Implementing Commercial Security
State-of-the-art solution should start with a well-trained staff
Commercial buildings face a universal challenge:
how to manage security without encroaching
on tenant privacy, comfort and experience. Safeguarding
tenants requires a multi-pronged security
program that starts with a well-trained staff
and includes security professionals, closed circuit television systems,
access control, appropriate lighting and landscaping that
ensures the identification and prevention of crime.
A security event can do considerable harm to a building’s reputation.
When it comes to commercial property security, property
owners and managers have to control the cost of services,
provide good customer service to enhance tenant satisfaction
and reduce vacancies, and make sure they are keeping their tenants
and visitors safe.
More of today’s commercial buildings employ networked
“smart” technology that manages access to a facility via access
control, monitored alarms, and a video management system
(CCTV). Whether it is a large commercial facility or a mid-sized
office building, a state-of-the-art integrated security solution in
conjunction with a professional uniformed guarding service can
ensure a higher level of security.
Facility managers need to artfully juggle providing discreet
security for their tenants while ensuring that their experience in
the building is pleasurable and worry-free. Tenants and visitors
require a high level of trust in the establishments where they are
conducting business. Safety and security are a crucial component
of today’s highly mobile culture. The goal for a security services
company is to ensure the safety and security of its tenants, staff
and visitors, while enhancing the building brand experience and
building tenant loyalty:
Welcome and protect. The key to building security is finding a
balance that fosters an inviting atmosphere for tenants, staff and
visitors while ensuring safety and security. For example, presenting
security personnel in a customer service role, with the security professionals dressed in suits rather than the traditional military
style, makes for a more accessible presence.
This security-minded ambassador provides an increased level
of customer service in addition to security protection to both
welcome and protect tenants, staff and visitors. Security professionals
should provide concierge-level customer service to tenants
and visitors professionals that is specifically selected and trained
for the building’s unique environment which includes:
- Specialized training modules in First Aid/CPR/AED and
- Fire/Life Safety training
- Emergency and active shooter preparedness training
- Lobby ambassadors specially trained in concierge-level customer
- Law enforcement liaison services
Control access. During off-hours, security professionals
should be posted at the front entrance and at any other access
point to the property to greet anyone who is entering the property
and to act as a deterrent and barrier for people who have no business
in the building. It is important for facility managers to train
all employees and contractors to maintain key control, restrict
access to tenants and registered visitors only, report suspicious
activity, conduct routine property tours to access all security and
fire hazards and protect all tenant, staff and visitor information
Patrol public areas. Ensuring that Video Management Systems
with recording equipment are tracking all of the facility’s
public areas is important. These public areas include reception
desk, parking lot, shipping and receiving dock and lobby. Video
Management Systems should be actively monitored by security
staff or via a state-of-the-art monitoring facility.
Commit to continual training. Ensuring that security professionals
have access to virtual and classroom training programs
delivers officers that are well-versed on the latest security technology
available. Today’s security workforce spans all generations.
Optimal learning strategies and techniques generally vary considerably
when training a 20-something vs. a 60-something and there
is no one-size-fits-all training. People are the primary “currency”
of the physical security industry and the best security services
companies are the ones that provide well-trained security professionals
who can strive and succeed.
Training employees on the latest integrated security systems as
well as operating and emergency evacuation procedures are vital
components of the security professional’s continual learning. For
example, the building’s training should include joint programs
with security and employees for emergency procedures during
evacuations. Integrated security protocols enhance the overall
building security program resulting in a seamless security operation
that can adapt to change in real time.
Develop public/private initiatives. Establish public-private programs
that further the coordination and communication of police,
fire department, and emergency services and private security
in the protection of people and property helps to enhance the
safety and security of the commercial real estate community.
From an operational standpoint, it is vital for building management
to have cooperation between all primary public and
private sectors. For example, police officers appreciate the role
that building security professionals play as they are an extra set
of eyes to share observations and monitor trends. Police officers,
in turn, can communicate with security personnel about possible
threats in the area, and give them photos of wanted individuals.
Police agencies can also organize training sessions for private
security to help them understand the ways they can assist public
law enforcement when securing buildings. Using two-way communication
in a variety of methods can enhance mutual respect
and support collaboration between private and public sectors.
Security teams can also partner with Building Owners and Managers
Association (BOMA). As an active member in BOMA, the
building security team has access to a comprehensive resource for
security best practices and benefits from the research, standards
and information offered through this organization.
Prepare for emergencies. Whether dealing with a natural
disaster, loss of electrical power or an act of terrorism, every
commercial building has to be prepared for emergencies that
can happen at any time of the day or night. The emergency
preparedness plan should address all tenant, staff and visitor
safeguards, best practices and training, and all moving parts of
operating a commercial building. The development of an emergency
plan should account for individual property needs, geography,
occupancy type, traffic, nearby businesses and a host of
factors such as rate and type of security incidents, local crime
rates, and access controls.
Commercial buildings are held to a high standard with regard
to safety and security. It is critical that security procedures and
staff training for all traffic areas of the building, including the
lobby, front desk, baggage storage area, visitor entry points and
the parking lot and receiving dock areas be intensive and comprehensive
for contract security and building staff.
A commercial building with an open environment welcomes
guests but also carries all of the risks associated with open access.
A building’s hospitable open doors can allow access to people under
the influence of drugs or alcohol, thieves, and disruptive and
unruly people. Tenants and visitors expect to be safe when they
are in a commercial building, and it is important that all public
spaces be monitored by employees and security staff.
Each commercial building, which are all unique based on
their location, facility design and tenant/visitor profile, needs a
comprehensive security plan that is designed around the functional
areas of the building. Heavily trafficked areas such as lobbies,
parking lots, hallways, elevator access paths and meeting
rooms need to be monitored and patrolled around the clock to
provide a safe and welcoming environment for all tenants, visitors
Aligning with a private security company
can help a building manager create a highly effective
security program lead by well-trained,
experienced security professionals.
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Security Today.