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Enlist in-house recruits to help you guard the door

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in Human Resources

Issue: Employees can provide your best defense against security breaches.

Benefits: Low-cost security, plus employee involvement.

Action: Poll employees, especially smokers, to determine where your organization is vulnerable.

Your organization's employees are its strongest, but most frequently neglected, resource in the battle against theft and destruction of its valuable assets.

"A security-aware staff is critical to the success of your security operation," said security consultant Larry Cunningham at the National Summit on Security in Washington, D.C., in October. "Don't throw money at hardware and technology. Check with your rank and file about the real threats" your organization faces.

Employees often come up with the best and most realistic ideas about how to prevent damage and loss. They are your "critical eyes and ears," said Cunningham, an associate at Vance International in Oakton, Va. "They'll know the nuances like which doors stick and which lights aren't effective."

Here are Cunningham's suggestions for enlisting employees' help:


  • Include employees on your security committee. Don't let your security program become a project that is just "the security department's business," says Cunningham. Instead, include representatives from all aspects of the operation. And meet at least quarterly to show that you take the security of the organization's people and assets seriously.


  • Empower employees to confront strangers on the premises. "No one should feel silly asking someone for his or her ID," says Cunningham.


  • Ask the smokers on staff for their ideas about how to make the organization's smoking areas safer. Example: Doors that are propped open, rendering the keycard lock useless. Smokers' doors present a security vulnerability at about 80 percent of the organizations that Cunningham inspects.


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