Physical Security Challenges for Businesses Going Forward
Updated: Sep 13
Physical security challenges for businesses are becoming more complex and diverse as the world faces various threats and risks. Some of the main physical security
challenges moving forward are:
Workplace violence: This includes threats, verbal abuse, physical assaults, and even homicide that can occur among workers, customers, clients, personal relationships, or criminals. Workplace violence can affect the safety and well-being of employees, as well as the reputation and productivity of the business. According to a report, 1 in 7 people do not feel safe at their workplace. To prevent workplace violence, businesses need to implement access control measures, identify warning signs of potential threats, and integrate data and cooperation between physical security, cybersecurity and HR teams.
Crime/Theft: This covers burglary, robbery, vandalism, shoplifting, theft, and fraud that can target businesses of any size. Crime and theft can cause financial losses, property damage, and legal liabilities for businesses. Since the pandemic, there has been an increase in crime, especially in the form of “flash mob” style burglaries that involve many criminals overwhelming the security systems. To prevent crime and theft, businesses need to enhance their surveillance and monitoring capabilities, deploy physical barriers and deterrents, and train their staff on how to respond to incidents.
Natural Disasters: This encompasses floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, and other extreme weather events that can disrupt business operations and damage physical assets. Natural disasters can also pose health and safety risks for employees and customers. According to a study, 40% of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. To prepare for natural disasters, businesses need to conduct risk assessments, develop contingency plans, backup their data and systems, and ensure adequate insurance coverage.
Biosecurity: This refers to the prevention of biological threats such as pandemics, bioterrorism, or accidental exposure to harmful agents. Biosecurity can affect the health and safety of employees and customers, as well as the continuity and resilience of business operations. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of biosecurity for businesses of all sectors and sizes. To enhance biosecurity, businesses need to follow public health guidelines, implement hygiene and sanitation measures, enforce vaccination requirements or testing protocols, and support remote work arrangements.
Back to Work / Hybrid: This involves the transition from remote work to in-person work or a hybrid model that combines both. Back to work or hybrid work can pose physical security challenges for businesses such as managing access control for distinct locations, protecting remote workers from physical threats, ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations, and maintaining communication and collaboration among teams. To address these challenges, businesses need to adopt flexible and adaptive policies, leverage technology tools such as cloud-based platforms or mobile apps and foster a culture of trust and accountability among employees.
These are some of the physical security challenges moving forward for businesses and to mitigate the physical security challenges moving forward for businesses, there are some general strategies that can be applied, such as:
Conducting regular risk assessments and audits to identify and prioritize the physical security threats and vulnerabilities facing the business.
Developing and implementing a comprehensive physical security plan that covers policies, procedures, roles, responsibilities, and resources for preventing, detecting, responding to, and recovering from physical security incidents.
Investing in appropriate physical security technologies and solutions that suit the needs and budget of the business, such as access control systems, video surveillance cameras, alarms, locks, barriers, sensors, biometrics, etc.
Training and educating employees and customers on physical security awareness and best practices, such as reporting suspicious activities, following emergency protocols, protecting personal information, etc.
Collaborating and coordinating with external stakeholders and partners, such as law enforcement agencies, security service providers, insurance companies, industry associations, etc., to share information and resources on physical security issues and solutions.
Each business may have unique needs and circumstances that require specific and customized solutions. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with an independent consultant who can provide more guidance and assistance on this matter.
Thank you for your interest and if you would like to learn more about this topic or find out how I can help you with your security needs, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you and assist you in any way I can.
About the Author
Joseph “Paul” Manley is the Founder and Principal of Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC, a Training and Independent Consulting Firm with a focus on violence detection, prevention, response, and recovery. Paul is a retired Massachusetts Police Lieutenant, Adjunct Lecturer, Board-Certified Workplace Violence and Threat Specialist, Security Expert, and Trainer.