Maintaining a Safe Workplace

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Maintaining the security of your organization’s data doesn’t stop with the firewall, antivirus software, or employee training. In order to adequately protect all the sensitive information your organization keeps on file, you also need to consider how you maintain the physical safety of your workplace.

Maintaining a safe workplace might seem like a no-brainer, but some studies suggest that physical security is an afterthought in many cases because organizations concentrate on using technology and training to prevent a security breach. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking at how your organization can create and maintain a safer workplace.

Protecting Your Personal Workspace

All employees should take proper precautions to protect their work and personal workspace. For example, if a team member is in the middle of a project containing sensitive client information when it’s time for the next department meeting, they need to make sure they take proper precautions to ensure unauthorized individuals do not see the information while they are away. Locking the computer; picking documents up from the printer, copier, or fax machine immediately; following the proper protocol for storing sensitive documents and data; and making sure all materials are cleaned up following a meeting are seemingly small steps that can go a long way to aid in the security of any information your company has been trusted with.

Routine Inspections for Fire Risks

A fire can be detrimental to any organization, so it is extremely important to take the necessary steps to identify fire risks through routine inspections. For example, all power cords and plugs should be regularly inspected for damage and replaced right away if cords are frayed, wires are exposed, or prongs are missing. Make sure cords are not overloading outlets. Also, make sure that desks and rooms are cleaned often to eliminate clutter, as a build-up of papers, boxes, dust, and other combustible materials can increase the risk of a fire.

Server rooms and computer rooms can also be at risk of a fire if not maintained properly. A professional fire risk assessment is a great place to start in identifying the exact risks your server or computer room currently face and what you need to change to start reducing the risk. Electrical failure of the equipment in the room, electronics that overheat, excessive clutter in the room, and faulty wiring in the subflooring are common causes of fire in these rooms, so it’s important to inspect these regularly to ensure you are doing everything you can to avoid a fire.

Server and Networking Infrastructure Security

Location is extremely important when it comes to where your server and networking infrastructure are housed, as they contain sensitive data and other information that are necessary for your operations. The most ideal location is an interior room with no window access so that individuals who might be looking to steal information or interrupt your operations can’t access it. You should further protect your server room and networking infrastructure include controlling and monitoring physical access. Remember that badges, ID cards, and even passwords can be stolen, so be sure to set up video surveillance to keep a visual record of all who enter and exit the room.

Physical Security Systems

Physical security systems are more than deadbolt locks and an alarm. These days, physical security systems can include access control options to grant employees access to certain areas of your office or building based on their level of authorization, and there are many options for allowing access, such as keycards, codes to type into a keypad, and even biometric access.

Motion detectors and security cameras are additional measures you can implement into your physical security systems to help protect your organization’s data. Motion detectors offer different options depending on your needs for intrusion control and can come in the form of infrared motion detectors that note changes in infrared light patterns; heat-based detectors that note changes in heat in a specific area; wave pattern motion detectors that make observations of changes in reflected patterns based on microwave or ultrasonic frequencies, and more. Security cameras can be set at specific points throughout your facility to monitor who is entering and exiting these areas, providing proof if unauthorized individuals are accessing areas they shouldn’t so you can take the appropriate actions.

Some companies may also opt to hire security guards to monitor access to the building as well as keep an eye on the facility after hours. Security guards are often a front line of defense in protecting a building from thieves looking to steal valuable information and devices.

A lot goes into maintaining a safe workplace, but at the end of the day, you’d rather take all the steps necessary to protect your organization than spend time, money, and other resources to remedy an issue later. If you haven’t started discussing the ways you can protect your organization physically, now’s the time to do it.

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