your employees and security services are operating safely at peak performance.

CDW Amplified™ Physical Security deploys, integrates and manages physical security systems that improve safety and security. Learn More

Protect people, property and premises with CDW Amplified Physical Security Services.

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