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. 

How to choose the best security gates for your business

05Most businesses need to consider having a security gate installed. Not only does it act as the first line of defence and helps to keep intruders out, it gives staff and business owners peace of mind whilst also creating a great, secure first impression to others whilst also adding value to the business. Before choosing a gate, business owners need to ensure it is the best choice for their business. Here is how to choose the best security gates for your business. 

Decide what the goal of the gate is 

Although all the gates will provide a level of security, this may not be the primary goal for your business’ gates. Whilst some may have aesthetics as their main goal which will therefore need more research into whilst materials and colours they want to go for, others may have robust security as their primary goal. If this is the case, they may need to choose a gate that can have additional access control measures alongside it to beef up the security as much as possible. Once the primary goal has been discovered, it will help narrow down which options are best suited to your business’ needs.

Choose which type 

There are several types of gate to choose from and one size does not fit all so you must do your research before choosing a gate. Here are a few of the main types you can choose from.

Sliding gates- made for areas that have limited surrounding space, these gates slide across to allow vehicle entry. Cantilever sliding gates are suspended across the gate opening with no rollers running on the ground. These are a popular option as they are considered more reliable than tracked gates. Because of this, they are often used for heavy-duty needs such as industrial gate applications. They work well in all weather conditions and are suited to those sites that need high-level security.

Bi-Folding Gates- Bi-folding gates are the ideal solution where the speed of opening and closing is essential but also where space is at a premium. Made from two panels that are hinged together, the panels fold back on themselves to allow access rather than sliding fully across. Usually installed in pairs, one on either side of the gate, these are a great option for many businesses that require the gates to open quickly. 

Swing Gates- With one side hinged, these gates swing open like a door would. They can open either in or out depending on where you have the most space to use. As they need space to travel, these are great for businesses that boast a lot of land. Before these gates are installed, you need to ensure you have sufficient space. Oncoming vehicles need space to wait until the gates are fully open and you need to ensure no collisions or damages will occur. Swing gates are great for installing alongside access control equipment and other safety messages and can be a cost-effective option. 

Automatic or Manual 

The next decision that needs to be made is whether you go for gates that are automatic or manual. Whilst manual gates are a great low-cost option, it is important businesses weigh up the pros and cons. Although manual gates are more budget-friendly, you will need to take into account the time and effort it will take for someone to open the gates manual each time a vehicle needs access. If you have a regular steady flow of vehicles, this may not be feasible. With automatic gates, it withdraws the need to have a security guard

Access Control 

There are no many sophisticated options to choose from when it comes to access control. From using electronic keys, or key cards to phone entry or fingerprint biometric readers, the options are vast. The business needs to decide how much budget they have and what level of security is required. Although they are all great options and easy to use, for those sites that need additional security, biometric options will always be the most secure.

Style 

Once the practicalities of access control and the type of gate are sorted, it is important to take into account the aesthetic of the gate as well. This is the first thing many people see when they look at your premises and you, therefore, want it to send the correct message. Sometimes businesses want a solid gate with no gaps whilst others opt for a barred / slat design instead. By talking to your provider in advance you should be able to work with them to create a security solution that matches all your needs. 

Deciding which type of security gate your business should go for is a big decision. It is the first form of business security that is there to protect your company and you, therefore, need to ensure you are choosing the best fit for your business’ needs. By following the steps stated in this blog, you should be able to narrow down your options and come to the best choice that will do the best job.

A Guide to Security Bollards

BollardsBollards can be an extremely effective form of physical security for a business. In order to make them as robust and efficient as possible, they need to be fit for purpose and placed correctly around the site.

When conducting a site survey, it is imperative that the entire surroundings are taken into account, especially if the site has vehicle access, as you need a thorough understanding of what the security risks are and how bollards can help potentially reduce this threat. Security bollards can be an effective solution to some security risks including speeding drivers and vehicle attacks. Here is our guide to security bollards.

Why should bollards be used? 

There are many reasons why bollards should be used on some sites to boost their overall physical security. Here are just a few of the reasons why businesses can benefit from installing bollards:

•    They deny entry to vehicles into certain areas without the need to restrict pedestrian entry or install a barrier or gate
•    They are a great safety measure to protect pedestrians from vehicles
•    Rising bollards help restrict vehicular entry to areas during certain hours rather than it being a permanent fixture. This provides businesses with a lot of flexibility over their security measures
•    They prevent vehicles from getting too close to or damaging property or buildings
•    The more robust Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) bollards are specifically designed to protect sites from terrorist vehicle attacks 
•    They can blend in well with their surroundings when designed and implemented correctly and feel less intrusive than some other forms of physical security

Crash rated and non-crash rated bollards 

Security bollards tend to be split into two broad categories: crash rated and non-crash rated. Crash rated bollards have been put through rigorous testing by government-approved bodies and determine the level of resistance. 

Non-crash rated bollards are still robust and a great form of protection, however they are not designed to be completely resistant to vehicle crashes. As their resistance power is not as robustly tested as crash rated bollards, they are best suited for lower-risk sites. 

Anti Terrorist Bollards

Our X Pass and Ranch range are all crash tested and certified by an accredited laboratory according to the latest international standards. Their hydraulic power packs are independent to each other, meaning that if one fails, the other bollards will remain unaffected. They are fitted with anti-tampering kits as standard and are the perfect choice for protecting more sensitive sites.

Automatic Bollards

Automatic bollards use a simple yet effective electrohydraulic mechanism that ensures a smooth and efficient movement of the bollard.  They are great for areas where you will sometimes need to allow access for vehicles but not all the time. The automatic bollards give a business complete flexibility over the timings. 

The GA7276H Automation Bollard from Gateway Automation is controlled by a CDS dedicated control unit, which is capable of controlling up to four bollards simultaneously. For added safety, they are fitted with obstacle detection and a crown of LED lights is mounted on top of the cylinder along with a built-in acoustic warning signal. 

Pedestrian Flow 

A thorough understanding of pedestrian movement through the site is vital for arranging bollards. Sites must ensure that pedestrian movement is still comfortable and convenient. They should not be placed where pedestrian conflicts occur, such as areas of limited visibility, and the height of bollards need to be considered. This is especially important during winter months when lighting is not as great.

Bollard Spacing

Spacing between bollards is also an important consideration that businesses need to look at. It is essential that the gaps are not big enough to allow vehicle access but are large enough for disabled people to access. There must always be enough space for easy wheelchair action. An absolute minimum is 1000mm. 

When planning the bollards, the spacing between each one should be equal wherever possible. They should also be at least 500mm away from the edge of roads. 

It is also important that no chains or rope are used between barriers. Doing so can cause hazards for blind or partially sighted people and can put them at risk.

Which bollard is best?

When choosing which bollards are best, there are no strict guidelines. Choosing the best bollard is completely dependent on the site in question and what their requirements are. From knowing their needs and their vulnerabilities,  an appropriate bollard can be chosen and installed. It is important you determine where you are planning on placing the bollards and then decide which type you go for.

How to protect small businesses from theft with physical security

Although cyber-crime is regularly in the news, theft is Gateway Theftstill, unfortunately, a common occurrence, especially for small businesses. Whilst some businesses are closed their premises become prime targets for criminals. This highlights the vital need for robust security systems 24 hours a day. Here we discuss how to protect small businesses from theft with physical security. 

Get secure locks 

Firstly, companies focus should be on their locks. Many businesses do not have locks that are robust enough and this can immediately create a weak spot in their security and make it easier for intruders to enter. Deadbolts are great for exterior doors, however they should also be considered for internal doors as well. Do not forget the security on your windows as well. It’s not only doors that need sufficient locks on them.
 
Use access control
 

It is commonly thought by businesses that they do not have the budget to have sophisticated security such as access control. However, this may not be the case. There are options available for a variety of budgets and definitely should be something businesses consider. From intercoms to keycards or even biometrics, there is a myriad of options available to choose from. All of the options not only make it difficult for thieves to enter the premises, but the company also has full awareness of who is on-site at any one time, which is invaluable. 

Invest in perimeter security 

Although perimeter security can be a huge investment, it gives you the peace of mind that your business is secure, especially when the site is empty. Even if you already have fencing, ensure you monitor the condition of it on a regular basis. There is no use having fencing around your business if they are holes in it or areas of weakness that could be easy for intruders to overcome.

Work with a security firm 

Teaming up with a security firm is something small businesses should do if they can afford to.  They can install a security alarm system with sensors which is a one-off investment that has been proven to be effective as law enforcement will arrive at your business shortly after an alarm goes off.

Encourage staff to be wary 

It is important that all members of staff are aware of the threat of intruders. No matter what your business is, it can still be a target and all members of staff need to be on the lookout for any strange behaviour and understand how they should report anything they see that they believe is suspicious.

Light up the area

An extremely effective method of security can be something as simple as security lighting. Although the lighting doesn’t stop burglars entering the property, it has been proven to be a deterrent and help scare away intruders as they are more likely to be caught and identified when they are under bright lights. When considering this option, plan the location of your lights strategically. You need to get into the mindset of the burglars and think about where the weak points of your building are. These should be the first you focus on. 

Install barriers

If your business has a large front window, it can easily become targets for ram raids and vehicle attacks. These threats can often be subdued and reduced significantly by installing bollards outside.

Protect your stock 

It is often not feasible to hide all of your stock, but if you have specific items that are of high value, you should ensure that these are locked away and will be difficult for intruders to come across. Using safes etc. can help with this. 

Collaborate with other businesses

You are not on your own and should try and collaborate with local businesses to help keep your premises as secure as possible. You could start or become a member of a business watch scheme. This allows companies of a similar size to yours to come together and keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour. You could also potentially pool together to work with the same security firm.

The possibility of theft occurring at your business can be a terrifying concept. However, implementing some of the ideas we have discussed can help protect your business, your staff and your valuables. Some of these actions are more investment than others, however, they are all worth it if it means you can keep your business as secure as possible from the threat of theft.

7 Security Measures for Schools

School Slow Traffic Warning SignWhilst schools are a place of learning, they are also at risk of potential crimes and therefore robust security measures need to be put in place. Here, we discuss 7 security measures for schools. 

Have access control 

Access control measures are a great way to ensure the flow of people into the school is limited. Having keypads at entrances to buildings that require a pin code or an ID badge can help keep track of who is in a building at any one time. Access control cards can also be assigned to students as well as staff. This will create even greater control of who is on-site at any given moment.

Use signs effectively 

It has been proven that barriers, gates, and other perimeter security measures can be complemented with the effective use of signs. These signs can be used to not only deter criminals (For example, by installing signs that state CCTV cameras are in action on-site) but, can also highlight exits in cases of emergency, keeping everyone safe and aware of what to do in an emergency.

Ensure the perimeter is secure 

It is vital that the entire perimeter of a school is protected. Perimeter security measures such as barriers, gates, and turnstiles can all be used effectively to ensure there are no easy access points. Assess the perimeter on a regular basis to check there are do damaged areas to the perimeter. For example, check for any holes in fences or any weak points that need to be repaired. 

Try and install metal gates and fences where possible as although they are more costly, they will last longer when properly maintained.

Consider having a gated entrance, ideally one that requires keypad or swipe card entry. Although during peak times such as the start or end of the day, the gate may have to be left open, having the added gate protection can help staff feel safe when they are leaving work after the children have gone home.

Although securing the perimeter is vital, whatever is installed needs to be able to unlock in case of emergencies when an alarm is triggered, so bear this in mind.

CCTV

Install CCTV in key areas, for example where high-value items such as computers and money are kept. Having this extra layer of security helps protect the higher risk areas. Although the CCTV footage may not be reviewed regularly, it is invaluable to consult after an incident such as theft, fires or vandalism. 

Keep track of visitors 

Ensure all visitors naturally have to walk past the reception of the school. Try and limit the places on the school grounds that a visitor can access without temporary access cards. Keeping access limited will help stop unauthorised personnel from being able to wander around the school site.

Install security lighting 

During the colder, darker months, it is always a good idea to install security lighting through the site. Especially near playgrounds and footpaths to ensure accidents and trips are avoided and the staff and students feel safe walking around outside.

Carry out regular risk assessments

Security requirements will inevitably change over time. More security solutions will be available and the needs of the school may alter. Therefore, you should assign someone to be in charge of assessing the site. Alternatively, you can hire a security company to come in to carry out the risk assessment. The benefit of using someone external is the fresh eyes and new perspective they can provide.

Enforcing these measures will help create a safe environment that will benefit the staff and students alike. By have strictly enforced security measures like the ones discussed above ensures that learning can take place without being disruptive, there is higher morale, less cost in the long run as theft and other criminal damage will be reduced. In addition to this, schools that can be clearly seen putting safety as a key priority will gain a great reputation which will benefit the school for years to come.

What's Next? 

For more information on how Gateway Automation can help keep your premises secure, please contact us on 01522 682255 for a free, no-obligation quotation and feasibility survey to assess your perimeter security equipment.