Every workplace needs access control to manage who has access to office and communal spaces, keep track of employees in case of emergencies, and protect physical valuables and confidential information against tampering and theft. Access control measures such as card readers and locks help prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing places, people, and information they shouldn’t, thus inhibiting potential threats before they can materialize.
Every corporate security and facilities team should ask: Could anyone get into the lobby of the building, then into the main office space, all the way to the CEO’s office, the server room, or other areas where sensitive work or conversations take place?
Note that a rigorous security system includes layers of security; access control systems integrated with video surveillance and intrusion detection are recommended where possible.
Robust access control measures help protect the most critical aspects of any office: the people, the assets, and the information. A lack of access control measures leaves offices vulnerable to various threats, and every workplace needs to pay attention to this aspect of safety and security.
1. Securing People
Companies use access control to secure and protect their people. Locked doors, badge readers at building entrances and other critical junctures, and “Do Not Admit” lists go a long way towards keeping bad actors out of sensitive areas and away from employees. It is critical that everyone inside the office space is kept safe and secure, both protecting them physically and providing them with the peace of mind to go through their workday confident of their safety. Unvetted individuals should not be allowed access to people inside the office, as their intentions are unknown. Access control failures could mean that dangerous individuals get inside and move freely through the building, potentially harming the people inside.
Tracking Illness Exposures
Access control systems that help companies understand where their staff has been throughout the office can also be used to track the spread of illness or exposure. For example, access control systems can provide insight into which staff members have badged into a shared space, and therefore have been in close contact in the event an employee reports a contagious illness.
Access control is also critical for securing people in the event of an emergency. Access control systems can tell you who is in the office and where in the office they have badged into. In the event of a fire or other evacuation, this information helps ensure that all employees are accounted for. Access control systems can also be a force multiplier when connected to duress buttons and other emergency alerts to facilitate a lockdown for applicable office areas during emergency situations, such as an active shooter or a suspicious package.
2. Securing Assets
Access control systems further protect physical assets from theft and tampering. Valuables, computers, servers, and any assets specific to the company, such as lab equipment or product prototypes, should be appropriately secured and locked. Access permissions should take into account who needs access to what and when and be appropriately programmed for when people are inside the office vs. when the office is supposed to be dormant. When set up properly, access control systems can help companies respond if an asset is damaged or stolen, providing valuable information to determine if anyone badged into the applicable office space during the time of the incident.
3. Securing Information
Information theft can be extremely damaging to any company; companies should maintain robust access control measures that prevent unauthorized individuals from viewing, downloading, or otherwise stealing sensitive information and intellectual property. Adversaries or criminals can access proprietary company information, customer data, and personnel files if sensitive information is not adequately protected. These types of breaches make the company vulnerable to corporate espionage, legal consequences, embarrassment, lost customer confidence, and damaged reputation, among other effects. Simple measures such as password-protected laptops and locked office and server room doors are the first line of defense. Files should be locked away, whether digital or physical, and access should be limited to only those employees who specifically work with that information.