It’s 2023, and the need for physical security has increased significantly. We’ve witnessed attacks in restaurants, places of worship, workplaces, schools, and many other places. Physical security has become the top priority for companies of all industries and sizes. In fact, 75% of companies consider physical security as one of their top priorities this year.
Everyone thinks “This won’t happen to us” and then find themselves with their defense down and vulnerable at the worst moment. No business is too big or too small to become a victim of violence, theft, vandalism, or intrusion. 60% of companies have experienced a physical security breach in the past five years. Can your SMB relate?
Has it been years since you’ve touched your security measures? These days, the most advanced physical security solutions often incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning for enhanced threat detection and response. If your workplace doesn’t have a modern, integrated approach to security in place, now is the time to step up and take action! But where to start?
First things first. Evaluate your current security systems, find possible gaps, identify any outdated technology and detect vulnerabilities. This can be done by conducting a physical security audit!
How Serious are Physical Security Threats in the Workplace?
The experts at Security Magazine share: “The success of any business in any industry must do a risk assessment to identify present hazards to avoid future threats to have functional and practical physical security measures. The top five security threats detected in 2022 were:
- Workplace violence: 1 in 7 people don’t feel safe at their workplace. That’s an alarming number of people who spend 40+ hours a week feeling uneasy or unsafe while contributing to the success and growth of the company. Not only does workplace violence affect individual employees, but about $130 billion is lost to workplace violence every year.
- Crime/theft: Companies of all sizes are more at risk of burglary, robbery, vandalism, shoplifting, theft, and fraud than ever before. An unfortunate trend supporting this increase is the rise of “flash mob” style burglaries. According to the Organized Retail Crime Survey, in 2020, retail businesses experienced a 9.8% increase in losses due to retail crime compared to 2019. This totals to $719,548 per Billion dollars of sales revenue.
- Natural disasters: Natural disasters have increased by a factor of five over the past 50 years, primarily fueled by climate change. With these disasters only expected to worsen and happen more often, companies need to prioritize more useful security systems to keep their employees and assets safe. Business continuity and recovery plans for hazardous weather are essential for companies.
- Biosecurity: Employee and company safety comes with an emphasis on physical health. Once health and safety teams who were more concerned about appeasing The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have now become novice epidemiologists. Companies can have security systems that utilize all data inputs for enhanced contact tracing to combat and prevent major pandemics like COVID-19 and the flu. Putting these systems in place will help protect a company’s most significant asset, its employees.
- The push to move employees completely remote: With some going back to in-office work and others permanently working from home, the physical security of an organization’s employees and their assets has become a more complex issue and requires more attention. As the dynamic of work changes, the way we approach security has to change too.
Companies owe a duty of care to their employees to keep them safe and protected from the ever-growing complexity of physical security threats. With the increased intricacy and amount of physical threats, new approaches and technologies are necessary to protect employees and prevent physical security breaches effectively. Properly assessing and gathering all the physical security data available to a company allows them to become proactive instead of reactive, protecting companies and their employees and saving lives.”
Understanding the Physical Security Measures in Place
Before we talk about how you can conduct a physical security risk assessment, we must understand what constitutes physical security and what types of systems it contains:
- Access and Authorization Controls – All technology used to restrict access to buildings, areas within buildings, and access to systems, data, and equipment.
- Security Teams – Teams consist of security persons including guards, patrol guards, security team leaders, and security advisors.
- Video Surveillance – CCTV installation allows monitoring and recording of who’s in the building and when.
- Intruder Detection and Visitor Management – Using sensors and weapon detection systems to identify and alert organizations of any unwanted visitors or equipment in the building.
How to Conduct a Physical Security Audit at Your Workplace
What is a Physical Security Audit?
A physical security audit assesses an organization’s physical security measures to ensure that they are effective in protecting people, assets, and information from physical threats. Physical security includes the use of physical barriers, such as locks, access control systems, security cameras, and security personnel to prevent unauthorized access or damage to facilities, equipment, or information.
When conducting an audit, you will need to review your workplace policies, procedures, and practices related to physical security, as well as a comprehensive evaluation of the physical security measures in place. The audit will also focus on the adequacy of the perimeter’s security, access controls, CCTV systems, and alarms, as well as the effectiveness of the organization’s emergency response plans.
The objective of a physical security audit is to identify any risks and threats to the organization’s physical security measures and recommend improvements. A physical security audit can be conducted by internal auditors or external consultants who specialize in physical security.
Steps for Conducting Physical Security Evaluations at Your Business
Physical Security Risk Assessments are a crucial step in ensuring the security of any work environment – whether you manage a large enterprise, a local family business, or SMB with several locations. You shouldn’t wait for a threat to arise before you take action. Proactivity is key for business continuity and success! That’s why conducting regular physical security audits are so important. Checking in on your systems and protocols even once a year is better than never.
If you’re new to this concept, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a high level overview of what to look at when evaluating you current security solutions:
- Identify the assets: To begin, identify the assets that need security. This requires a thorough understanding of the risks you face. The risks will vary depending on the area you’re located in, what industry you belong to, and the general environment around your business. After listing potential risks, you’ll be able to identify what assets are at risk and how. Assets can include employees, data, equipment, and physical space.
- Assess the threats and identify vulnerabilities: After you identify potential threats that could harm your assets, it’s time to assess and prioritize your threats. What risks are more likely to occur and what is a high priority? Risks that are not yet covered by your company’s policies or any loopholes in your security systems are what we term vulnerabilities. These are extremely important to identify as these blind spots can be extremely damaging to the company if attacked. But a mere assessment will not lead you to all of the vulnerabilities. You will need a review of your systems, which is the next step.
- Take inventory of the current systems in place: To identify your vulnerabilities, start by assessing the capabilities of your current security systems. Survey the surrounding area/neighborhood, review maintenance plans, and see what is not performing to standards. Also, review your physical space. Are there security doors in place at entrances and other areas with restricted access? Do areas with sensitive equipment and information have enough security? Do they require authorization and are guards in place?
- Evaluate regulations, policies and protocols: Aside from physical security measures, you’ll need to evaluate the protocols in place. Are they sufficient and are they being implemented properly? Conduct a thorough review by checking with security and non-security staff members about security checks and procedures during working and non-working hours.
- Emergency response: Also, check whether you have an emergency response system in place. Are the employees well-versed in it? Does it require revisions and has it been updated in line with the changing business needs and operations? Identify and train employees who will implement the response plan in place and create a guide to help staff navigate physical security breaches.
- Identify Upgrades: After assessing protocols and measures in place, you will likely have identified areas of improvement and what upgrades you require. The internal and external environment of the business keeps changing and its growth trajectory will also give rise to new threats. Hence it’s critical to upgrade systems and improve security as the business grows.
Partner with Computers Nationwide for All Business Security Needs in 2023
Companies not only have to secure their businesses against today’s threats, but you also need to anticipate the risks of tomorrow. That’s why having the latest modern, innovative security systems in place is necessary. It’s an investment in your company, assets, and your people. Don’t wait for the worst to happen before taking action!
Conducting a physical security assessment is a great chance for any workplace to evaluate whether their security is up to par. It’s also the basis for identifying vulnerabilities and matching them with new security solutions! Before just buying new tech and upgrading a client’s security measures, the security experts at Computers Nationwide always first evaluate your business setting, risk factors, and create a detailed game plan for improvement!
Everyone wants to feel safe where they work. The state of the economy + reduced business hours + security guard shortages are just a few factors that are contributing to this rise in crime. Show your team and customers that you care! Ready for a secure season? Protect your bottom line and employees by investing in safety measures necessary in today’s business world.
Hire CN to assess your security systems and design a smart architecture that’s tailored specifically to your facility’s needs. Consider implementing live remote monitoring, visitor access management, cloud-based systems, video intercoms, perimeter security and more. With state-of-the-art technology and an experienced team, we are the top choice security service provider for SMB’s in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Connect with us today and let’s get you secured!