It is not uncommon for thieves to simply walk into an office on the off chance no one will see them – or sometimes they may pose as a technician or just look like they ‘should be there’. (In retail/wholesale environments, install a buzzer or similar device on the entry door to warn staff when someone has entered the shop.)
Irrespective of whether you’re open for business or not, you need to restrict the movement of intruders in your premises.
1. Reception area
Your reception area is and should be your first line of defense against intruders during normal business hours. It is one of the most important parts of company security and it should always be the first point of contact when anyone enters the building.
This means that the reception area must never be left unattended, every visitor entering the building should be signed in and out and should be issued with identification against a signature.
Visitors should always be picked up from, and escorted back to, the reception by an authorised member of staff.
If reception staff are used to control access from a public reception area into more secure parts of the building, care should be taken to ensure that they cannot be threatened or placed under duress to allow unauthorised entry. The reception area should always be equipped with a personal attack/ emergency button.
Bear in mind that intruders sometimes enter the building and hide themselves until it is closed and empty. You should carefully search the premises before locking up and ensure your alarm system will pick up movement inside the building – not just at the entry/exit points.
2. Access Control
To stop intruders slipping past the reception area, entrances and exits leading to and from it should all be fitted with mechanical or electronic access control locks/systems.
These can be operated by code numbers, swipe cards or even, for the more important areas, Biometric passes (such as iris recognition systems).
Or if your business is small, lock the access doors to private areas and issue keys to staff – making sure you keep an accurate register of who has what keys. (Check regularly to make sure keys haven’t been lost or misplaced.)
3. Card Access & Tags
The use of smart cards or electronic fobs is much easier to control than keys. Lost cards can simply be deleted, visitors can be given access on a given day only, and employees can be given access only to the part of the building where their work requires them to be.
Card and tag systems may be used in conjunction with keypad code systems to ensure that both card and holder are properly identified. Stolen or misplaced cards can be made to ensure that none has been mislaid.
For special secure areas it is advisable to use key-registered locks whereby keys can only be obtained against authenticated authorisation or locks which require codes and magnetic cards to obtain entry.
Key cabinets are vital. They should be of steel construction and securely bolted to the wall.
They should be lockable and the keys kept inside should NOT be labeled.
All staff members have to play a role in keeping the company secure. They should all be instructed to challenge anyone that they don’t recognise or is not wearing correct identification. Where appropriate the ‘visitor’ should be accompanied back to reception for badging-up or collection by the person they are visiting.