Who needs a seat at the table when choosing security and life safety solutions?August 17th, 2020
Decisions regarding your business security and life safety solutions impact many stakeholders. How do you choose which security system is right for your organization? In this article we discuss the ways in which different departments and stakeholders are impacted by your burglar alarms, video security, fire safety and access control solutions.
We outline the impact to the following stakeholders:
Your maintenance department has the most knowledge of your physical infrastructure. They can provide input on the best placement of devices since they are familiar with the physical infrastructure including the placement of wires and pipes.
Because of their knowledge of the building overall, they may be able to identify areas with vulnerabilities. Maybe there is a blind spot or easy to access window or door. Using their knowledge will make your building more secure.
After installation they will be responsible for making sure the equipment stays clean and is properly maintained to ensure the devices are working properly and to extend the life of the system. They will also run periodic tests on the system to make sure it’s functioning and communicating with the central monitoring stations.
Your security and life safety solutions directly impact your employees, so your HR department certainly needs a seat at the table.
How to make changes when employees are hired, promoted, or terminated?
One concern for human resources might be the ease of updating, adding and removing users to the system. For example, some access control systems integrate with employee databases so when HR terminates an employee, they are also immediately removed from the access control system so they can no longer use their key cards or pins to enter the premises.
Establishing an onboarding and training program
Human resources will also need to develop an onboarding process and training for employees that will be interacting with the system. Part of this plan will involve the level of access needed for different positions. With most systems you can define access levels that can easily be assigned based on the position a person is hired for or promoted to, making it easy to update settings and keep permissions consistent.
A training program will also need to be developed. This could be as simple as showing employees how to arm or disarm the system, how to swipe their key card, and who to reach out to if they need assistance. If an employee needs access to monitor the system or make changes to it there would need to be a more intensive training program, this is often available through various resources provided by your security integrator.
Creating a safe and comfortable work environment
Your HR department is tasked with making sure your employees have a safe work environment. Physical security such as alarms and access control can accomplish this and provide physical evidence if an incident occurs in the workplace making it easier to solve disputes or make reports to the authorities if needed.
In our current environment with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic this is particularly important. Limiting the number of people inside a building, screening temperatures, and monitoring to make sure new safety protocols are being implemented are all ways to give your employees a safer place to work and there is security technology available to help with COVID-19 related concerns.
The information technology department could arguably be one of the most important departments to include in the decision-making process. Because modern security and life safety solutions rely heavily on technology and devices, your IT department will be involved with installing, managing, and updating the system.
Cybersecurity should be on the top of the list when it comes to criteria for choosing a system. You don’t want to employ a new system that is going to leave your current network exposed to cyber threats.
Some of the most secure systems are cloud-based. In-house servers require constant maintenance and open ports to communicate with central monitoring stations or online dashboards. A cloud-based system is easily updated. Rather than investing in expensive, bulky equipment that will eventually become obsolete a cloud-based system is extremely secure and can scale with your business.
Adding Compatible Devices to Your Network
If you are adding on to your security system you want to consider how that will integrate with existing services or devices. Many access control, burglar alarms, fire safety and video solutions can all be managed through one platform making it easier for users by having one log in. Physical aspects such as wiring can also be part of making sure the new system or devices will work properly with the current network setup.
Also consider your current bandwidth. Adding on more devices may mean an upgrade in network speeds. This is important with both hardwired and wireless solutions.
Working with HR to manage users and provide support
IT departments often manage user access to software programs and the associated passwords. This responsibility is shared with the HR department. Having a system that can automate changes based on employee database updates can make life easier for both departments. If your system does not integrate with your employee database, you can establish an internal procedure for how this information is shared so changes can be made quickly and accurately.
Your HR department might handle initial onboarding and training, but it will likely be your IT department that handles troubleshooting and support for employees. Your business can lay out a plan for who will be responsible for addressing issues and questions about your security and life safety solutions and then making that information available for all employees.
You probably don’t want to involve every employee in the decision-making process but consider having a small panel of employees to provide insight and feedback. Talk to frontline staff and management to gauge the impact across a variety of positions.
If employees are using a system for access control or must interact with a security panel to arm or disarm an alarm you want to consider the ease of use. If the system is too complicated it may have a negative impact on the work environment or even result in false alarms that can be costly depending on if your municipality issues fines for responding to false alarms.
If you are installing panic buttons, get employee input on where they should be placed.
Your security and life safety solutions are in place not only to protect your business assets, but also your employees. You want to know if your employees will feel safer if certain technology is implemented therefore creating a better work environment. On the other hand, if implemented the wrong way your employees might feel like they aren’t trusted by management such as monitoring employees all day through live video feeds.
Customers and Visitors
If your business welcomes customers or visitors into the facility you want to consider the impact on their experience. Although they won’t be sitting in the room for the decision-making process put yourself in their shoes.
If you use an intercom system with video and electronic door releases, is the system easy to use and reliable or are your guests left waiting in the rain without getting a response. For a school, adding this to your network of security solutions may be comforting to parents knowing that visitors are restricted and monitored so their kids are safe while attending classes.
For a lodging facility a fire safety solution may not just be required by local code but can give guests more peace of mind. However, if the system in place regularly gives false alarms it can result in a negative experience for guests.
The solutions you implement should provide you with the level of security you desire for your business while not detracting from the customer experience.
Local municipalities may have a say in the decision based on local codes or permit needs. It’s best to check with them early in the process to make sure you meet minimum requirements and aren’t blindsided with additional costs when you get to the installation phase. Also take into consideration the time frame needed for obtaining permits and inspections if they are needed.
Once you have evaluated your needs, present them to a security integrator. They can guide you through the decision-making process by showing you options that fulfill those needs. They can provide you with information to take back to the table to discuss with other departments involved.
Your security integrator can also evaluate your building and they may identify additional vulnerabilities that you didn’t think of.
Select Security can work with your decision making committee to provide you with the information required for all stakeholders to make an informed decision on what security and life safety solutions are the best choice for your business. You can contact us today at 877-877-0345 or submit a form online to get started!