Security is a priority for most businesses. Unfortunately, many businesses have been placing a bigger focus on online security and forgetting that physical security is just as, and often more, important to protecting your business assets and reputation.
If your business has its home in a serviced block, your security is likely to be largely taken care of by the building’s owners. But if you have a street-level presence of your own, whether it’s retail, industrial or office, physical security is something you’ll need to spend time thinking about and budgeting for.
For most such businesses, gates and barriers are a vital security measure. Gates are a clear physical deterrent, marking out where your property begins and ends, and leaving possible intruders in no doubt that they should not be moving beyond them. Installing a good set of gates or barriers is one of the easiest and most effective methods you can use to increase your security.
Here are 6 reasons why:
Barriers allow you to control entry and exit
This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget that gates are there to stop people moving from the street onto your property. CCTV and other security measures do, of course, help, but gates are a vital part of any business’ security arsenal.
Combined with a fence, gates allow you to mark off the boundary of your land. This means you can stop people coming in when you don’t want them to, and control access when you do. If you have people visiting your business regularly during the day, you might decide to leave the gates open much of the time, locking them up at night. Alternatively, you might keep them closed all the time, allowing access only to staff and pre-arranged guests. You can use a security code and intercom entry system, or perhaps employ a security guard. Much depends on the nature of your business, your size and budget.
For some businesses, security is paramount and must be prioritised over anything else. For others, being open and welcoming to customers is vital. If your business is of the second type, you will likely want to choose relatively low-profile gates that can be easily left open, but that will still give you the security you need, when you need it.
Depending on your site, you might need to control vehicle access, but still allow free pedestrian access. Simple arm barriers will work well if this is the case, and they can be either manually or automatically operated. These aren’t great at protecting your premises from intruders, though, so it’s worth thinking about what else you’ll need to do to keep your business safe and secure. For some, a barrier to control traffic during the day combined with a security gate to be used at night will be ideal.
It’s also worth remembering that even the most secure of gates are usually scalable by the most determined of intruders. They’ll do much to keep you safe, but make sure you spend some time thinking about what other security measures you’ll need to put in place to complement them.
Barriers deter casual or accidental trespassers
Having gates or barriers in place is not simply about making it difficult for thieves to enter your premises. They’re also there to stop people from accidentally or casually trespassing. Again, whether this is a problem for you depends on your site. If you’re somewhere away from main roads, where there is little foot traffic after dark, you might find that you’re vulnerable to teenagers or others trespassing simply for fun rather than any desire to break in. They might not pose a significant security risk, but they do pose some risk of vandalism and mess that you’ll want to avoid if at all possible.
Again, depending on your site, you might find that people accidentally wander onto your premises if your boundary is not clearly marked. If you’re near footpaths, for example, some people might confuse paths onto your property for public paths. Again, there’s very little security risk involved, but there is a risk of annoyance and confusion.
Gates and barriers present a psychological barrier to entry to your premises, as well as a physical one. If you have a barrier, it’s clear to anyone passing where your property begins and ends. You don’t need full security gates to achieve this. If your business is one where easy access is important throughout the day, and security less of a concern, an arm or hoop barrier is enough to deter the casual trespasser.
Barriers protect your image
Having gates or barriers in place is not simply about making sure that people can’t get in. It’s about looking the part, too. If you have an unfenced, unsecured boundary on your land, it may be that some people assume you’re not a serious business. Depending on where you are and how you operate, you may not look like a business at all. That’s not great for your reputation.
If the nature of your business means that your customers need to have high levels of confidence in your levels of security, it’s vital you have strong, visible security gates in place. The gates you choose need to make it very clear to your customers that you take security seriously.
For any business, gates are often vital to portraying a professional image. They demonstrate that you’re a business that values its premises and wants to restrict access to genuine customers and staff. They give your customers confidence that you’ll conduct yourself appropriately in other areas of your business, too.
Having gates in place that control vehicle access also give your customers (and your staff) confidence that their vehicle will be safe while it’s on your premises. This is really important if you tend to have lots of visitors arriving by car.
Barriers help protect your investment
When you started your business, installing gates might not have been particularly high up your priority list. You might have started off as a kitchen table business, or working from a small rented office. As you’ve grown, so have your assets, both capital and financial. Protecting those assets with appropriate security measures, including gates or barriers, is important.
Most obviously, you want to protect your actual premises from damage and vandalism. You also want to protect the things inside, such as your equipment, IT, stock, and any paper files you have that include private data. Having gates or barriers in place naturally helps you protect all these things, as they help prevent burglaries. Protecting these assets is a vital part of protecting the business that you have built and that you continue to grow.
One thing that many businesses forget when thinking about security is the need to protect their staff. Businesses thrive when they have content, happy staff who are able to carry out their work feeling safe and secure. Without good security in place, there is always the possibility of intruders and of staff having to deal with them directly, or with the consequences of vandalism or or burglary. Maintaining staff morale is all about demonstrating that you care about staff welfare. Happy staff work more effectively and are easier to retain.
Having gates in place also helps protect your other security equipment. If you have security cameras in place, these can be vulnerable to vandalism or theft. This can happen partly because they’re valuable items in themselves and partly because potential thieves want to damage them to make it easier to break into your building. With the right security gates in place, your cameras will be much more difficult to get to, giving you a double layer of security protection.
Barriers are easy to use
Of all the security measures you can put in place, gates and fences are the easiest to install and use. Relying on security cameras and other electronic security measures can be time-consuming as well as expensive. Gates are a simple and relatively affordable way to make sure that your premises are protected.
With gates in place, all that needs to be done for many businesses to protect their premises is for someone to lock them at the end of the day and open them in the morning. It’s pretty much impossible for this to be forgotten or not done, as it’s a vital part of being able to get into the building. You’ll need procedures in place to ensure that a keyholder can always be present to
open and close the gates when needed, including to cover sickness, but that’s about all you’ll need. A few businesses will find they need a dedicated security guard, but even that isn’t generally difficult to manage.
In contrast, electronic security measures such as alarms and cameras can be complicated. Cameras need monitoring and maintenance, while alarms can be set off accidentally. Any kind of electronic security measure is prone to error in a way that a physical barrier will not be.
Barriers can save you money
Putting gates or barriers in place need not be an expensive thing to do. Gates can easily help you save money, compared to other security measures. For example, if you have electronic gates that are operated by keypad and intercom, you generally won’t need to employ a security guard or security patrols. That can represent a huge saving.
Even if you don’t need full security gates, without any kind of barrier in place, you’ll probably find that your staff are taken away from their everyday work to deal with people coming onto the premises. This isn’t always appropriate and will cost you money as it costs your staff time. This can quickly add up, and isn’t necessary given that simple swing barriers can be put in place for under £1000 each.
If you’re working out the cost of installing security gates or barriers at your premises and you’re trying to figure out their value, it’s important to include everything in your calculations. Consider the cost of lost staff time, possible thefts, vandalism and reputational damage. Given all these financial risks, it makes perfect sense to spend a little money now on installing the gates or barriers you need to protect your business from loss.
How to choose the right barrier or gate
Now that you understand more the reasons to make sure that you have gates or barriers in place, how can you go about choosing the right ones? These are a few of the things you should think about:
Appearance: Do you want or need imposing gates that make an impact? Or would you prefer gates that are low profile and encourage openness?
Security level: You’ll need to balance your desired appearance against the kind of security you need. The most secure gates may cost more, but they’re a worthwhile investment if they’re what you need to protect your business from harm.
Access: Do you need to allow regular access to pedestrians, vehicles or both? Think about how you’ll manage this. If you have a lot of traffic coming in, look for gates that will open quickly and easily.
Cost: It would be nice if budget wasn’t an issue, but for most businesses, it will be. Figure out what you have available and then balance that potential budget against the potential losses you’ll face if the gates you have aren’t secure enough for your needs.
Staffing needs: Will your new gates require staffing, either in terms of someone dedicated, or simply someone to open and close them at the beginning and end of the day? If so, can you provide for this within your current budget?
Space: Do you have the space you need to install the gates you want? And will they look right with your building and fencing?
Need some help to choose the right gates or barriers for your business? We’re happy to help. Get in touch.