Reputation of a brand to its employees is as important as to its customers. While workplace satisfaction depends on multiple variables, security is something that remains a constant. Technology has matured sufficiently to make the work premises much safer for employees. With incidences of crimes, violence and misbehaviour at workplaces on the rise, beefing up security with the latest systems becomes imperative.
Ensuring physical security digitally
Earlier, to ensure corporate security, bulky and expensive hardware were the only solutions available, which needed manual intervention. That has changed dramatically today with digital transformation making security systems not only compact but also more accurate. Security starts right from the entry gates. Apart from physical scanners and X-ray machines, digital authentication systems play major roles.
While biometric systems are well-established authentication devices for employees, visitor and contractual staff authentication is equally important. Kunal Maheswari, co-founder and CEO, OpenSEA Innovation Labs, says, “A lot happens at the reception desk itself. You might have noticed a large chunk of companies relying on manual registers to store data about visitors or incoming items. There is no validity of these entries and neither are they effective in any follow-up investigations, if necessary.”
As a result, technology has stepped foot at entry desks as well. Instant identity authentication and information entry is gaining fast adoption, especially by large companies. To explain its working, Maheswari cites the example of their ‘All Is Well’ mobile application: “Our application first verifies the visitor through his mobile. The reception desk takes the mobile number and through the application, generates an OTP or registers a missed call. The application then generates a one-time visitor pass.”
Security systems at gates can be enhanced as well. Vivish Technologies has released myGate application. Aimed primarily at gated apartments as well as business areas, the multi-tiered setup can be configured at the entry gate of the campus as well as at the gates of separate buildings. Thus it makes recording entries and exits easier and error-free. In case of any security concern, the security suite can raises alarms. The myGate team claims the technology is based on behavioural-intelligence-augmented authentication.
Keeping a tab on vehicles around the campus is also essential. While in-house vehicles can be tracked with separate tracking solutions, myGate can help manage visitor vehicles and follow their whereabouts around the campus.
As regards contractual staff management, Maheswari says, “As contractual employees usually are outsourced by a third party, they are not provided any proper employee ID or authentication access by the company. This makes accountability and traceability of the staff nearly impossible.” That is something modern-day solutions are solving as well. Applications can be used to store records pertaining to the staff and assign specific identification numbers to each of them. Their whereabouts can be updated and tracked following their enrollment in the application.
Most small- and medium-scale companies do not invest in tracking couriers (whether inbound or outbound) on campus. For received packages, applications like ‘All Is Well’ can scan the item within the package, store package data and forward the package to the intended recipient. These also act as a tracker system for outbound packages.
Maheswari says, “Companies should keep track of the packages they receive or dispatch for better safety protocols. The same can be said for various factories and industries, where material movement takes place at large. Systems like ours can keep a consistent record to help in optimal and secure material management.”
Apart from these, smart security cameras have replaced conventional cameras. Life-safety alarms, fire alarms and central monitors are essential additions for critical purposes. Taking strong cybersecurity steps is also essential.
The most important characteristic of all these solutions is connectivity to the cloud. Data collected through the hardware or the application is pushed to cloud server. It can be fetched whenever needed—be it for any follow-up protocol or for investigations.
Investment, payback and challenges
Security investment is variable depending on the scale and criticality of the business. While investment in hardware may be done as per one’s budget and space available, digital services require nominal investment. Most of these technologies work on pay-as-you-go subscription model.
Maheswari informs, “The cost varies from INR 5000 to INR 15,000 per month for each unit installed. Since minimal hardware is involved in these setups, maintenance cost is also negligible. There are no running costs other than the monthly subscriptions.”
So what is the learning curve? Maheswari answers, “Digital media has made these processes very simple. It takes almost no time for the users to learn. We arrange for hands-on training of the users in enterprises. As such, there is no challenge in using these systems. The only challenge may come if any enterprise undergoes frequent changes in security or reception staff—in which case, training has to be arranged every time the staff is changed.”
The return on investment is not just in terms of finances. “It is an insurance. Imagine the loss in terms of resources, brand image as well as finance if any employee becomes a victim of security issues. Imagine the scope of loss of essential business assets or information if a package or material is misplaced. All this can be prevented with stronger security upgrades,” Maheswari says.
Digital modes are emerging as the best solutions for the safety of employees and assets. With better security suites coming out, it is the only way we walk towards a safer tomorrow.