You may think your office, professional building or facility is secure.
After all, you have a security system in place and the doors are locked at night. The problem is that there could be gaps that you just don’t notice with a cursory scan. That’s where a professional security audit can help.
When you bring in an expert, they can review the security of your property based on criteria that draws on their years of experience in the field.
They will know where to look, what to look for, and what questions to ask. Here are just a few of things that can be covered in a good security audit, so you’ll understand where your business’ weaknesses lie and how to better protect your property and the people in it.
Physical Property & Barriers
The land surrounding your building is the first place to start.
Where are your buildings in relation to typical hiding spots in the surrounding landscape? Is it too easy to access the building or the rooftop without being seen?
Aside from the landscape itself, it’s also a good idea to evaluate manmade barriers relative to the rest of the property. Are fences, gates, and tire strips located in optimal spots?
Understanding how the physical environment deters or tempts crime can help you improve safety and security.
While fences and gates are barriers, they’re also access points, and that means how they function is just as important as where they function. Bottom line: are they performing optimally for both safety and security?
Doors and gates should close on their own. Turnstiles should require credentials before a person can pass through.
Do docks and dock doors operate properly, and are they locked when not in use? What about elevators and stairwells?
Windows should open and close with ease and should have working locks when they’re closed. If the building has large panes of glass, that glass should be laminated with a security film to help prevent forced entry.
Finally, are people who enter or exit the property via any access point being screened and documented appropriately, based on the time of day and other criteria relevant to regular activities in and around the buildings?
Examining each of these things can help you understand whether you’re deterring criminal activity or inviting it in.
Gone are the days of simple lock-and-key methods of access.
Yes, they still have their uses, but now a variety of approaches are available to meet the requirements of your business, buildings and property, and they should be reviewed on a regular basis for their effectiveness.
Are locks and locking equipment in good repair? Are codes changed on a regular basis on swipe cards or cipher locks?
It’s especially important to consider this in the context of employee turnover. When employees leave, are there adequate procedures in place to ensure they no longer have access to the property or to sensitive information?
Having a policy in place to manage access, cards and codes will go a long way toward improving security.
For energy savings alone, it doesn’t surprise us to see the lights around buildings go dim at night. However, without proper lighting, it’s impossible to see what needs to be seen.
There should be sufficient lighting to allow guards, employees and others to see into places of possible concealment or access. In fact, all building access points should be properly lit. A few dollars in savings on your electric bill is not worth the compromise to safety and security.
Fire, intrusion, tamper, and motion alarms … to protect your building properly, all of these threats need to be monitored with the appropriate alarm system.
In addition, at all points of entry—doors, windows, gates, and turnstiles—there should be something in place that helps to identify everyone who enters and exits.
If someone does try to force their way in, or if there’s smoke or fire, what will the system do? Is it monitored and will it alert local law enforcement or the fire department? Simply “having” a security system in place is not nearly as effective as having one that is monitored so that when danger or breaches threaten, the appropriate authorities can take action.
If your property is monitored by a staff, it’s wise to review the procedures that are being followed. There are practices that can optimize their presence when implemented properly.
Here are just a few of the questions worth asking …
At access points, do guards verify the identities of people on entry and, if they do, how do they do it? What sort of record do they keep of visitors that come and go?
As a routine assessment of the property, do guards complete a checklist? Are all access points included on that checklist?
Do their rounds follow a schedule, or do they vary their patrol patterns to reduce the chance that someone can take advantage of predictability and sneak through unnoticed?
A good security audit can help you uncover weaknesses in your systems and take steps to improve security.
Whether there is a guard staff, local alarms, monitored alarms, or a combination of all three, it’s important to review how fire, breaches of access, and other emergencies are communicated, and to whom they are communicated.
What methods are employed? Phone, text, email?
Who is responsible and how are they best contacted?
Is there a backup communication protocol in place to ensure an adequate response? Does the security staff know that protocol?
With the technology available in today’s security systems, communication can be instant, delivering everything from text messages to video clips to specified recipients. A thorough audit of your existing protocols can help you uncover new ways of creating effective chains of communication.
In addition to the physical presence of security staff, closed-circuit television (CCTV) is a common tool used for electronic surveillance and security at access points around the property.
However, to ensure the effectiveness of surveillance systems, camera location is crucial and should be strategically planned.
Where are the cameras located? Are they providing adequate coverage at all access points, including doorways, garages, elevators and stairwells? Are there blind spots where someone can bypass security systems unnoticed?
Do cameras operate well in both high and low light conditions?
Are they monitored 24 hours a day, or are they reviewed only after an incident has taken place? How much and for how long is video footage stored?
A lot goes into planning a successful CCTV system. But having “eyes on” at all times can be a tremendous security enhancement.
Depending on the size and type of building or facility to wish to secure, these items may or may not apply precisely. That’s why having a professional conduct a personalized security audit is so important. A professional will look at all aspects relevant to you and your location, and help you implement safety and security systems and procedures to best suit your unique needs.
If this all seems a bit overwhelming, don’t fret! While it’s true that there is a lot to consider, it’s also true that that we’ve got you covered. We’ve been protecting and serving New Jersey’s businesses since 1969.
If you think it’s time to review your security systems and procedures, contact us for a security audit today.