8 tips to keep your office secure
Business premises of all kinds, from single floors to whole properties, need to be made as secure as possible to ensure protection of your assets.
Offices can contain a wide range of valuable items - from computers, to legal documents, to cash. Having an effective security policy not only protects the contents of your building from theft, it can also reduce the cost of your insurance premium. Whilst every organisation is different, below are some general guidelines to follow to help make sure your building is secure.
Use a monitored alarm system
An alarm should be among the first things to think about installing to enhance security; it is a significant deterrent to thieves. They can they transmit emergency signals via a mobile phone connection, landline or internet connection to a monitoring station, which dispatches police to the scene when needed. Some systems also have a two-way voice intercom; if the alarm is set off, the intercom connects the chosen employee/business owner directly to the monitoring station. This ensures that even if an intruder gets into your premises, police will be alerted in the shortest possible time.
Ensure locks are to British Standard
Although locks are the most obvious way of preventing people entering your property, it's vital that you have locks that conform with British Standards. These locks are rigorously tested to ensure they offer adequate protection; you are likely to find it is a requirement of your office insurance policy that your lock is to BS 3621, and without it, you may be putting your office at risk.
Use effective lighting
With sixty percent of burglaries taking place at evening or night, security lighting installed on the outside of your premises can be an effective deterrent. It is likely to make burglars feel observed, and therefore vulnerable, as well as allowing occupiers to see anyone who is approaching the building and highlighting high-risk areas. The type of lighting you choose depends on how high the risks are, the type of surveillance already in place, and the location of the premises. The most popular form of security lighting is passive infrared: it is activated when someone comes into its field of vision and is cost effective to install.
Although CCTV images are often associated with solving crimes rather than preventing them, they are a significant deterrent factor. CCTV, however, should be seen as only one aspect of the overall security system for your premises; thieves can always cover their faces or keep out of camera shot. It is important to know exactly where to place the cameras and check that lighting is sufficient. It may be worth investing in the services of a security company or consultant to help.
Use a laptop lock
Laptops are regularly targeted during burglaries, particularly by opportunists who may be passing by, but by using a laptop lock you can make it very difficult for would-be thieves to steal your computer. A laptop lock acts like a bike lock – it is a metal cable with one end that attaches to a hole in the side of your laptop, and the other that is looped around or connected to a non-moveable object, such as a table bolted to the floor. They are relatively low cost, easy to fit and should be considered by any firm that has high value portable equipment.
Keep important documents in locked cabinets
Losing confidential documents can be disastrous for your business. It's important to keep any sensitive information locked in drawers or cabinets, and back up virtual copies to an off-site hard drive (read our article about data backup options for professionals for more information)
Put cash in a safe
Always keep cash in a Eurograde safe that is approved by the Association of Insurance Surveyors (AiS). Eurograde is a Europe-wide security standard that denotes how burglar proof a safe is and using an AiS approved safe will give the best chance of your money staying safe.
Join a 'business watch'
Many police forces have formed 'business watch' schemes, where property owners can alert police and other organisations about break ins and other crime. This can help you to be extra aware and give you an opportunity to put right any security weaknesses at your offices before they are exploited.