Do you know how secure your business is from theft, violence and other types of crime? Most businesses have one or more physical security measures in place. However, without periodic audits, there’s no way to ensure that these systems are functioning properly to keep your business secure. And, that can cost you — one look at these statistics and you begin to see just how much:
- The National Safety Council has reported that more than two million people each year report having been the victims of workplace violence.
- According to one study by Chicago-based insurance agency Insureon, close to nine percent of small businesses suffered a burglary or theft in 2016.
- Lapses in physical security can also open the door, quite literally, to breaches in information security. A recent study by Accenture reports that cybercrime costs U.S. businesses a staggering $11.7 million annually, and the number of successful cyber-attacks is rising sharply — more than 20 percent each year. Many of these events are the result of a hacker exploiting a weakness in the organization’s physical security.
These statistics underscore the need for physical security systems that are active and effective at all times. The only way to achieve this is through the frequent implementation of physical security audits.
Physical security audits are a comprehensive inspection and evaluation, usually by an independent party, of all the physical security measures your business has in place. The goal of a physical security audit is to identify any gaps and loopholes in your security system so that they can be addressed. A security audit also evaluates the security policies for your business and how well your security system is being implemented.
All Effective Physical Security Systems Start with a Policy
Physical threats are far more likely to be successful when a business is unaware of the risks they face. Most businesses have security policies of some kind or another. However, whether these policies provide sufficient protections, depends on whether they recognize all the risks to your business.
Physical security audits are a key step in developing a truly comprehensive security policy because they take into account the full range of risk your organization faces. This allows you to put into place any new procedures necessary to mitigate them and identify any repairs or new equipment your physical security system might need.
What Should You Audit?
The American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) has published the Facilities Physical Security Measures Guideline to assist businesses in identifying physical security measures that can be applied at their facilities to safeguard or protect their assets — their visitors, residents, or employees, their property, and their information systems. While these guidelines cover several categories of physical security measures, we will focus on the types of measures people most commonly think of with respect to physical security and which have the most direct impact on the level of security at your business:
- Access controls
- Intrusion detection
- Video surveillance
The following information provides a checklist to help you begin thinking about some of the basic elements that would typically be inspected as part of a physical security audit. However, these checklists should not be considered comprehensive as no single list can possibly capture all the unique combinations of security measures that businesses might have in place. Your security policy will provide the specific components of your physical security system to be inspected and may help you to identify new risks along the way.
❏ Are all the doors and other points of access to your building restricted and/or monitored?
❏ Is access to all secure areas within your building restricted and/or monitored?
❏ Is access controlled with some form of identification?
❏ Do access cards and identification badges have enhanced security features to prevent duplication or the creation of false credentials?
❏ Are all employees and contractors properly wearing their company identification badges?
❏ Are visitors required to sign in and out on a register?
❏ Are visitors required to receive and wear visitor badges so that employees are aware of their presence?
❏ Do you have a policy in place and procedures to ensure all access cards and fobs are retrieved from departing employees and any physical access passwords deactivated?
❏ Are all access points to your building equipped with a security alarm to detect forced entry?
❏ Are all alarms functioning properly?
❏ Do all technologies designed to work together function properly?
❏ Are all your employees easily identified with badges or other visual identification?
❏ Do all employees have the training and communications equipment necessary to notify appropriate security personnel that an intruder has been detected?
❏ Do you change the security codes on all keypad entry points on a regular basis?
Video Surveillance Systems
❏ Are video surveillance systems being operated correctly and monitored properly?
❏ Are your surveillance cameras still in all the right locations?
❏ Do you have enough security cameras to cover all your vulnerable areas?
❏ Are your security cameras adjusted properly to provide video that is focused and in the correct resolution?
❏ Do your exterior security cameras appear tampered with or damaged in any way?
Other Important Considerations for Better Physical Security
Regular Testing and Maintenance is Critical
They say a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The same can be said of your physical security systems. The importance of regular testing and maintenance of your physical security systems cannot be understated. This includes regular testing of all the components of your physical security system, including at minimum your electronic access control systems, any video surveillance systems in place, and all security lights.
Training is Key
Many of the physical security measures in the checklists above rely on employees understanding the procedures for the correct use of security equipment and being aware of their surroundings. All employees should understand all safety and security policies and procedures and should be trained in how to respond when they witness violations.
Consult with the Experts
Koorsen Fire & Security is a leader in the design, engineering, installation and maintenance of integrated security solutions. Whether your business needs a simple intrusion alarm or a fully integrated intrusion, camera and access control system, our security professionals will work with you to develop a customized and comprehensive physical security system to help keep your building, property, and people safer.
We can also assist with a physical security audit of your business to identify any gaps in your current security system and provide the right solutions to address them. Contact the security solutions experts at Koorsen Fire & Security today to get started.
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