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We write articles mainly about visitor management, which helps you to know who is (or has been) in your facility. It is just part of an organization’s physical security processes that protect people and property within and around a building or campus.

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8 affordable security ideas that are easy to implement in your office building

by Paul Kazlauskas

8 affordable security ideas that are easy to implement in your office building

Providers of high-tech security solutions, which seem to always get the most attention, often try to sell you on all the bells and whistles they offer. The “newest and greatest” security systems, cameras, and access control systems continually get the most buzz.

But what if you don’t need or can’t afford the latest and greatest high technology security solutions?

There are numerous inexpensive tools and procedures that you can implement easily and effectively that will help improve the security of your office. If you don’t need and/or can’t afford high-priced security upgrades, here are some ideas that can help improve office building security without maxing-out your yearly budget. Some are inexpensive tools and some are simply security best practices that will help decrease the chances of an unfortunate event happening at your place of work.

  1. Install an Electronic Visitor Management System.
    An Electronic Visitor Management System (VMS) is used to sign in and track visitors who come to a facility. A VMS is a great way to document who comes into your building, is an efficient way to manage visitors, and provides reporting and data analysis of visitor activity. As the tool has evolved over the years, the cost for purchasing a visitor management system has declined. This affordable security tool, in the form of a kiosk, also possibly saves the need for hiring a receptionist and allows your facility to “Go Green” by eliminating the use of paper log books. A middle-of-the road visitor management system can cost as little as $1,000 - $2,000.

  2. Instruct your visitors to wear badges while on the property.
    Visitor badges are the output from the visitor management system mentioned in (1), above. The badge should, at bare minimum, contain the visitor’s name, picture, who/where they are visiting, and the date and time they arrived. For extra security, time-expiring visitor badges change color overnight to prevent reuse in the future. The color change is a great visual indicator that a visitor should be questioned about their presence in the building. This extra level of security ensures that badges don’t have to be retrieved at the end of the visit, and staff and employees don’t have to wonder about any given person’s presence in the building if they are not recognized.

  3. Don’t leave building guests unsupervised.
    This would include any type of office guest: clients, vendors, contractors, maintenance personnel, employee’s family, etc. Visitors should be welcomed at the office entrance and then escorted to where they need to go. After their visit is complete, they should be escorted to the exit. Never let anyone wander the building by themselves.

  4. Have one main entrance and keep other entrances locked. 
    You need to ensure that uninvited or unannounced guests can’t enter the building. The best way to do this is through the use of door locks, specifically deadbolt locks. You can also use various types of electronic locks that can be unlocked only with appropriate card key or RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags. Every lock, regardless of type, can be easily connected to any alarm system that you have installed. 

  5. Place security cameras within and outside of the facility.
    Security cameras on the outside of an office building are a great idea. They should be strategically placed to maximize the view of each camera and cover the important areas. Security cameras within the facility don’t need to be as all-encompassing as the exterior (depending on your type of business), but at least one should be placed to monitor the lobby.

  6. Instruct employees to keep their computers, desks, and offices locked when unoccupied.
    When employees step away from their desk or office, they should be taught to lock their PCs, and their offices, and keep classified materials off their desks. Confidential papers that are no longer needed should be shredded. If you opened a window during the day, make sure it’s closed and locked upon leaving.

  7. Make sure that employees don’t work alone at night.
    If you, co-workers, or other personnel have to stay late at work, ensure that nobody works alone. In the instance that it is unavoidable, emphasize the importance of keeping the office doors closed and locked if they’re working alone.

  8. Keep the parking lot and building exterior well-lit at night.
    Provide proper lighting to areas of the office campus where employees have to walk, such as the parking lot. During the winter months, it can get dark outside before the typical business day ends. In addition, those winter months can lead to hazardous sidewalk conditions if any precipitation has fallen. A well-lit walkway will help people stay safe.


What other affordable office building security ideas and procedures can be implemented without much effort or expense? Please join the conversation by adding your thoughts below in the “Comments” section.

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Posted on 6/14/2018

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