How to keep your business secure at Christmas

christmas business security

While this time of year sees many businesses winding down for the end of the year, it is important to remain vigilant in the face of crime, especially for those businesses who will leave their premises unoccupied during the holidays. Here are some tips and advice to keep your business secure at Christmas and avoid a festive headache.

1 – Establish a presence during closures

It is a sensible first step for businesses to assign keyholding duties to trusted staff members during periods of closure. You should decide in advance whether they will be required to visit only on an emergency basis or be asked to visit at various points through your closure to check for any problems. Even an infrequent presence could be enough to put off any would-be intruders who may be surveilling your property.

2 – Maintain standards during your wind-down

Understandably, the festive season often results in a more relaxed atmosphere at work. However, it is important that you don’t let your usual security standards slip. Your typical checks at the end of the day should still be carried out, and any guests such as at an office Christmas party should be logged and monitored. For sites that handle deliveries and pickups, the festive season can be the busiest period of the year, so it’s important to stay on your guard.

3 – Create a safety checklist

Nominate a member of staff to run thorough safety checks during your last day in the office. This should include but not be limited to checking perimeter security tools are working, turning off electric items to avoid fire risk, checking heating and temperature controls, and reviewing access points to ensure they are locked. It is important to do a trial run prior to your final day in the office, up to a few weeks in advance, so as to highlight any problems that may take a little time to amend.

4 – Avoid posting Christmas hours online if you are closed for a long period

While communicating your holiday hours to customers and clients is a good idea, you should avoid posting them on social media where criminals could take advantage. It only takes a simple search of Google or social media for criminals to find potential targets in their local area and begin to plan an intrusion. Instead, you should reach out directly to customers through email or phone, or post a holding message that asks clients to contact you via phone for details of your opening hours.

5 – Avoid a blackout

There’s no surer way to signal to intruders that a building is empty than turning out all the lights. You should consider timed lighting that will turn on at key hours and invest in triggered security lighting as deterrents. Criminals are much more likely to target premises with weak lighting and darkness to obscure their attempt at gaining access.

6 – Treat perimeter security as a priority

Perimeter security should not be left to the last minute. Establishing strong barriers and deterrents to crime should be high on your agenda the whole year-round. Tools like security gates, bollards, and barriers can be used to restrict access, as well as vehicular tools like road blockers and rising kerbs. You can also use access control equipment with turnstiles and barriers, enhanced with keypads, proximity cards, or intercoms to further reduce interior access.

7- Consider having manned security

Consider whether you should have manned security during the time you and your staff will be away from the business Manned security can work in tandem with your perimeter security measures to ensure the most effective and efficient level of protection for your site.

To find out more about how we can help with your business security needs, please contact us on 01522 682255 for a free, no-obligation call and feasibility survey to assess your business needs.

Top 5 Physical Risks for Businesses

Security RisksIn recent years, internet and cyber security has become a hot topic. Ransomware, malware, phishing, and other malicious software all present very credible threats to businesses. And a failure to address these types of issues can, indeed, leave businesses in hot water.

However, while cybersecurity is an important part of protecting your business, it should never be a replacement for physical security. Here are five of the most credible physical security threats to brick and mortar sites, and key actions you can take to deter them.

1) Theft and burglary

One of the most prevalent forms of crime against businesses is that of theft. Theft, even in small amounts, can cause huge disruption to your operations. Cash or asset losses affect not only the overall health of your business. This can also affect customer confidence, and undermine the morale of your employees.

2) Vandalism

Vandalism can encompass a broad range of activities, many that can be toxic to your business. Graffiti is the most obvious, as well as small acts of arson, the smashing of windows or doors, structural damage, fly tipping and more. Any business can be a victim of vandalism, but properties that are isolated or currently unoccupied are particularly at risk.

3) Arson

Arson can completely devastate buildings, gut them entirely of any stock or equipment and endanger human life. However, what you might not know is that not all arson attacks are opportunistic. Many are planned out in advance, and sometimes even targeted due to a dislike or slight against a company. Fires can spread very quickly, which is why in this case, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.

4) Unauthorized entry

Not all crimes happen during the twilight hours. Without proper restrictions in place, unauthorised visitors can make their way into your buildings and go on to commit crime. This can include theft of assets, destruction of property, or even assault against members of your workforce. Some crimes may even slip under the radar entirely.

5) Terrorism
For businesses in highly visible sectors such as governmental organisations, acts of terrorism remain a present danger. Terrorists seek to cause disruption and fear, making any governmental building a possible target due to their high profile and connection to power. Other targets might include sites with high traffic, including; schools and universities, nightclubs and arenas, or any infrastructure that is critical to the UK’s power and water supplies.

Preparing for the worst

With dwindling Police force budgets across the country, and mounting paperwork on their desks, it is understandable that stretched officers can no longer respond to crimes as quickly as they might have once done. However, this simply further underlines the importance of acting before the event with preventative measures such as physical perimeter security.

Security starts at your perimeter and tough measures can act as a deterrent to criminals looking to gain entry to a site. Interior and exterior protections such as gates and turnstiles can limit access to approved visitors. Vehicular access can be controlled through automatic barriers, rising kerbs and road blockers. While pedestrian access can be managed through keypads, biometrics and fobs, to name just a few of the solutions available.

It can be difficult to know where to start, so a business’s first port of call when addressing their needs should be to arrange a risk assessment through a qualified and experienced provider. Here at Gateway Automation we can provide you with a free, no-obligation quotation and feasibility survey to assess your perimeter security requirements. To find out more please contact Gateway Automation on 01522 682255.

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.

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. 

Securing Building Sites- Using Physical Security

Danger Keep Out sign Securing building sites is a hot topic in the construction industry. Building sites are a common target for vandals and thieves. They can be targets for homeless people as well as kids who view building sites as an adventure playground. It is because of these potential intruders that construction companies must ensure that building sites are as secure as they can be.

Here, we discuss the best ways to achieve this.

Install Perimeter Security

Installing perimeter security is one of the easiest and most effective ways of securing building sites. Ensure any fences or gates are sufficiently high enough to make it difficult for people to climb over. Also ensure there are no gaps beneath the barriers, fences and gates to avoid anyone crawling underneath.

Keep entrances to a minimum

Building sites are easy targets to thieves as it can be difficult to keep track of visitors and contractors. Maintain control over who is entering and exiting the site by limiting the number of entrances and exits.

Install CCTV

Although installing cameras can be expensive, they can be very effective and means that site managers always have visibility of the site. Always post signs when CCTV is in operation. It informs people that they are on camera but also acts as a secondary deterrent if the message is reinforced through clear signs.

Layer security with signage

Although extremely low cost, having signage that is prominent around the site can be extremely effective and adds another layer of security. Even though the signs alone do not prohibit unauthorised personnel, they have been proven to be an effective deterrent. They can be a weak form of security when used alone, but placing them together with other forms of security can help to secure a building site.

Use security lighting

Wherever possible, use security lighting to deter anyone from entering. The security lights are motion censored and can deter people from entering, especially at night time. If any intruders successfully enter the premises, the security lighting can help them be identified.

Consider manned security

Lighting may not always be an option. However, if your building site is in a high-risk area, consider manned security. They can carry out regular patrols to limit any attempted arson, theft or vandalism. Alarm systems could be used instead of or alongside managed security to increase the protection even further. You can choose between loud alarms, designed to shock the intruder or a silent alarm that will contact the police.

Supervise Visitors

It is imperative that all visitors to the building site are supervised at all times. They should be provided with the appropriate safety gear such as hard hats and high-vis jackets.

Organise construction site carefully

Time needs to be spent to ensure the building site remains safe and secure at all times. Stack any building materials safely and not too high to avoid the risk of toppling over. Immobilise all vehicles and always remove the keys from all equipment. Hide as much out of site as possible and secure any substances that may be hazardous. These measures will protect your site from theft and also help reduce the risk of any injuries occurring.

Not only can weak security lead to theft or vandalism which can cause businesses insurance claim headaches. It can cause potential delays to a project and can even cause injury. Regardless of the size of the project, securing building sites should be a top priority for all construction companies. By layering physical and perimeter security, they can have peace of mind that their property remains as safe and secure as possible. By taking these appropriate steps, the risk of damage, loss and injury can be significantly reduced.

What’s Next?

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

Physical Security Practices- 5 Top Tips for Businesses

08Physical security practices in the workplace is a huge topic. but where does the cautious business owner start?

Health and safety of all employees should be a key priority for all businesses. Physical security measures can be implemented to ensure staff are kept safe in the workplace. Not only can these physical security processes keep employees safe, they protect any visitors as well as company assets.

Here, we discuss 5 forms of physical security practices that every business should implement.

Visitor Management

Businesses often welcome visitors to their business site as part of day-to-day activity. However there should be a plan to ensure that these external visitors do not compromise security. Using a digital login system can help ensure your staff and business remain protected.

Physical Security Assessments

You might already have a robust physical security strategy in place, many businesses do. However, any good strategy should be regularly checked as things can change. Having regular assessments can help continually identify potential areas of weakness. These areas of weakness identify improvements to your physical security. Ideally, a physical security assessment should take place annually or bi-annually. It is easy to become complacent once you have a strong strategy in place which can lead to future problems.

Strong Access Control

Access control methods ensure that you have full control over who is entering your building, or a specific part of the building. It is vital that you use access control for critical areas such as server rooms. Limiting access to sensitive areas will reduce the likelihood of theft or vandalism. Introduce the use of proximity cards and turnstiles to ensure only authorised people enter the building. PIN entry systems can be extremely effective. The use of bio-metrics can make this methods even more robust, for example, using a fingerprint or retina scanner.

Secure from the outside- in

If you do not know where to begin your physical security plan, start by securing the outside of your building and working inward. This is even more important if you are located in an area with high crime rate. Start simple with gates, barriers and turnstiles. Also consider exterior lighting, surveillance and signage. Although these methods may seem simple, they can have a strong impact and be effective on deterring criminals.

Sufficient Employee Training

Physical security is only as strong as the weakest link. The weakest link, however, is often the staff. Maintain security communications and training to ensure all staff are aware of procedures. This could sometimes involve a whole company culture shift. It can also take time to educate staff and develop a security mindset. However, once it is in place, your physical security strategy will be more effective.

Management teams should train their existing and new staff by implementing security training security policies. Ensure staff know that there will be consequences if these policies are ignored. Management should lead by example for security campaigns to work effectively. Changes to required behaviour should be natural for the staff to adhere to and encourage them to report any suspicious behaviour.

This list is not exhaustive as there are a lot of other physical security practices that could be put in place; however, these are a good place to start. Also, security involves an upfront cost, the peace of mind and protection they provide is worth a lot more. Regardless of the size of the business, a strong physical security strategy must be put in place.

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.

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.