Do you have a corporate security plan in place? This all-encompassing document provides a template that delivers security guidance to each of your buildings. It covers everything from pre-employment screening and visitor management to access control and security lighting.
“It doesn’t matter what type of market or building you’re in, you want to have a security blueprint to follow,” recommends Jeff Floreno, security practical leader for Wren Solutions, a security solutions company.
If you don’t have a plan or it’s time to update yours, follow these tips:
1) Provide a Standard
“All companies have standards – it’s just as appropriate to have a standard for security,” says Mike Coleman, vice president of commercial real estate for AlliedBarton, a security services provider. “Security reaches into all facets of ownership of a portfolio. If you don’t have a plan in place, you don’t have anything to work off of.”
It may be tempting to allow each of your properties to develop its own plan, but corporate guidance reinforces consistency and ensures that a location hasn’t overlooked a security concern.
“It may not be intuitive to property managers what they should be doing for security,” explains Floreno. “The corporate security plan provides them with a roadmap of minimal expectations.”
2) Circumvent Liability
Another benefit of a corporate plan is that it provides risk mitigation. “If you don’t have a formalized plan, you have nothing to protect yourself with, let alone the people who work in and visit the building,” Coleman warns.
If you’ve neglected to include a firearms policy, for example, you could be liable if a shooter injures someone. You need documentation in place to prove you’ve taken appropriate action. Without it, you are open to a host of unpleasant results if an emergency occurs.
3) Avoid Micromanagement
Make sure your plan’s requirements are broad enough so they can be adjusted. If your conditions are too specific, they may be counter to a facility’s security needs.
“Access control is the most important to let buildings manage on their own,” recommends Floreno. “You don’t want to say all of your buildings will have electronic access control – you should leave that up to each facility.”
Take visitor management, for example. A security officer may oversee visitors in one building but a receptionist handles this function in another. It isn’t always cost-effective to require a guard to manage something the building staff already covers.
To provide flexibility, use general guidelines such as “will provide controlled access” without specifying which type. This allows each location to implement a strategy that is right for the layout, occupants, and risks. Whether a location uses officers, locks, badges, or biometrics for access control, each measure feeds back into the corporate plan.
4) Rely on Experts
Don’t forget to take advantage of security professionals who interact directly with your buildings. Particularly if you have multi-tenant buildings or an extensive portfolio, it’s best to set up a facilities security committee. This group can network about security issues and share best practices.
This is useful for identifying portfolio-wide issues, particularly ones an individual property would dismiss without the right knowledge.
For example, several of your buildings may have experienced what appears to be isolated vandalism. However, if a property manager knows that a disgruntled ex-employee is making trouble, they can monitor the situation differently and communicate with other location managers.
Because third-party security assessments can be costly, you can also ask your security director to conduct a monthly assessment based on the best practices, recommends Floreno.
Both scheduled and random validation testing can determine if corporate guidelines are not being adhered to at a location.
Use routine walkthroughs to confirm post orders are current, after-hours lighting is adequate, and surveillance needs are being met.
If you contract security services, have your provider join the discussion or even help you refine your corporate plan. “There’s a trend to really engage your service providers and call on them to help you develop these templates,” says Coleman.
Jennie Morton ([email protected]) is assistant editor of BUILDINGS.