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Business security

Dr Steffan George, Development Director, Master Locksmiths Association The UK Home Office has recently published its first ever research into crime against business following extensive interviews with major UK industry sectors. Entitled ‘2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey’, results indicate that if findings were applied on a national scale, 9.2 million crimes against businesses occurred in the 12 months prior to interview.

Almost half (46%) of interviewees have experienced at least one of the main crime types covered by the survey in the 12 months prior to interview. Theft tops the chart as the most common type of crime experienced – a figure which equates to 6.8 million incidences of theft on a national scale.

Here Dr Steffan George, Development Director of the UK’s leading locksmithing trade association, the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA), offers his top tips on boosting business security to help prevent attack.

"Business security is vital, not only to protect a building and its contents, but also to keep employees, visitors and clients safe," said Stefan. "With this in mind, business security should be reviewed, upgraded and maintained on a regular basis; however, it can be difficult to know where to start."

"To make sure all physical areas of a building are covered, weaknesses are spotted and security is appropriate for the various areas, it is advisable to carry out a security review with a trained professional such as a member of the MLA. By doing so, businesses are reassured that they are getting the best advice by combining the expertise of a security professional with their own knowledge on what is important for a particular building or series of buildings."

"Reviewing security is all about knowing a building’s function and optimising security around it, so when carrying out a security review it is imperative to start from the outside in. Check the local environment to ensure nothing can be used to gain entry, check doors and windows for faults, broken locks, weak frames and damage – if there is any sign of wear and tear replace them immediately. Review gates, fences and grilles to make sure they are in good repair. To boost security consider window grilles, fences, electronic access entry systems, CCTV, fogging systems and alarms."

The next stage to consider is how to regulate who is in and out of a building at any given time and how to grant access to approved individuals. There are a host of access products on the market to control access including:

  • Restricted / patented keys – a locksmith can install patented or restricted systems whereby keys for such locks can’t be easily replaced or copied without providing proof of ownership; meaning only official keys can be managed and distributed. If one of these keys goes missing or there is concern over a breach in security a lock can often be reconfigured and new keys issued, rendering the lost key ineffective and saving money. This is an ideal solution for ensuring keys aren’t copied while in the possession of employees or visitors.
  • Master key system – master systems are one whereby one key opens all locks in a set while other keys open individual or select locks. This works particularly well in large buildings which are split into various departments or smaller businesses. Such systems enable select personnel to enter all areas, but it limits others to only access authorised areas.
  • Electronic access – such systems ensure employees can gain access while preventing unauthorised entry. This cost effective solution comes in many forms including: digital locks, key fobs, swipe cards, keypad entry systems and video entry systems. The flexibility of these systems allows users to be easily added or deleted as required. Electronic access can also be used in a similar manor to master key systems to prevent unauthorised employees accessing some areas / rooms if need be.

Seeking expert advice

As security products are ever evolving, health and safety regulations are changing and responsibilities are growing, it is advisable to seek third party advice on which security measures to install from a trusted and reputable security expert such as MLA members who are not only experts on locks, keys and electronic access, but they can also advise on and install the wide range of products mentioned in this article.

By hiring a trusted and experienced MLA member to carry out a security review and install measures, a business is assured advice is appropriate to needs, meets health and safety regulations, is the most effective solution for specific needs, measures suit a budget and the maximum level of security for a building or series of buildings is provided.

Once a building or buildings are physically secure the next step is to review areas that need to be considered in relation to a specific building(s).

For instance, if sensitive data, valuable stock or money is stored within a building, it’s worth considering what security measures are in place to protect this. Would high-quality secure storage cabinets help protect valuables, is a safe room required, are dangerous materials stored away correctly and is a safe needed to store valuables? Your MLA locksmith will be able to advise you accordingly.

And finally, once a security review has been carried out and measures put in place, it is vital for information on security protocol to be passed onto all staff members. Without buy-in from those who use the building on a daily basis security can become compromised so make sure staff know the dos and don’ts of security and they are aware of all procedures, ensuring security is used to the maximum efficiency.

For more information, please visit: MLA on Facebook or follow: MLA on Twitter

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