January 27, 2021
The Ultimate Facility Management Security Execution Guide
Facilities management includes numerous elements, including commercial security. You need to make sure that all of your sites are secure. This can be particularly complicated when there are several sites, as it is impossible to be in multiple places at once. With a bit of knowledge, it is possible to set up a strong facility management security plan and dramatically reduce the security risks to your sites.
Security for Your Multi-Site Facility Is More Important Than Ever
Keeping your multi-site facility secure is vital for protecting your property, including physical property and intellectual assets. Security protects information, assets, and physical property from loss, theft, or damage.
Facility management security also protects your employees. This makes them feel secure, improving employee retention. Additionally, when your employees feel safe, they are more likely to work productively. It also reduces your risk of liabilities, as there is a reduced risk of someone being injured on the property.
With security measures in place, you are prepared for numerous situations, even if they are unlikely to occur. No one expects to have someone come to steal from or damage your property, but putting security measures in place reduces costs and the potential damage by being prepared.
Why It Is Even More Important Now
While security has always been crucial, it is even more critical at this moment in time. This comes from tough conditions that the country is facing, including social unrest and rioting. Those issues, combined with the uncertainty many people feel about the future, given the pandemic, make security an essential element.
The social unrest and protests seem to have calmed slightly, but there is always a chance they will resume. Given that almost 1,500 businesses in St. Paul and Minneapolis were heavily damaged during the riots in August, this is a real concern for many companies. After all, that damage occurred in such a short amount of time and without much warning.
Different Types of Facility Management Security Equipment
As you create your facility management security plan, you will want to explore various elements, from alarm systems to cameras. Each of these is available in several varieties, allowing you to choose the type that works best for your business’s needs.
In the past, alarm systems typically set off loud alerts and let others in the surrounding area know about a break-in. Now, the most common versions will send a notification to your security company, which will have a response team on hand. They are also commonly set up to contact local law enforcement in the case of a breach.
Your facility management security should include a camera that does the latter, as it helps reduce the response time for police to arrive. You may also want to think about having it contact the facility manager, property owner, or another authority figure on the property.
When looking for security cameras, facility managers should remember that consumer-grade and commercial-grade ones are different, with the latter typically being more robust.
You will want to pay close attention to the features and specifications of the security cameras to get one that works for you. In the case of multi-site properties, security cameras with remote access via the internet is a must, as it allows you to monitor all of the properties on the go or while you are at one of them.
There are numerous types of commercial doors to choose from, some offering more security than others. Typically, those that provide greater security will be more expensive. We will cover this in more detail below.
Security fences can surround your facilities, providing an extra barrier, complete with other security elements on this list, such as lighting, doors, locks, and cameras.
You should not overlook the importance of security lighting as well. If you have security guards on the property, security lighting will ensure they can see the area well enough to protect it. It will also help if the security alarm goes off, and someone arrives on the site to investigate.
Security lighting can also deter criminals as it increases the risk that they will be seen.
Most commercial buildings come with standard commercial locks that are only a weak deterrent. At the minimum, facility managers should upgrade the locks to industrial-strength ones. This should be possible even if you rent your property, as long as you provide the property owner with a key or meet any other requirements they have.
In addition to the sturdy locks with keys that most people picture when discussing locks, there is also the issue of access control, which can use other types of locks. This can include locks for specific areas of the property that unlock with biometrics, by scanning an ID card, or by entering a code.
The Best Types of Commercial Doors for a Retail & Restaurant Facility
All buildings need doors of some sort, and retail and restaurant facilities have to balance out their needs and their budget when choosing the type of door. Selecting a door comes down to combining convenience, planned use, security needs, and budget. For example, retailers commonly have automatic doors that can be turned off and locked. Jewelry stores may supplement these with sturdy metal doors that fit outside the main doors.
The following are some of the most common types of commercial doors to consider for your restaurant or retail facilities, including the role they play in security.
Aluminum is a common material for front doors at stores and restaurants. They are low maintenance and can look sleek. They are not, however, as sturdy as steel doors, nor are they as fire-resistant. This makes them less popular than steel in some cases.
Fiberglass doors are very low-maintenance and long-lasting, easily handling the constant opening and closing of restaurants and stores.
Glass doors are popular for stores, as they let passersby see in and view your products. They also help by providing natural light. They are made using safety glass but are not usually fire-rated. Glass doors are typically easier to break than metal ones, so that you may need an extra layer of protection depending on your facility’s location.
Roll-up doors roll upwards to open and store overhead. These are commonly made of heavy-duty steel or similar materials. Their durability offers excellent security. It is common for stores and restaurants to have roll-up doors as well as glass doors to get the benefits of both.
These are another type of security door that can be the only door for a business or go outside of glass doors. They are discreet when not in use, as they fit on the sides, yet they are made from sturdy metal to keep intruders out.
Most commercial steel doors are hollow, featuring an inner material like foam insulation or stiffeners and steel on the outside. They are the most common choice for restaurants, retailers, and others who want heavy-duty durability, cost-effectiveness, and security. These doors are hard to break.
You are unlikely to find overhead doors at stores and restaurants, except perhaps in the back by the loading dock. They are tall and coil up towards the ceiling, similar to a garage door. They can be incredibly wide and are essential for getting larger items in and out of your store or restaurant.
Wood doors are great for indoor use in restaurants or retail. They can be fairly sturdy, but they are not as strong as metal doors, which makes them a less secure option. They also tend to weaken when exposed to the elements. Restaurants and retailers should only use wood for indoor doors.
What to Consider
As you consider your facility management security plan, use the following factors to choose the best type of door to use:
- Interior vs. exterior door
- Front entrance vs. loading dock
- Durability requirements
- Breakability and security
Not All Commercial Locks Are Created Equal
As mentioned, locks play an essential role in your facility management security plan, and not all locks are created equally. There are a few aspects of this worth discussing.
Types of Commercial Locks
The following are the most common types of commercial locks:
- Conventional Locks with Lever Handles: These are the traditional door handles you open by pulling down a lever, but they feature a lock. They are a poor decision for security as they are easy to pick or break. There are more durable versions, but even those do not compare with other types in terms of security.
- Deadbolt Locks: These are among the more secure types of locks, complementing cylindrical locks with ease.
- Keyless Locks: These use biometrics or ID cards to open and are ideal for higher security.
- Interchangeable Core Locks: Some locks have interchangeable cores, meaning that they can be rekeyed. This is an important security feature, especially if you have a disgruntled former employee or lose a key.
- Padlocks: Padlocks are removable locks with a reputation for flexibility. There are extra-sturdy padlocks designed for entrances to buildings, but other lock types still tend to be a better option. Instead, consider using padlocks on specific items, such as lockers with valuable items.
All locks with ANSI/BHMA certification will have a grade. Always opt for Grade 1 for the most strength and security. There are less strict requirements for Grades 2 and 3.
There are dozens of brands for commercial locks. The following are widely considered to be the best in the industry, so facility managers should stick to them when in doubt.
Does Your Multi-site Facility Need a Camera System?
It is typically wise to include a security camera system as you execute your facility management security plan. That being said, it does depend on the business, and there are pros and cons of having security cameras. After weighing the following pros and cons, you will likely decide to go ahead and get the cameras.
- Deter Criminals: Just the presence of a security camera can be enough to make criminals think twice about targeting your property. Instead, they will be more likely to go for an easier target without cameras.
- Catch Criminals: If someone does break into your business, the security camera makes it easier to catch them, helping you get restitution for damages.
- Monitor Anyone Suspicious: If there is a suspicious employee or contractor, you can use the cameras to monitor them as well.
- Keep Records: Security cameras can also provide important records in various situations. They can confirm conflicting stories between employees and customers. They may even help you show you are not liable for something a customer accuses you of.
- Expense: Some camera systems are costly, and there are typically maintenance costs.
- Privacy Concerns: Your employees may not like the knowledge that you can watch them at any time.
- Potential Hacks: Depending on the camera system you use, there is always a risk, however small, of someone gaining access to the footage and using it. For example, they could use it to determine the best time to rob your store.
- Theft Can Still Occur: Having a camera will not stop the crimes; it will make it easier to catch the criminals.
How Can an Alarm System Protect Your Commercial Building?
You should always include an alarm system of some sort in your facility management security plan. They will reduce the risk of criminals causing damage or stealing and make it easier to catch them.
They Provide 24/7 Protection
One of the best things about alarm systems is that they are there 24/7, including when you are not. This means that even if there are no security guards present, your business is being monitored.
They Deter Criminals
If criminals know that you have an alarm system, they are less likely to target your property. This is because there is a higher risk of them getting caught.
They Allow for Quick Responses
Most alarm systems have features that will automatically alert the police or your security company. This allows for a quick, if not immediate, response, reducing the amount of damage that criminals can cause. It also lets you start recovering from any damage right away, instead of having to wait to discover it in the morning.
They Can Reduce Your Insurance
Although not always the case, it is common for commercial insurance companies to offer discounts to facilities that have alarm systems in place.
Some Can Work With Backup Power
Depending on the type of alarm system you choose, it can continue to work even if the power goes out. These systems work on battery power in emergencies, provided you regularly confirm the batteries are charged.
They Can Include Extra Features
There are also plenty of alarm systems that incorporate extra features, such as motion detectors, sprinklers, and fire or smoke detection. These features can help protect your property from fire or certain other disasters in addition to criminal activity.
How to Board Up Your Retail & Restaurant Facility
Your security plan should include a strategy for boarding up your restaurant or store when the need arises. This can be important in potential violence, such as looting or protests and the possibility of natural disasters.
Why Board Up Your Facility
Boarding up your facility reduces the risk of damage and theft, including both natural and human-caused damage.
In the case of recent protests and riots, for example, looting was common. Having boards in place would have made it significantly harder for the looters to access the buildings to steal items. This will typically make potential looters think twice about targeting your business.
Even in the case of natural disasters, like tornados and hurricanes, boarding up your retail facility or restaurant is helpful. In this case, it prevents the strong winds from damaging your windows or walls. That serves multiple purposes as not only is repairing storm damage expensive, but it also leaves your store open to thieves who take advantage of it.
How to Board Up Your Facility
You should typically use plywood for boarding up your facility. Make sure it is 5/8 inches thick or more. Plywood typically comes in large sheets that are eight by four feet. You will also need measuring tape, a drill, and nails.
Start by measuring the exterior glass. Before cutting the plywood, add eight inches to both the length and width, as this provides overlap for extra protection. Predrill holes at the appropriate diameter, then attach the plywood.
Security is among the most important roles of a facility manager, as it protects your property and business from intentional damage. A strong facility management security plan will deter potential thieves and vandals. If they do target your business, your security plan will make it easier to catch them and minimize the amount of damage they can complete. This guide should provide all the information you need to start, execute, and maintain your security plan.