Office security systems present some unique challenges when installing burglar alarms, access entry systems and other watchful measures.
Offices can be prime targets for theft, illegal entry or even forced occupation. The biggest losers are those with little or no security, so it makes sense to take precautions to reduce the threat or incidence of crime.
The first step is to conduct a professional assessment of your office's safekeeping needs. That will require taking stock of your current safety measures and assessing the strong and weak points.
A professional crime prevention survey should include an analysis of the current security measures, how these measures are implemented and enforced, how often they get an overhaul, and who is responsible for the office security system.
Offices present unique problems for security alarm professionals. Many offices will have large numbers of staff, some probably working in large open-plan environments.
Some offices will have open areas that invite access to the public, while other regions can be strictly private or reserved for individual members of staff and not others.
Here are just a few of the office safeguarding measures you need to consider to help protect offices against unwanted intrusion or illegal entry.
Parking areas could have good lighting and CCTV cameras at strategic points to deter potential burglars. A barrier entry system in and out of the car park should not be ruled out, and simple car park security systems are not as expensive as you might think. Key cards or other door entry system can be installed for sensitive areas, and staff can be issued with access control badges to prevent unauthorised access.
When offices are open to the public, it is sensible to have a single public entrance for customer service, to install access control locks to doors that lead to private areas and to have CCTV monitoring of public rooms. Offices can be arranged and access points organised so that unescorted visitors cannot go unnoticed, and visitors can also be issued temporary identification badges.
Access control systems can ensure that all staff and visitors a routed through predetermined areas before admittance. And once admitted, their movements can be monitored. Control points can be as high-tech as required, from simple manual keypads to fingerprint or even retina scans.
The latest 'swipe cards' can include video imaging and collect valuable data on work hours, contact numbers, car licenses and other information.
Another good security measure for the office is to encourage staff to keep work and personal items safe at all times. It may mean having the ability to lock computers and installing lockable cabinets within easy reach. Even simple measures such as labelling or security marking office equipment can help encourage staff to be more alert to office safety procedures. An auto-lock door mechanism can help ensure that rooms are not left empty inadvertently, allowing thieves to make off with expensive equipment, confidential papers, and so on. And if office staff stay late to work, it is most advisable that they do not work alone. Place great emphasis on the importance of keeping office doors closed and locked.
Recent advances in electronics, wi-fi and wireless technology give security firms like Crown Securities a whole new set of tools to keep office premises safe from intruders. The most common are closed-circuit CCTV and door access control systems. CCTV cameras can monitor specific areas of a company's workspace and signal any unusual activity during business hours and when the office is empty. Other electronic systems increasingly used by security-conscious firms include miniature hidden cameras that are virtually undetectable.
Burglar alarm systems are an obvious office security measure. Intruder alert systems can range in complexity and price, but any alarm response system should cover all main doors and windows to be fully effective. The most common are motion sensors that detect movement and window sensors that are activated when some glass is broken or when windows are forced open.
Video monitors can be automatically activated with unusual activity, and cameras can be configured to record when a disturbance is detected. As with all intruder alert systems, a key component is monitoring. If an alarm goes off and no one is there to notice, or if it is ignored, then office security goes out of the window, along with any stolen goods.