6 Ways to maintain access control

Finger scanner on the scanner glass by card.Installing access control is a simple concept and is simple to incorporate into your security system, however, a business must also maintain access control. Although they are extremely efficient and effective, a business needs to ensure that the access control equipment is maintained in order for it to fulfill its potential and provide the best level of security.

Here we discuss 6 ways to maintain access control:

Remove dirt build-ups

A build-up of dirt can severely impact your security. It can stop the card readers from working which can cause several issues and prevent anyone from entering the building. 

Back up your system

It is vital for your systems to be backed up on a regular basis. If there was a system failure, data could be lost and the access control system would not be able to be used until this data is reloaded. If there is no backup, the process of reloading could be substantial- as would the chaos it would cause. 

Update your system

Jus like system backups, ensuring your systems are up to date is equally as important. If you have the system connected to the internet, it shouldn’t take long to update remotely. If not the process will have to be done locally.

Conduct Emergency testing 

Regular tests need to be done on the systems to recreate a real-life emergency scenario. If the fire alarm goes off, for example, your system needs to be working correctly. Tests need to be done to ensure they automatically unlock and no one is at risk of being trapped in the building. 

Keep your information up to date 

When an employee leaves, you must ensure their information is removed from the system and if necessary, pin codes changed. Disable any access cards or fobs that have had a large period of non-use as well.

Be careful with keypads

A maintenance task that can often be overlooked is cleaning the keypads for access control. Fingerprints can often be seen on the digits that make up the code. If the code is only a few digits long, the combinations are not that endless. For example, if the keypad code is only 4 digits, there are only a total of 24 combinations. If an intruder can see what these 4 digits are, they could work through these combinations.

There is a lot more to maintaining an access control system than just seeing if the door opens when you enter the correct code or provide your ID card. However, having these checks booked regularly can provide you with the peace of mind that the security is working at its best.

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. 

Securing Empty Property- Commercial Space

Shop to letSecuring empty property can often feel like a waste of money. There’s nothing inside to steal. However, leaving a commercial property vacant for any length of time can be risky. Whether you are having the property renovated or waiting for new occupants, there are some common risks and security measures that you should be aware of.

Here is our guide to securing empty property to ensure your investment remains secure.

1. Reduce Theft

Theft is a main threat for any commercial building left unoccupied. Even if you believe there is nothing to take as the building is empty, there are still many valuable items that thieves tend to target from commercial buildings. Stealing metal-based items for scrap is popular with thieves as lead from roofs, aluminium from heating ducts or copper from wiring can be valuable. Even radiators are regularly stolen as they are often easy to remove from the wall and can be sold on for a good price. Opportunist thieves will not be deterred by a building with little content.

It is not just the stolen materials that commercial property owners need to be concerned about. The theft of these items can lead to damage of the building which will lead to additional costs and potentially more severe issues in the future. For example, removing piping and radiators can lead to leaks, water damage or even pest problems whereas removing the lead from roofs can leave holes in the roof which again could lead to water damage or weather damage. Anything removed from the electrics will also increase the risk of gas leaks or risk of fire.

Although the level of metal theft is decreasing due to legislation updates making it more difficult to sell on metal, it is still a real concern property owners need to be aware of when securing empty property.

2. Stop Arson

Arson is dangerous as not only can it cause significant damage to your property, it can lead to others getting injured as well, especially if there are flammable materials still in the building. It can also quickly spread to surrounding properties and impact other businesses.

If a fire broke out and somebody was injured there may be an investigation into the landlord’s negligence.
Fire should be a concern for any owner looking into securing their empty property.

3. Stop Anti-Social Behaviour

Individuals sometimes break into vacant properties in order to deliberately vandalise the building through graffiti. Although it is relatively easy and cheap to remove it, it doesn’t give off a good image and can lead to other forms of antisocial behaviour. It can also encourage more people to graffiti if some is already visible as it shows that the building is accessible.

Unfortunately, empty commercial buildings can tempt people to use them for a range of anti-social behaviours. From drug use to a temporary toilet, fly-tipping or even dogfighting, the list goes on. Activities like these can quickly cause damage to your property but also impact the surrounding environment and buildings. It can even lead to significant health hazards that you need to be conscious of. Although it is not you that has caused any mess, you will be liable to ensure it is cleaned.

4. Puts an End to Squatting

The law changed in 2012 for squatters of residential properties which made squatting illegal. However, the same rules do not apply for commercial properties. Squatters are defined as people who occupy a property without permission. It remains illegal for people to break into a building, however, if squatters have managed to access the vacant building without causing damage to do so, you will be faced with an even bigger problem. Police can only intervene if damage has occurred.

It is possible to get squatters evicted; however, the process is time-consuming and expensive. In order for it to be done, you would have to go through the civil court system, not the criminal court. This process can be extremely drawn out. During this time, the squatters could be causing damage to your property.

Also consider the land around your property. Illegal occupation can also apply to any land that you own. Some business owners have found travellers on their property.

5. Attract New Business

Having a well-secured commercial property improves the professional appearance. High-security levels can lead to a higher interest in your property. Having a property with broken windows, clear structural damage or graffiti will deter potential tenants.

6. Switch Off Your Utilities

Protect your business by removing anything of potential value. Switch off your gas, electricity and water when the property becomes vacant. This can limit the risk of fires or leaks. Also, prevent access through doors, windows and roofs using boarding. Consider having physical security patrol the building as well as gates and barriers. The more deterrents you implement the better. Plus, having physical security measures as well as CCTV can make a vacant building appear occupied which will be a physical deterrent.

7. Secure all Entry Points to Your Building

To reduce the risk of arson consider boarding up the building with steel screens rather than timber boarding which is flammable.

As a commercial property owner, you have a Duty of Care for anyone entering your property, regardless if you invited them or not. Any injury a person may incur whilst on your property will be your responsibility and increase your liability.
Be proactive as much as possible. Assessing your situation and gain specialist advice.

8. Consider Installing Access Control Systems as an Added Layer of Security

Undertake a health and safety and risk inspection by a professional to gain a full understanding of the risks you need to avoid. Inspect your property on a regular basis. Insurance companies will often want you to check your property at least once a week.

9. Use Perimeter Security around your Plot of Land

Ensure unauthorised vehicles do not access your land by implementing flow plates, barriers or bollards.

Although there will be a cost to protecting an securing empty property, the potential cost saving could be significant. It also gives you the peace of mind that your investment remains as secure as possible at all times.

To find out more about how to protect empty commercial property with physical security, please contact us on 01522 682255 for a free, no-obligation quotation and feasibility survey to assess your perimeter security equipment.

The Benefits of Biometrics in Physical Security

Fingerprint scan
Biometrics is defined as the application of statistical analysis to biological data in the Oxford dictionary and uses unique physical or behavioural traits to verify the identity of an individual. Biometrics is not a new concept.

Police have been using fingerprint identification since the 1800s, however the advancement of computer technology has allowed companies to use biometric devices to increase their security immensely. Biometrics have allowed companies to move away from less secure practices such as passwords and pin numbers to practices that are harder to hack such as fingerprints, iris scanners and even voice recognition devices. Some companies even utilize multi-factor authentication to log in to a computer.

The most popular usage of biometric data in security is a fingerprint reader. What used to be something seen only in science fiction movies is now used in every day life. Many people even use this this technology on a daily basis and a lot of people even use this technology to gain access to their mobile phones. The same technology is a great option for companies to incorporate into their security plan. Now the technology is widely available, the cost is relatively low, especially compared to other forms of biometrics such as iris scanners and facial recognition.

Here we discuss the benefits of using biometric security devices as part of an overall security plan.

•    Biometric security devices remove some need for passwords. Unlike passwords, biometrics are not easily shared or hacked. Password security issues account for many data breaches within companies.

•    Biometric security devices can be used to avoid cyber and physical security breaches- Modern devices are extremely versatile as they can not only be used to prevent hacking and other data breaches but are regularly used for access control and authorization. Unlike keys and proximity cards, biometrics cannot be stolen which makes them great addition to your physical security.

•    The technology is becoming cheaper over time. Although facial and iris recognition is still expensive, fingerprint recognition continues to decrease in price, making them a realistic option for many businesses.

•    Fingerprint recognition is more accurate than voice recognition.

•    They can increase convenience- biometric security devices are extremely efficient and convenient as an employee do not need to remember anything in order to access the building or information, only biological features such as fingerprint or are needed.

•    Can be incorporated seamlessly with other methods of security- You can team biometrics with many aspects of your existing security and doesn’t necessarily need to replace anything, it can be used in addition.

•    Biometrics are accurate- Although they are not perfect, biometrics are a lot more accurate at identification than the use of passwords or access cards. If you work in a high-risk sector, then biometrics are a perfect choice.

•    Biometrics can also help with accountability. If any security breaches take place, a biometric security system will provide data that is easy to analyse and confirm how the breach took take and by whom.

Are there any drawbacks to biometrics in security?

Despite its many benefits, there are still some areas of concern that businesses should consider. Biometric security devices can sometimes be slower in practice due to the time it takes for people to apply their finger to the device and for the reader to process the information. If you have an extremely high trafficked area, you should consider whether biometric security devices would effect building access in high-volume periods such as the beginning or end of shifts.

Although biometrics cannot be lost like access cards can, this does not mean that there are no ways to gain access to someone’s fingerprint. If a security breach does happen, you can easily replace an access card but when we are talking about someone’s fingerprint, it is another story!

The important thing to remember is that despite how beneficial biometric security devices could be, you should not rely on them as your only method of security as despite its many benefits, biometrics remains imperfect. Consider implementing multifactor security system, regardless of the advances in technology.  By teaming up biometrics as part of your overall physical and cyber security strategy, you can ensure your end to end security is as strong as possible and it can help to enhance physical security systems immensely.

To find out more about how biometrics can be incorporated into your physical security plan, please contact us on 01522 682255 for a free, no-obligation quotation and feasibility survey to assess your perimeter security equipment.

Securing Your Premises For The New Year

Securing Your Premises For the New YearEnsuring your business premises are as secure as possible is vital. However, even if you bought the latest security equipment, technology advances quickly so it is important to carry out annual audits to see what ways you can strengthen your premises for the year ahead.

Here we discuss 6 best practices to consider when carrying out a security audit.

1.    Start with a risk assessment

Before any security decisions can be made, a full risk assessment should be carried out. A business that has experienced security breaches should use the experience to identify weaknesses. A security risk assessment should be thorough with each potential scenario given consideration. Third part security companies will be able to offer professional advice or even carry out the risk assessment. Areas that require particular attention include side or rear entrances, loading bays, windows and roofs in addition to the more obvious main entrances.

2.    Secure your premises

A thorough risk assessment will identify areas of weakness. Perimeter security can be improved by installing gates or barriers. 

3.    Secure your equipment

A combination of cyber security and physical security will reduce the risk of theft. Considerations could be made to CCTV, access control systems and internal security forming a high-level security program.

4.    Train your staff well

A security induction can be implemented to ensure staff are all provided with the same knowledge as well as ensuring that staff are all aware of the organisation’s security concerns and efforts. Identifying suspicious behaviour or even areas of weakness could prevent a future security breach.

5.    Keep staff safe

It’s important to take measures that improve the security of your staff. Bollards, speed ramps and adequate lighting can be considered to ensure the workplace is safe.

6.    Carry out regular checks

Carrying out regular audits will help maintain a high level of security. Security requires continuous attention and effort to remain proactive.

To find out more about how you can improve the security of your business, please contact us on 01522 682255 for a free, no obligation quotation and feasibility survey to assess your perimeter security equipment.

4 ways to make your employees feel safe

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100Your employees spend a lot of their time at their workplace, so it is extremely important that they feel as safe as possible when they are there.

Studies have shown that if employees do not feel sufficiently safe at work it can adversely affect staff happiness, productiveness, efficiency and staff retention. There are a lot of things that you, as an employer, can do in order to make your staff feel as safe as possible. The investment you spend in both time and money in these additional security measures will be worth it as it will create a happier workforce that will be more productive. Here are four key areas you can look at in order to improve staff safety.

1.    Invest in gates and barriers
It is a simple thing but having gates can really improve how safe employees feel whilst at work. Creating a barrier using gates acts as a deterrent to anyone who is trying to get onto the premises without permission. Having gates surround the entirety of your property not only indicates to everyone which land belongs to your business, it also protects staff car parks. Having barriers and gates will also help protect your assets (not only your staff but also your stock, the premises itself and sensitive data to name a few) it will also help visitors feel secure when they come for meetings as well.

2.    Have Access Control
Consider having access control areas where you use proximity cards, intercoms or biometric finger print readers to ensure only authorised personnel can enter the premises. These devices are great to have on the entrance of your main building or, alternatively, any room that contains private and important equipment or information. When visitors come, you can provide them with a temporary visitor pass. Not only will this make it convenient for them during their visit, they will also feel secure knowing you need passes to enter the building.

3.    Hire security guards
Sometimes having someone to physically guard your premises can really make your employees feel safe. If you use a security guard alongside barriers, gates and turnstiles, you can ensure only authorised personnel can enter.

4.    Enforce speed limits in staff car parks
The staff car park can be dangerous. If you do not have safety measures in place you could end up with injuries. Ensure you have designated areas for pedestrians which are clear to everyone. Make sure there is sufficient lighting so people can easily get to their cars during winter months. Enforce slow speed limits throughout the car parks using speed bumps and rising kerbs to support this.

Taking time to put some of these methods into practice can really benefit both your business and its employees in the long run. It not only protects your businesses’ valuable items or any sensitive data, it also prevents any serious accidents and increases employee happiness and productivity. Being a company known for having the safety of their employees as a number one priority will also build confidence and trust in your business.

To find out more about what security measures you can put into place for your employees’ safety, please contact us on 01522 682255 for a free, no obligation and feasibility survey to assess your perimeter security equipment.

Keeping staff carparks safe and secure

SONY DSCHaving a staff car park is a great benefit for employees. However, having somewhere for them to park their car is not enough. You need to ensure you have undertaken as many preventative and safety measures as possible to ensure that the cars and staff always remain safe, as well as your employees and visitors. If staff do not believe their car and possessions will be safe whilst at work, this will adversely affect productivity and staff happiness. Here we discuss 9 ways you can make your staff car parks as safe as possible, ensuring staff happiness.

Under the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and subsequent legislation, car park owners and operators are fully responsible for the safety of car parks. This includes employers.

1.    Sufficient Signposting
The car parks should be clearly signed throughout. You need to highlight any areas staff cannot park, which areas are for visitors only and have a low speed limit enforced at all times. In addition to this, you should have pedestrian crossings where necessary and pedestrian access only areas.

2.    Bollards
Bollards are a great way to separate pedestrian and driving areas. Knowing the cars cannot enter certain areas will provide peace of mind to the pedestrians and help guide cars in the right direction. During winter months as well, you can use the areas marked out by the bollards to indicate to pedestrians which routes are best to work on to avoid slippery surfaces.

3.    Speed ramps
Having a slow speed restriction sometimes is not enough. Pairing this with speed ramps can really help make the car park more secure. When staff are entering and exiting the car park at the same time each day, there is a higher chance of collisions or accidents taking place. Ensuring cars are moving around the car park slowly and responsibly helps reduce this risk significantly.

4.    Space
Careful planning of the car park needs to happen. You must ensure you have enough room for all cars whilst also ensuring there is enough space for manoeuvring. In addition to this, you need to ensure that any areas that delivery vans need to access or any emergency exits are kept clear at all times.

5.    CCTV
Especially during winter months when many people come to work and leave work in the dark, CCTV equipment can really help make the car park more secure, especially from the employees’ point of view.

6.    Barriers
Using barriers to the carpark is recommended as it can help make the car park more secure and will ensure only authorized personnel can park their car. Although automatic barriers accessed by the employees is possible, another option is to hire a security guard to ensure the barriers are always working, to allow entry to authorised people only and can also greet visitors as well as acting as a deterrent. Barriers are also great to avoid people thinking they can park there for free when they are not employees. This is especially important the closer to cities and built up areas you are.

7.    Height Restrictors
If you only have a small car park which cannot accommodate large delivery vans, then a height restrictor could be something you should consider installing. This will stop larger vehicles entering the carpark and potentially blocking other cars or even causing damage if there is not sufficient room.

8.    Control Access Equipment
To create an even more secure car park, you could use Access Control Equipment at the gates and your work building itself. This double layer of security ensures only people with authorization can enter the car park and the workplace.

9.    Lighting
Always ensure the car park has sufficient lighting. This allows pedestrians to be easily visible by drivers as well as allow people to walk safely back to their cars during winter months.

Although you may not see it as directly related, studies have shown that a good, secure staff car park will lead to happier, more productive staff as they do not dread coming to work because of fear they will struggle to park. If they do struggle to park, they are more likely to arrive to work frustrated which will impact their performance.

To find out more about you can secure your staff car park, please contact us on 01522 682255 for a free, no obligation and feasibility survey to assess your perimeter security equipment.

How access control equipment could help schools to be outstanding

how access control equipment can help schools to be outstandingOfsted visits are as stressful as it gets for school teachers and meeting their ever-changing criteria is a common source of headaches. While security equipment is by no means a fool-proof method of guaranteeing a positive outcome with Ofsted inspectors, there is evidence it could impress them.

Ofsted’s job is outlined as ‘inspecting and regulating to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people’. While Ofsted does not outline specific standards in their guidebooks regarding security, they do require that schools protect “their pupils, staff and property”.

The Ofsted inspector’s recommendation document helps schools and teachers to understand what aspects they find impressive at other schools around the UK. It highlights examples of security, in particular managing the follow of children and visitors using access control equipment.

Besides impressing Ofsted inspectors, access control equipment can provide some very practical benefits to schools. They can ensure that students stay safely inside the school buildings during the day, they can track staff entry and exit times, prevent truancy and prevent access to unwanted visitors. Access control equipment can include intercoms, keypads, cards, fobs or even turnstiles all of which can improve safety levels on-site.

For many schools, access control equipment is high on their agenda, but cost can often be a barrier due to shrinking budgets. Here at Gateway Automation we can help you find the most cost-effective option for your school while maintaining high standards of safety and control.

Are you interested in finding out more? Gateway Automation provide a range of perimeter security systems to help educational sites to secure their premises 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/.

Protect high-value goods with access control equipment

protect high-value goods with access control equipmentEvery delivery of cargo to your warehouse represents value, but some more than others. The loss of expensive equipment, electronics, pharmaceuticals or other items could seriously undermine your business, disrupt relations with suppliers and customers and gravely harm your bottom line. This is why it is incredibly important that your business acts to ensure that your warehouse has rigorous security protocols in place to prevent such a disaster from happening.

Best practices for warehouse security and the role of access control equipment

Security at warehouses is paramount. Your systems need to be complex and detailed in order to offer protection to your goods, both during operations and afterwards. From basic practices like ensuring your employees are properly vetted, uniformed and badged and signed in to the building, to locking off access to high-value goods with access control equipment – your plan needs to be comprehensive.

It is important to properly vet your staff. It can be tempting to relax these types of practices at busy times of the year, such as seasonal spikes, but this is a short-sighted approach that can cost you dearly. Access control equipment can not only protect goods from unauthorised hands, it can also help to monitor which staff are in the building at any given time – helpful in identifying a culprit should stock disappear.

By using cages with a keypad or fingerprint biometric access control system you can secure high-value goods and restrict access to only approved persons. Without this kind of protection in place then anyone could gain access and potentially exploit those materials.

Mirrors and cameras should be installed around the building making it difficult for employees, tradespeople or other visitors to conceal stolen goods. Proper and effective monitoring is a key way to stop opportunistic theft. However, CCTV should not be relied on solely as It only records a crime happening, it does not always prevent it.

Physical keys should be replaced in lieu of electronic methods of access. Physical keys can be easily copied or can find their way into criminal hands which could put your entire business operation at risk, with thieves easily gaining access to goods, documents and other assets undisturbed. A building, room or cage that is only accessible by biometric finger print (entirely unique to the individual) or a keypad with a code that can be changed is a much more reliable form of security.

Gateway Automation can provide free, no obligation quotes and feasibility surveys for your premises. To get us to assess your security requirements, please contact us here.

Lock down your offices with biometric security

lock down your offices with biometric securitySome types of businesses are naturally more attractive to criminals than others, and so for those companies, security options are always at the forefront of what they do. Of course, this varies from business to business, and a bank or a shopping centre will typically have very different protocols in place to a restaurant or an office-based business. Unfortunately, far too many business owners wrongly assume that their businesses are safe from crime right up until the time they are targeted. Here we will look at how office-based businesses in particular can safeguard their people, information and assets in the face of ever-rising crime rates.

One of the biggest threats to office-based businesses is that of theft. In a recent survey as many as two-thirds of employees admitted to stealing low-cost items like stationary from their employers and a high number went even further than that, admitting to stealing electronic items and expensive materials. An obvious but largely underused way to combat this type of employee theft is to lock down specific areas such as stock cupboards or equipment storage areas with access control equipment. This means only trusted parties can access those materials.

While a degree of theft can come from your own employees acting poorly, theft can also come from outside your own building. Opportunistic thefts or planned attacks can take place should your building appear to be an easy target or the goods inside of high enough value to take a risk. Access control equipment like biometric entry controls, turnstiles and gates can effectively lock down your offices against these types of risks.

Another threat that businesses face in the modern world is that of data security. Physical hard-copy materials that contain sensitive information such as financial data or personal details can prove very valuable to criminals. In fact, this type of crime costs the UK as much as £3.3 billion year on year.

Businesses that fail to take strong steps to protect the information of their clients and customers can face damaging consequences. Should data be wrongly procured they can face fines of up to £500,000 from the Information Commissioners Office. As well as having strong data security protocols in place, businesses should ensure that confidential materials are securely stored, and once again only trusted parties should be given access.

Are you interested in finding out more? Gateway Automation provide 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/.

Protecting museums and galleries with access control equipment

protecting museums and galleries with access control equipmentIn 1994, the world-famous Munch painting ‘The Scream’ was stolen by thieves in Oslo, Norway. Two men took less than a minute to climb a ladder, smash through the window of the National Art Museum and remove the painting from the wall with wire cutters. The entire incident was caught on CCTV; however, cameras alone were never going to be enough to protect such a valuable piece of art. Such was the oversight in their security provisions that the thieves actually left a thank you note to the museum for their “poor security”.

Art gallery thefts are not uncommon, and another high-profile theft happened in 2008, when pieces by Cezanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh were stolen in less than 5 minutes from a gallery in Zurich. Famous pieces of art command high prices on the black market and because of this very few are ever successfully recovered, which makes it all the more important to have proper security controls in place.

They key way to ensure that a museum or art gallery is protected is to create a complex, multi-layered security system that plans for the worst eventualities, and access control equipment can play an important role. Where CCTV may simply document a crime taking place, access control equipment can actually help prevent and deter crime.

The conundrum for many gallery and museum owners is how to balance making exhibits easily accessible and appealing while still maintaining high-levels of protection. While art galleries and museums are public places and should not look like prisons, it is important that security fundamentals are not overlooked. Compromises can be found and sometimes security measures actually enhance the experience of the visitor. Barriers and turnstiles should be installed at entry and exit points around the building which can help to manage human traffic and allow security personnel to successfully monitor and check who is accessing the building. This not only helps to cut down on incidents but also reassures the public that their security is taken seriously.

What’s more, a multi-tiered privilege system must be in place which ensures that only the people who need access to certain areas of the building are given it. Museums and galleries are at high risk of so-called ‘inside jobs’ and so these types of measures are an absolute must. High risk areas where paintings, artwork and antiques are kept in storage should always be secured with access control such as biometric fingerprint readers, keypad or fob systems.

Together with other solutions like manned guarding, plainclothes supervisors, alarmed windows, motion detection, environmental sensors, glazing and vibration sensors, access control equipment can form a comprehensive security plan as detailed as the pieces of art hanging on the walls.

Gateway Automation provides a range of products including access control equipment to help businesses and individuals secure their sites against crime. We also provide nationwide servicing and repairs to gates, barriers and other perimeter security equipment. To find out more please call us on 01522 682255.