Sensitive Areas Within Office Buildings — Part II

(Editor’s note: This is Part II and our concluding blog from H&S Protection’s Jeff Lukasavige. If you’d like to contribute a guest blog, please contact Mike Horgan at mhorgan@hsprotection.net.)

In our last blog, I addressed access control issues for office buildings. This week, I want to drill down into specific areas within an office environment and discuss those unique security needs.

Human Resource Departments often handle sensitive and personal employee information that must be protected. Documents with employees’ information may be lying on desks in view of others walking through the area, where someone could use a smart phone to snap quick photos to steal sensitive information. To prevent that, businesses should consider the need for special access to HR departments. Not all companies require this, but if the need for privacy, discretion and/or sensitive conversations is a concern, you might want to consider restricting access to the department with effective access control.

document

The executive suite is another area where you may need to pay particular attention. Disgruntled employees or even customers could find their way to this area. Work interruptions may also be a consideration. While many companies have open door policies, if you are in an industry involved in controversial issues, restricted access to the executive suite may be necessary.

Similarly, the mailroom is an area you should look at closely. Depending of the size of your company, you could be getting thousands of pieces of mail a day, including personal information, account numbers, social security numbers and birth dates or other protected information. Don’t place your company at risk for customers’ identity theft. Unauthorized individuals or employees could steal personal information and use it to hack your company’s accounts, employees’ personal information, or steal a customer’s identity. Lock it down and control access – that protects your information.

Good access control requires you to consider who should be onsite and when. You should also look at who (employees, contractors, customers) should be in specific areas inside your building, and the time of day that they should be granted access.

Think of access control for your office building as employee, customer and company protection. Taking measures to provide additional protection demonstrates your company’s genuine concern for its employees. The security/access control measures you implement could prevent a difficult situation from occurring.

With Protection, There is a Cost – Part I

 

(Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series from H&S Protection’s Jeff Lukasavige on protecting office buildings. We seek new voices from our employees and customers to publish on our blog. Please send your idea to Mike Horgan at mhorgan@hsprotection.net.)

A mentor of mine – a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Marine – often talked with me about risk analysis when it came to security issues. His point was that protection comes at a cost.  “What is it worth to protect your assets – physical and intellectual, an office building or your people?”

Businesses should perform a risk analysis which includes: the value of the assets they are protecting, the level of risk or probability of loss of those assets, and the amount of money they are willing spend to protect the assets.   An office environment presents risks, both seen and unseen. At H&S Protection, we help you identify threats, and develop plans to address them, based on your business needs.

office building

Office buildings can often benefit from properly designed access control that’s straightforward and can be addressed easily through a card-based identification system. There are other more subtle considerations that businesses should take into account in an office environment.  For example:

  • If you work in an industry with a higher risk of having an upset customer (financial institutions or insurance companies, for example, often field a large volume of complaints), you should consider the value of protecting your employees from a disgruntled or upset customer. Unfortunately, these days we frequently here about workplace violence on the news. No one wants to see a violent workplace incident. The guy coming into an office with a gun is something you might never expect, but it happens and you should be prepared by working that into your security plan. You must control access to your office building to build protection for your most valuable assets — your employees.
  • Domestic violence is a reality in the workplace. There is an increased risk of domestic violence based on sheer numbers, and the risk can be higher if your industry is predominately female. Relationship changes sometimes result in a violent incident involving the estranged husband or boyfriend, who typically knows where his spouse/partner is located in the building. Access control prevents an emotional/irate ex from getting onsite.

Those are a couple of the many reasons companies with an office building environment should consider access control, controlling entry points to ensure only those who should be onsite are allowed access to the inside. Stay tuned for our next blog, when I explain why specific areas within office buildings require a more sensitive security status.