Essential Elements of Physical Security

Security essentiaCrime is on the rise, and with a gloomy economic outlook forecast by most, it is widely expected that things will get worse before they get better. Not only do businesses need to be prepared for how their businesses can thrive through difficult market conditions, they also need to consider how they might best protect themselves from an inevitable onset of commercial crime.

Whether your business has fallen victim to crime recently, or you are simply looking to prepare for the future, perimeter security is a term that you should aim to familiarise yourself with, as soon as possible. Here we discuss the essential elements of physical security.

Perimeter security explained

The simplest explanation of perimeter security is defined as systems and tools that protect an area. Perimeter security can encompass mechanical or electronic tools, systems, and structures that share a unified goal of shielding physical premises from crime.

Assessing the risks

One of the most common failings in perimeter security that we see is when businesses rely too heavily on particular forms of security. For instance, CCTV cameras, which are often easy to disable or easy to avoid. They may well be useful in identifying a vehicle, or a trespasser, but they do not prevent the crime from happening in the first place in the same way that a more robust form of perimeter security may provide.

To avoid these types of mistakes, it is important to seek out advice from experts with experience in this field. A comprehensive risk assessment will help to identify where your premises may have weaknesses that criminals could exploit. It will also ensure that you are only spending money on tools and systems that you require.

A 360-degree assessment should take into account the nature of your business, your operational needs, and any other constraints or considerations that might affect the level of security required. The end result should be a bespoke set of suggestions that will protect you from criminal activity, and provide peace of mind to both you, your suppliers, and any employees that may work at your site.

Key options for perimeter security

After a risk assessment and feasibility survey has been completed, what type of security solutions might be available to you? Advances in technology mean that there are many new and effective tools available to the modern business owner, however, many older and more established forms of perimeter security remain just as effective. Let’s take a look at some of the options available.

Heavy-duty gates

Often the first object that springs to mind when we think of perimeter security is a gate. Security gates are effective for many reasons. They are useful in controlling pedestrian and vehicular access, but they also send a visual message to opportunistic criminals that a site takes their security needs seriously. A great many types of crime are committed in an opportunistic fashion, and a heavy-duty security gate such as an automatic, bi-folding, cantilever, or manual swing variant can signal that their criminal efforts may be wasted.

Access control equipment

Modern tech has enabled many advancements in the realm of perimeter security, and access control equipment is just one of them. Access control equipment can be utilised both indoors and out and can help you to limit access to specific areas. Tools such as intercoms, keypads, and fingerprint scanners can all help to create a sophisticated protocol plan that matches personnel and visitors with their applicable levels of clearance.

Turnstile security

Another essential tool in the arsenal of perimeter security is the turnstile. Turnstiles are installed in a variety of different situations from corporate buildings, to sports arenas, and can help to control access to only authorised visitors. They also present a significant cost saving as they can reduce the need for security or reception personnel who would otherwise have to manually approve access.

Vehicular management

An important consideration for many businesses is how to restrict vehicular access to their sites. Vehicles typically offer a quick and easy way for criminals to escape after a crime has taken place, and they can also be used as ramming mechanisms to force entry. So businesses must consider how they can prevent this from happening.

Solutions here include speed ramps to restrict speed from oncoming traffic, flow control plates to guide vehicles in specific directions, rising kerbs to shut off entry points, and security posts that can be raised or lowered during different periods of the day. Equally important are barriers which can be both automatic and manual, and can be controlled by security guards, proximity cards, tokens, push buttons, key entry pads, or CCTV systems. An excellent tool in premises where manpower is limited, or the deployment of a manned security guard may not be possible.

Get in touch

Perimeter security is a growing concern for businesses in the current climate, and it can often be hard to know who to turn to. Here at Gateway Automation, we provide you with a free, no-obligation risk assessment, feasibility survey and quotation process free of charge. This means you can be sure that you are spending your money only on areas where it can make the biggest impact.

For more information on any of the security options above, or for further advice on how to protect your business premises from criminals, please contact us here or call us on 01522 682 255.

Questions to ask when choosing physical security

SecurityIf you’re reading this blog; then the chances are that you have identified perimeter security as an area of your business that needs to be addressed. Like many businesses, you may be concerned about the massive derailment of operations that can result from a serious security breach. If this is the case then read on to discover how perimeter security is fundamental to safeguarding your income, reputation, and peace of mind. And importantly, what questions you should ask when discussing your needs with a provider.

Whether in the middle of a recession, or in times of prosperity, crime remains a constant source of worry for many businesses up and down the UK. Even the most minor security breaches can result in repairs, losses of income, delays to operations, and can be a detriment to the confidence of customers and shareholders.

What is perimeter security?

Perimeter security entails the protection of your buildings and assets through the deployment of tools and equipment designed to limit access, deter criminals, and ultimately safeguard your property. However, before you begin planning, or reviewing your current measures, you should ensure that you have a good understanding of which measures will be right for your business.

How is my business different?

One size doesn’t always fit all. One of the most common sources of headaches for businesses that we discover in conversation comes from a lack of personalisation. Without a proper understanding of their operations, owners may be “upsold” to products that are either not suited to their particular type of business, or that they don’t need at all. This is why you should always seek out an experienced supplier and discuss with them how your business works and what needs you have. Afterall, no one knows your business as well as you.

What are my current security protocols?

It is rare to find a business that hasn’t at least invested in some rudimentary forms of physical security. However, there may be blind spots in your current blueprints that need to be addressed. It is important to identify weaknesses in your current strategy, as this is exactly what criminals will aim to do. If you can beat them to the mark, then you stand a good chance of deterring them from ever trying to take advantage.

How up to date are my current measures?

Like owning a car or a computer, security measures sometimes need to be reviewed and replaced. While products may be well built, time can wear on some, and repairs might be required to maintain their effectiveness. Equally, advances in technology may mean that your current measures are now outdated and need to be upgraded with advancements such as biometrics.

How do I build a strong perimeter?

To adequately protect your business, you need to start from the outside in. In the same way that castles would rely on drawbridges to keep safe, you too need to consider your entry and exit points.

Gates are one of the strongest forms of physical security out there and offer up both a physical and mental barrier that can upset criminal plans. Installed with thought and care, and given proper levels of maintenance - swing gates, sliding gates, and bi-folding gates should be a cornerstone of any physical security approach. Other fundamentals of external security include security posts, bollards, and outdoor turnstiles which provide effective solutions in specific environments.

How do I manage vehicular access?

Unwanted vehicles can be another sore point for some businesses. This may come in the form of unwanted heavy goods vehicles, caravans, or other unauthorised visitors. At the same time, vehicles can be a powerful tool for criminals, allowing them to use brute force to enter sites, or providing them with means of escape.

To combat this, businesses can employ a range of measures. Height restrictor barriers are often seen in car parks to block access to specific types of vehicles, while allowing permitted ones to enter. Security posts offer versatility in blocking access at specific times of the day, such as when your business is closed. Elsewhere, speed ramps can be used to reduce traffic speed, and automatic rising kerbs can be used to inhibit access in a formidable way.

What about internal security?

While a great amount of thought is often put into external security, there is an ever-growing need to address internal measures. In specific sites, entry may be granted freely, which means that there is a risk of visitors obtaining access to areas that need to be restricted. Equally, you may have high-value assets that need to be accessible by specific staff members only. Adopting tools like turnstiles and access control equipment can be a good place to start.

How do I know I’m making the right choice?

A quality supplier should leave you with no doubts about the options available to your business, and which tools should be used in cracking down on crime. A comprehensive risk assessment can be undertaken to address weaknesses and advise on the best course of action.

Here at Gateway Automation we provide you with a free, no-obligation risk assessment, feasibility survey, and quotation process free of charge. We also provide a nationwide reactive callout service with engineer response times of 8 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours, and 7 days. This means any problems can be addressed in a timely fashion, and disruption can be kept to a minimum.

For more information on any of the security options above, or for further advice on how to protect your business premises from criminals, please contact us here or call us on 01522 682 255.

Physical Security for Banks to Consider

Banks 2While all types of business premises can benefit from a security review, some sectors particularly need to keep their finger on the pulse. One of those is banking as banks are traditionally a top target for criminals. Here we discuss the physical security for banks to consider.

The Importance of Security for Banks

While banks are typically highly secure, the potential high reward for criminals means that they remain a top target for organised gangs and individual criminals. The result of a successful crime can go on to have long-lasting implications on their business. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that banks can benefit from bolstering their physical security tools and take advantage of emerging technologies.

Alarm Systems

From traditional intruder alarms, manned security, and CCTV, there are several security options that businesses in the financial sector can take advantage of. Having these systems installed helps provide peace of mind to employees and customers alike. They also help provide a level of control to the business.

Access Control

Access control equipment such as intercoms, keypads, cards, fobs, or even turnstiles can all improve safety levels on-site. From protecting staff, customer files to other critical assets. This is particularly useful in banks, where the safety of employees working in restricted areas needs to be secure.

Turnstiles

Banks are busy environments and they receive heavy footfall from customers, staff, contractors, and suppliers alike. With all this coming and going, systems must be in place to restrict access to specific areas to only those who need it and are authorised to be there. Access control equipment and turnstiles can effectively cordon off areas for these purposes. For instance, for cash-in-transit firms and technicians who must be able to access secure enclosures regularly throughout the week.

Biometrics

Biometrics is another exciting development that can give the financial sector the security levels that are so essential to their businesses. Biometric technology utilises forms of identification that are more difficult to crack or clone, such as fingerprints, iris scanners, and voice recognition. Rather than relying on keys, fobs, or passwords, which can be copied or shared, biometrics offer a reliable and personalised means of restricting access robustly.

Gates and Barriers

Another consideration for banks to review is perimeter security. It is vital to be able to control access to external areas that are reserved for contractors and visitors. Barriers for instance can be used to restrict vehicular access to authorised personnel. Swing gates, sliding gates, and bi-folding gates can secure your premises between visits, and bollards, or road blockers can be used to reduce the threat of ramming.

Provide a balance

With all these considerations in mind, it is important to not overlook the fact that banks are customer orientated environments. Banks need to balance ease of access to the public with a strong and robust approach to physical security. Compromise can be found with knowledge and expertise in this area. Security enhancements can be achieved in a way that is tasteful but still achieves its target of securing assets. Providing peace of mind to both customers and employees of an institution.

Gateway Automation provides a range of perimeter security systems to help businesses and individuals to secure their sites and also provides nationwide servicing and repairs to gates, barriers, and other perimeter security equipment. To find out more, please contact us on 01522 68255 or take a look at our brochure which can be viewed here: http://www.gatewayautomation.co.uk/brochure/.

What to Consider when Buying Barriers

Gateway BarriersIf you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade your security systems at your site, then one of your first ports of call should be perimeter security. One essential component of site security that should always be considered when enquiring about upgrades is a barrier. Here is what to consider when buying barriers.

Why invest in barriers?

A simple but effective solution, barriers are, when used the right way, are a highly effective tool in preventing crime. They deter opportunists and leave them with no doubts that your business takes things seriously. Barriers ensure that you have control over who can access your site, and when they can do so. Allowing you either to automatically, or with the help of manned personnel, control entry to your premises. However, while you may have already heard enough to interest you in a barrier, there are some important factors to consider before making a purchase.

Level of Security needed

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is with regards to the level and robustness of security that is needed at your site. While for some businesses security needs are understandably at the very top of their agenda, some businesses have other agendas to balance. For instance, a site that receives heavy traffic might require a different type of barrier to one which is only occasionally accessed. Equally, you may be a business that wants to balance its security needs with a friendly and welcoming environment.

Automatic or Manual?

A second consideration is whether you require automatic barriers or manual. They each are suitable in different situations. Automatic barriers require electricity in order to operate, so somewhere isolated may prefer to install manual barriers, particularly if electricity access is restricted. Additionally, your business may prefer, for security or logistical reasons, to have a manned manual barrier in place over an automatic barrier.

While manual barriers are often preferred in more rural settings, automatic barriers do offer many specialised benefits. Automatic barriers are more difficult for criminals to bypass and overhaul which makes them a particularly reliable choice.  They can be enhanced with access control equipment and also provide support to businesses who do not have the budget or manpower to physically attend a manual barrier and provide access to visitors. Automatic barriers are often found at parking facilities, checkpoints, and for other types of restricted areas.

Height Restriction

Height restrictor barriers are another popular choice. Especially for car parks and service stations where the risk of overstays and unauthorised long-term parking issues. They are also great for where you need to prevent access to high vehicles. They are also a welcome addition to areas where automatic barriers are either not cost-effective, or not required.

Cost

Cost is always a key consideration for businesses and understandably it is important to make sensible decisions to match your budgets. Businesses should take part in a feasibility study before making a decision on which products to choose. This will help ensure you are recommended the best solutions to match your needs. Not only can you be confident that you’ve picked the right product, but you are also protected against criminal activity.
Gateway Automation provides a range of perimeter security systems to help businesses and individuals to secure their sites. We also provide nationwide servicing and repairs to gates, access control equipment, barriers, and other perimeter security equipment too. To find out more, contact us on 01522 68255 or take a look at our brochure here: http://www.gatewayautomation.co.uk/brochure/.

7 Physical Security Measures Every Organisation Should Implement

SONY DSCNo matter whether you are a small, medium, or large organisation, there is always a place for physical security. Your business is home to your data, your employees and more so you must ensure they are protected as much as possible. Not only does physical security help protect your premises from an in-person attack but it also helps boost the strength of a company's cybersecurity as well. Here are seven physical security measures every organisation should implement.  

Set up surveillance  

Although a business should have other security measures to stop people from breaking into the premises, it is important to know that if the worst-case scenario were to happen, you can have video evidence of who the intruder is. When installing a surveillance camera, ensure you place it in the optimum position to get a good, clear view of the entrance and exit points. Not only can surveillance cameras monitor the site continuously, but they can also use motion detectors and only record when there is movement. Most surveillance cameras now come with a notification process where it sends a warning to a mobile to say there is suspicious activity.  

Ensure you have supporting signage near the surveillance cameras that state they are in use. People need to be warned there are cameras in operation, but they also have the added effect of being a physical deterrent for potential criminals. 

Lock the server room  

The server room is a vital location on any business premises as it contains sensitive data which would be detrimental if it fell into the wrong hands. If criminals attack your server room it can lead to significant downtime and cost to a company. Have sturdy locks on the door and have access control where possible, to ensure that only authorised personnel has access. 

Have access controls  

A business should have a method of access control in place. Access control equipment can vary in sophistication and range from a keypad that requires a keycode to be entered, to using a keycard or even fingerprint recognition. So, depending on your budget, there is still a way for you to use this technology to create a more secure environment.  

Use ID cards for staff 

Using ID cards has been proven to be an effective security measure that all companies can adopt. If you have a security guard, it should be a protocol that all ID cards are checked before they are allowed onto the premises. The ID cards can also be used in conjunction with access controls for even tighter security. For example, if a business has an entrance foyer, turnstiles can be installed that only allow access to those who have their ID card. 

Have car park security  

It is not just the building itself that should be secured. If there is a staff car park, security measures should be in place here as well. For example, gates, barriers, fences, bollards, and surveillance cameras. If there is no physical security around your car park it can lead to criminals gaining close access to your building, especially if they can park right next to the building. Having these measures also help make the staff feel safer whilst they are at work. 

Install Exterior Lighting  

Whilst it can easily be overlooked, a great form of physical security can be the lighting. This low-cost option can have a major impact. Having exterior lights around the proximity of the property can help deter any criminals as they cannot hide in the dark. Staff will also feel safe entering or exiting the premises if they know there is sufficient lighting. 

Provide regularly security training  

All members of staff should be trained to understand the importance of physical security and know what measures are in place. To remain as secure as possible, a company needs to adopt a security culture in the workplace. Everyone should understand what the risks are and what measures they need to follow. Even one staff member who does not follow the correct procedures can end up putting the whole company’s data and assets at risk. 

This list is just the start of things organisations should consider implementing to protect their business. They are the most essential security measures that businesses should implement now if they haven't already done so. Although there is an investment, the benefits they provide outweigh the cost as they provide peace of mind that you have done everything you can to keep your business safe and secure. 

Business Security Considerations for Winter

Gateway Winter SecurityAlthough security is important all year round, businesses should focus on ensuring they have a specific security plan for the Winter months. Winter months bring unique security concerns that will need to be addressed. Here are eight business securing considerations for Winter.

Install Good Lighting  

This may seem obvious but it is a potential downfall for many companies who simply forget about it. As the nights draw short during the late Autumn months, the sun often starts to set before 5 pm and during many people’s working hours. This makes it more important than ever for a business to have sufficient lighting around its premises. Not only does it help visibility for staff members to get to their cars, but it can also help deter criminals from your site if you have strong security lights. Sufficient lighting is also needed where there are surveillance cameras installed for maximum effect. 

Carry out a risk assessment  

Although risk assessments should be carried out regularly, ensure you have a specific security risk assessment during the Winter. This can help highlight specific seasonal issues that you otherwise may not have considered. The assessment should ideally be carried out by a professional security company. They have the benefit of years of expertise and they will be able to identify issues that you could potentially overlook. Not only will they identify weaknesses and vulnerable points in your current security, they will be able to suggest the best options for your business and also help identify the best places for access control and security cameras for the maximum impact. 

Consider the clock changes 

When the clocks change in Autumn, ensure your security alarms and security lights are timed correctly and the time change is taken into account. 

Christmas holiday considerations  

A major part of Winter is Christmas and many businesses either have reduced hours, reduced staff, or the entire Christmas period off. Although Christmas is a joyful time, it is also a key time for criminals to target these empty premises. Therefore business security should be at its tightest. During times where the premises are closed to employees, should the company consider hiring a security guard to man the gates or have surveillance cameras installed? 

In addition to this, some businesses have office parties and this includes strangers coming into the building. If this is the case, you should review the access control permissions to ensure that any non-employee cannot enter any restricted areas to keep the premises and company data safe. Also, have a specific social media policy in place to stop any sensitive information from being shared. 

Hire Security Guards 

Although you may not need a security guard all year round, they provide a great additional layer of security to a business. They can patrol the property both during and outside official business hours. They can also deter criminals from committing crimes on the property in the first place. Security guards are constantly on the lookout for suspicious behaviour and are great for emergencies. 

Check Perimeter Security  

The adverse winter weather can potentially cause damage to your property. Despite having security fences or gates protecting the premises, high winds can be destructive and may cause a vulnerable point in your security which will need to be dealt with urgently. Having regular perimeter security checks to ensure the perimeter security remains intact. Also, ensure you have your perimeter security maintained regularly by a professional company. This will ensure it remains in the best possible condition for longer and reduces the risk of future damage. 

Be prepared for power issues  

Heavy snow and high winds can potentially cause havoc and can even lead to power outages. During the winter months, this is not ideal as not only will data potentially be lost, employees will be in darkness and access control may stop working which is dangerous. Ensure there is an emergency backup generator to cover the security systems, lights, computers, and more.  

Be wary of slippery surfaces 

All exterior walkways and paths should be cleared and prepared to avoid ice during the winter months. Ensure there is a designated walkway for members of staff that are away from moving vehicles. If there is a carpark alongside walkways, consider installing bollards along paths. Not only does this protect pedestrians, but it can also help avoid vehicles hitting the building due to slipping on ice. 

Although business security is an all-round concern, companies should ensure they take additional precautions for the cold winter months as their business may become more vulnerable during these times. We have discussed eight ways to keep your business secure this Winter. By incorporating these additional measures into your overall business security strategy and pre-planning,  you can have peace of mind that you have ensured your business’ premises and employees remain as physically secure and safe as possible.  

How Cybersecurity can impact physical security

Gateway- Cyber SecurityThe majority of businesses are now more aware than ever that cybersecurity is vital. Cyber attacks are now, unfortunately, more common than ever and companies need to be prepared. However, what some businesses do not know is how detrimental cybersecurity is when it comes to the perimeter and physical security. Businesses need to make sure that their security has a full package, taking both of these things into account. Here, we discuss how cybersecurity can impact physical security. 

Because most physical security now includes an element of computer technology, it becomes clear that cybersecurity is automatically linked, despite it not being always obvious at first sight. For example, many businesses opt for gates which include a form of access control. Although access control through access cards, key codes, or even biometrics all provide an additional layer of security, businesses need to understand that it can also be a cybersecurity risk that needs to be included in all security plans.

If an attacker gained access to your security cameras or door controllers, your site would be at risk physically as well as remotely. This worst-case scenario is something that business owners need to consider and think of ways to keep their business’ sites as well as their online data safe. 

What should businesses do? 

When planning physical security, businesses should consider making the same level of planning as they would for their cybersecurity. Now that the majority of people use computers as part of their daily jobs and the increased complexity of more people working from home, each business should have a comprehensive cybersecurity plan that involves best practices. 

This plan should also be used for their physical security. For example, all physical security that involves computer technology should be managed using complex device passwords that are changed regularly as well as firewalls where possible. 

Whenever a business has any physical or computer equipment installed, ensure that any default codes or passwords are changed immediately. For example, access control keypads using a code should always be changed as soon as they are installed and never left at the default or a code that the installer is aware of.

Unfortunately, one of the most common forms of a data breach can be due to an insider attack. All sensitive documents should only be accessed by those who need to read them to carry out their day to day role. This is also the case for physical security. Only allow employees into the designated areas of the site that they required to visit. As soon as an employee leaves the company, access control and passwords that the employee knew should be altered.

Which is more important - cybersecurity or physical security?

Although cybersecurity is what usually hits the news and is a key focus for companies, businesses must ensure they incorporate physical security and not solely concentrate on cybersecurity. Confidential physical documents can lead to equally damaging results than if it was a digital breach. 

Although it is a terrifying thought of hackers being able to not only access your data but also overcome your physical security, it is still a great idea for a business to layer physical security with cybersecurity. The two are going to inevitably continue to be more reliant on each other than ever before and as long as preparations are in place to avoid attacks, this combination of physical and cybersecurity is one that is robust and effective.

In our world today, there is hardly any security that doesn’t contain a digital element and therefore could be a target for a cyber attack. As you can see, cybersecurity has a major impact on the physical security measures and although they used to be completely separate entities, they are now irrevocably intertwined and therefore businesses need to plan with this in mind. If companies do not see them as part of the same overall holistic security package, they could end up with devastating consequences.