Businesses, big and small, are all susceptible to security threats. Security threats come in various forms and situations and may not be immediately apparent. However, they can have devastating effects on a business and its employees, both physically, financially and emotionally.
Therefore, it is vital to know the common physical security threats to a business in order for adequate protection to be put in place that will not only reduce the risks but also prevent them from happening in the first place.
A security threat is a particular cause of an incident that may result in some sort of loss or harm, both financially or physically. Today, security threats can be both physically, such as an intrusion into a premise, or cyber-related, such as the hacking of a computer system.
Although cyber-attacks can equally be as destructive as physical ones and are something businesses need to protect against with appropriate cyber security measures, physical security threats are still a common risk to any business and its livelihood, impacting the site itself, its employees and visitors as well as the financial burden.
Burglary and theft are common security threats within businesses. Businesses can hold many valuable items that can make them a target, such as computers and top of the range tech items, vehicles, expensive tools and equipment, important and confidential documents, cash registers and also valuable stock and retail items.
Businesses are therefore often a target for burglary and theft, with criminals being both opportunistic and careful planners when it comes to both these types of crimes. Therefore careful security measures need to be put in place to deter them in the first place and catch them if they go on to carry out the crime.
Physical security measures that can reduce burglary and theft:
There are various physical security measures that businesses can adopt to reduce their risk of burglary and theft. A high-quality security system is the first step, with integrated CCTV and intruder alarm systems. Both of these will first act to deter criminals from targeting a business in the first place. The majority of criminals will want to carry out their crimes as quickly as possible without drawing attention to themselves or getting caught.
CCTV cameras are therefore a proven way to deter and catch criminals in the act. An intruder alarm system is also a deterrent, as well as having the ability to alert the business owner or alarm monitoring company that a break-in has occurred, in which the police can be called.
There are other systems available to deter and stop burglars in their tracks such as fogging systems. These expel non-toxic fog rapidly into an area that has been broken into with the help of motion sensors. This, therefore, confuses an intruder and adds an extra barrier to their escape.
A business’ access control system can also be used to reduce the physical security risk of burglary and theft by restricting their escape routes until the police arrive.
Workplace violence is often an overlooked physical security risk to businesses. However, violence in the workplace is more common than one might think, with over 600,000 incidents within the last year, with 38% of these leading to injury. Violence in the workplace is 60% likely to be carried out by a stranger, which includes customers, site visitors, public-facing roles and the general public. It is therefore important to protect your employees from such acts, especially those in public-facing roles, as well as make sure the perpetrators are prosecuted for their actions.
Physical security measures that can workplace violence:
The most effective physical security measure to protect your employees from workplace violence is a CCTV system. The use of surveillance cameras will not only capture the footage of the violent act, which can then be used in evidence as well as to identify the perpetrator, but will also act as a deterrent, making the criminal think twice before carrying out a violent act towards an employee. Placing clear signage around the premises that visitors are being filmed on CCTV is also a good way to make potential criminals think twice and be warier of their actions.
To add another layer of protection to your employees and business, businesses can have their CCTV system professionally monitored for potential workplace violence, as well as other physical security risks. Live CCTV footage will be monitored 24/7 and if any violence or abuse occurs, the monitoring operatives will respond in the most effective way. That could be with a police or emergency services response or by contacting the site manager.
The installation of an emergency or panic button can also be effective in reducing workplace violence, especially when employees may be working alone. Buttons can be installed surreptitiously and give employees the confidence that they can call for help in the event of an emergency or if they feel unsafe.
Unaccounted visitors can oppose a big security risk to a business. Due to not knowing the intention of their visit, they could be planning to carry out any number of violent or criminal acts. Some of these could include theft, hostage, violence, terrorism, gaining confidential information or sussing out the premises for a future burglary. It is therefore important that a business knows exactly who is in or on their premises at any given time, their purpose of being there, as well as the employee who is responsible for them.
Physical security measures that can reduce unaccounted visitors:
Firstly, having a clear visitor process or procedure in place is key. Therefore all employees will know what needs to be carried out prior to and on their arrival. This then also makes them aware of any suspicious activity if the process hasn’t been carried out.
Another way to reduce unaccounted visitors is to have a strong access control system in place. This, therefore, limits access to a site only to those that have been granted approved access by the site manager or head of the premises. Anyone without a valid keycard or fob will therefore not be able to enter.
Some CCTV systems can also be used for facial recognition and therefore will notify key personnel when it catches a non-authorised individual on-site through the camera system. The necessary procedure can then be carried out to remove them from the site.
Tailgating is whereby an individual follows someone else, in most cases an employee, into a secure building or premises, even if it has access control in place. A determined criminal will use this method, playing on the kindness and manners of others to gain access. For example, many will hold the door open to others behind them without a second thought, therefore giving a criminal the opportunity to access a secure area by boycotting the access control system.
Physical security measures that can reduce tailgating:
Although difficult to stop a determined criminal, there are some physical security measures to reduce tailgating within a business. Anti-tailgating barriers and entrances can be installed, which only allow one, authorised individual to enter at a time. Although an initial investment and often expensive, they can be an effective measure to put in place.
A monitored CCTV system or video analytics can also be used to reduce tailgating. Events can be set up within the system to identify more than one individual entering an area at once and send a notification to the site’s security or manager alerting them to the unaccounted person.
Lastly, a simple measure that can reduce tailgating is training your employees in effective building security and safety as well as its importance. Making them aware of tailgating, what to look out for and not holding doors open for those they don’t recognise are key actions that can be implemented.
Vandalism can take many forms and is not only a nuisance but is also a common physical security risk to businesses. Vandalism is defined as an activity that involved deliberate damage, defacement or destruction of public or private property.
Many don’t consider vandalism a security risk, in fact, some consider graffiti a form of art! However, allowing individuals to come close to a premises and cause deliberate damage not only destroys some of the security measures put in place but is also a costly investment of time and money to fix.
Physical security measures that can reduce vandalism:
The best physical security measure to put in place to reduce vandalism is to increase the level of security in the surrounding perimeter of the site. This makes it harder for vandals to get close to a site and cause damage.
A strong, reinforced gate and barrier system will work well to keep vandals out. Add in an access control system and only authorised individuals will be able to enter. A CCTV system is also key to catching the vandalism as it takes place, as well as acting as an effective deterrent to the criminals.
Terrorism is a security risk that is very real and if occurred, would affect more than just businesses. It becomes a global issue and affects us all either emotionally, financially or physically. It is therefore not just a risk businesses need to prepare for, but entire countries. However, businesses can be a key target for terrorist activity. There are therefore some key physical security measures that businesses can put in place to reduce their risks of terrorism.
Physical security measures that can reduce the risk of terrorism:
A high-quality security system is key in reducing the risk of terrorism within businesses. Measures that can identify potential risks and stop them in their tracks before it escalates is therefore vital. Internal systems such as CCTV with video analytics technology will be able to detect any risks, such as unauthorised personnel or unattended items.
Biosecurity risk is a risk of harmful biological or biochemical substances which could negatively affect the physical health of the population, such as illness or mortality. The global pandemic of COVID19 in 2020 was an example of this and one for which many businesses were not prepared or had the necessary security measures in place.
Physical security measures that can reduce biosecurity risks:
The physical security measures needed will of course depend on the type of biosecurity risk. However, fever screening and thermal imaging are great systems to implement at site entrances, to reduce a biosecurity risk from arising inside your business premises.
Thermal imaging uses facial recognition technology to identify individuals with high body temperatures, indicating a fever and a potential risk to your business, employees and visitors.
Fire will always be a major threat to business sites, but arson is common and is a security risk in itself. Arson involves the deliberate starting of a fire and is a criminal offence.
Physical security measures that can reduce the risk of arson:
A strong, monitored security system with CCTV, access control and intruder alarms will firstly be able to detect if there has been a break-in, suspicious activity or an unidentified person onsite. The majority of the time, this first layer of protection will stop the arsonist before they carry out their crime.
In the unusual event that this doesn’t occur, a reliable and robust fire safety system will kick into action as soon as a fire has broken out. Fire suppression systems will act to put out the fire and fire alarms will lead to an evacuation of the building and a fire brigade response.
Physical security risks can therefore be reduced dramatically with the necessary security measures in place. Not only will they reduce the risks, but they will also help to stop them in their tracks, catch the criminals and bring them to justice if they are not deterred at first.
At BusinessWatch, we are NSI Gold accredited and passionate about providing high quality and reliable security and fire safety systems that will reduce all types of security risks for businesses, giving them the confidence that they, their business and employees are protected at all times.
If you’re interested in reducing your business security risks, get in touch. Contact us here or call us on 0330 094 7404.