Security Protocols Critical to Success in Open Office Environments
Open office plans are commonly used in large workspaces and are designed to promote collaboration among staff whose work relies on frequent communication or needs little concentration. Open office layouts are often used in large corporations as well, especially those in the tech industry. In some instances, employees do not have an assigned desk or a lockable file cabinet; work can be done from any location, allowing for flexibility among coworkers. However, open layout offices can create headaches for security directors.
How an Open Environment Hinders Security
The lack of offices means that employees cannot close and lock an office door when they’re done working, and they probably do not have a file cabinet where they can secure their belongings. Some proponents of open office plans claim that visible security measures undermine the whole point of the layout. But, the dilemma remains over what employees should do with their jackets, purses, laptops and other sundry belongings if they cannot be locked away.
Imagine the toll if a thief gains entry to the open office space and manages to walk off undetected. It might not be too difficult if the thief figures out a way to blend in with other employees and roam around.
In high-rise, multi-tenant and enterprise office buildings, there are security precautions available to prevent such scenarios. Visitor management and access control measures are especially useful, as they can be integrated and set up to require employee ID badges when using elevators and opening doors, thus limiting outsider access to sensitive areas. However, a determined “tailgater” may be able to bypass visitor management and access control, and once inside it is challenging to stop an outsider in an open office environment from stealing property and making a quick exit.
Theft of employee belongings is not the only issue to consider in open office plans. Sensitive and confidential data can also be at risk when an intruder makes it inside. If employees are changing workstations routinely, it becomes easier for other employees, vendors, or contractors to lift confidential information through the use of smartphone cameras (to take a quick photo) or thumb drives (to quickly save a document) to stealthily hack a laptop.
Enhance Your Open Office Security
In any open office environment, employees must be trained to be aware of their surroundings and angle their laptops away from high traffic areas. Also, they must follow protocols that include shutting down and password protecting their laptops when not in use.
Ensure your facility is as secure as possible through company policies and procedures dictating what information can be accessed, where and when. All employees should be trained effectively in security protocols when they begin employment, and security refresher sessions should be scheduled routinely. Communication should also be encouraged amongst employees, and those who follow the established security protocols should be rewarded regularly.
In a larger enterprise, there is a greater chance for employees to work with different individuals on a daily basis. Physical and data security need to be a priority to mitigate the potential security risks that are prevalent in an open office environment. Contact Veristream today at 888-718-0807 to discuss how implementing visitor management and access control systems into your open office environment can enhance security.