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5 Ways to Boost Your Building Security Systems... for Pennies

Whether you are increasing security as a response to a breach or simply instituting measures to harden already established security protocols, boosting security systems need not be expensive.

Building Security Systems


There are many benefits to implementing a well-run security program. Security programs that include an ID card feature increase protection for an organization’s employees, information, and infrastructure. However, many security programs are rendered ineffective due to a lack of planning which, in turn, leads to:

  • Appearances overriding security concerns
  • Failure to implement access control
  • No buy-in from employees
  • Improper badging
  • Poor visitor management practices

Fortunately, these problems all have inexpensive solutions and many issues can be corrected by a change of thinking. There are four ways organizations can get a better handle on their building’s security measures:

  • Implement visitor management measures
  • Start security awareness programs
  • Match security to risk level and business needs
  • Enhance building access control procedures

This report will briefly summarize two situations where an organization’s security measures led to fraud and theft and then present solutions that may have helped prevent these incidents from occurring.

Case Studies

There are many examples of organizations where their security procedures have failed them, resulting in loss of money, information, and damage to a company’s reputation.

  • In London, a bank was infiltrated by someone purporting to be an IT professional on-site to fix computers. The phony IT person was, in fact, part of a group that managed to abscond with over $2 million.
  • The 2006 theft of a laptop belonging to the Department of Veterans Affairs resulted in theft totaling as much as $25 to $30 million.

As a result of cases like these, a US security consulting company, Bishop Fox, recently gave a demonstration based on information obtained at the 2013 Black Hat USA conference of how easily home and office security systems can be compromised. These cases show that more needs to be done to ensure building security in order to stay ahead of the bad guys. The following section outlines some inexpensive, easy changes that you can make to enhance your building’s security.

Planning a Security Program

Most security program problems originate during the program’s planning stages and most issues that reduce a program’s effectiveness can be eliminated through proper planning.

Whenever possible, it’s important to have someone on staff that understands security programs and procedures and can advise you during discussions with contracted security staff. Outsourced security personnel may have protocols and procedures that don’t align with your own needs so employing someone familiar with security, but who also understands your organization’s needs, will prove to be an invaluable resource as you plan your organization’s security procedures.

Appearances vs. Security

Everyone wants to have an attractive office that appeals to customers and visitors. However, this desire shouldn’t be placed ahead of creating a secure workplace. In the interest of creating a nice-looking workspace, many companies “hide” their security devices which eliminate much of their effectiveness. Security devices, such as card readers and CCTVs, should be visible to everyone. The conspicuous presence of these devices discourages most would-be thieves and mischief-makers.

Improved Access Control

Access control, which involves the use of encoded ID cards to restrict access to important areas within a facility, is an often underutilized security strategy. Many small companies and most medium to large organizations have access control set up to restrict access to a building’s entrances but neglect to implement further access control inside their facilities. This poses a threat to sensitive company information. Even though this information may be stored on computers with high-level security features, it’s important to ensure that information is stored in a secured area.

Improving access control has two main benefits. First, it prevents visitors from gaining access to restricted areas. This makes it more difficult for unauthorized parties to view proprietary information. Second, it allows organizations to monitor employee movement, which can prove useful when investigating property thefts.

Increased Employee Buy-In

Your employees will play an integral role in the success of any security program you put in place. It’s important to stress the importance of security vigilance. One way to accomplish this is to implement a security awareness program. Security awareness programs teach employees about the importance of both physical and computer system security procedures. These programs encourage employees to take ownership for an organization’s security protocols and, in doing so, reinforce the importance of security programs.

Most employees don’t like the feeling that their every move is being watched so it’s important that security procedures impact employees as little as possible. Security procedures should be focused on the two or three areas that would have the most impact on a building’s security. Figuring out how far to take security measures should involve an assessment of your organization’s risk level and corporate culture. For example, a government facility that stores personal information about citizens likely requires a wider reaching security program than a neighborhood grocery tore.

Improved Employee Badging


One of the easiest things a company can do to improve their building’s security is to implement an effective, well-run ID card program. Such a program provides significant security against fraudulent badges being used to impersonate employees. The development of an ID card program can be broken down into 3 major steps:

  • Identifying the purpose of the ID card program
  • Implementing the program
  • Determining card characteristics

Planning employee badging requires you to answer a number of questions, including:

  • Why is the ID card program necessary?
  • How do you want the ID cards to be used?
  • When are the cards to be used?
  • Who will use the cards?

Answering these, and other, questions will ensure that your organization has an ID card system that meets your needs.

Developing Visitor Management Strategies

Visitor management plays a critical role in the security of a building. Most companies have a visitor population that includes:

  • Customers
  • Contract workers
  • Couriers
  • Job applicants
  • Out of town employees

These people have legitimate reasons for their presence but with so many un-monitored people visiting a facility it’s easy for unwelcome visitors to escape notice.

Thanks to advances in technology, visitor management is much easier and more effective than it was in the past. TEMPbadge visitor management products offer a wide variety of products and software that allow organizations to tailor their visitor management program to suit their needs.

The most inexpensive option in visitor management, which will appeal to small single location companies, is the implementation of expiring visitor badges. Expiring badge supplies provide a complete visitor identification system that simplifies the way an organization identifies its visitors. As their name suggests, expiring badges are active for a set amount of time (usually 1 business day) and change appearance when they expire. Depending on the type of badge used, the badge could have colored lines running across it or display the word “VOID” upon expiration. Expiration messages can even be customized based on a company’s needs.

Organizations such as hospitals and government agencies, or other companies that have a high volume of visitors each day, can utilize TEMPbadge visitor or guest books to streamline their visitor management processes. These books provide a one stop visitor management program, allowing users to record a visitor’s name and information while also providing the visitor with an expiring badge. As an added security feature, the visitor’s name remains in the book so that you have a permanent record of all visitors.

Some situations require further technology to meet their visitor management needs. For these companies, they often look to visitor management software like PassagePoint. This software can be smoothly incorporated into an organization’s access control processes, tailored to fit the requirements for a specific industry, and integrated into current employee management databases.

If you have further questions about how to improve your organization’s security procedures, visit us at or give us a call at 1-800-667-1772

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