How to Fix the Two Most Common Workplace Security Mistakes

Posted by Jeremy Hillpot on Sep 25, 2019 12:00:00 PM


You don’t have to be a real-life Sherlock Holmes to hunt down and identify your workplace security vulnerabilities. You just need to learn about common security mistakes, and devote the time and resources required to correct them.

But in the spirit of Sherlock, let’s put on our deerstalker hats! As you read about the workplace security mistakes below, try to think like Sherlock Holmes to make sure your office isn’t at risk.


1. You Haven’t Established a Formal Policy for Safety in the Workplace (or You’re not Enforcing the Policy You Have)

Failing to establish and enforce a workplace security policy is one of the worst—and most common—mistakes you can make related to safety in the workplace. If you:

  1. don’t create clear rules and policies;

  2. fail to train employees on access control and security policies; or you

  3. don’t enforce the policies and rules you have,

your access control system isn’t going to work. If any of the above sounds familiar, you’ll want to get your office security police sorted out as soon as possible. Here are some essential points your policy should cover if you haven’t written one yet:

  • The days and hours employees can access the facility

  • Procedures on how employees can access the workplace during off-hours

  • Limitations on bringing visitors to the office

  • Limitations on letting unknown persons into the office

  • Guidelines regarding how to manage and monitor visitor movements

  • Prohibitions against leaving company assets, sensitive information or equipment and technology in open break rooms and meeting rooms

  • Workplace opening and lockdown procedures

  • A clear prohibition against sharing keycards. Employees should see a manager if they forget or lose their keycards, or if they need a temporary replacement.

  • Policies for employees to lock their offices, secure filing cabinets, log out of computers, etc.

  • An explanation of what will happen—in terms of workplace disciplinary measures—when employees fail to follow the policy

Now it’s your turn, Sherlock! Every workplace has unique security vulnerabilities. Can you think of some additional topics to include in yours?

If you’re drawing a blank, here’s an excellent example of a formal workplace security policy from the city of Hart in England. Write something along these lines for your employees. Make sure new-hires read it, and remind your veteran employees of the policy frequently. Just as importantly, enforce the rules through workplace disciplinary measures whenever a violation occurs.


2. Keycards Are Being Shared or Lost

If your office uses a keycard system (most do), keycard sharing is a fact of life. Employees will inevitably lose, forget, share and steal keycards related to your office. Pretty soon, extra keycards will be floating around as employees find those they lost. Eventually, the wrong people will have cards with access capabilities they shouldn’t have. Criminals could also steal an employee’s extra or lost keycard to break into your facility—and no one would ever know.

This problem highlights why your access control system requires continual maintenance and monitoring—and why you need to keep a close eye on who has what keycards. Here are some tips to prevent keycard-related security problems:  

  • Establish a “no keycard-sharing policy” with stiff consequences for employees who break the policy. Strictly and consistently enforce these rules and punishments.

  • Regularly test employee keycards to ensure their keys match their names. Do this once a quarter or at least twice per year.

  • Check the system monthly to deactivate lost, unassigned or dormant cards. You may be surprised by how many guest keycards you forgot to deactivate after a visitor comes for a day.

  • Run audits on your access control system to see which employees are coming and going and when.

Smartphone-Based Access Control Is a Solution

To eliminate the risk of keycard sharing and keycard theft completely, consider upgrading to Openpath’s smartphone-based, access control solution. Our mobile access control system uses your employees’ mobile phones instead of keycards to grant access.

The convenience and elevated security associated with smartphone-based systems is remarkable. Unlike keycard solutions, it’s difficult to copy one smartphone’s access to another phone. Businesses can avoid common keycard hacking vulnerabilities such as the instance in which a Google employee proved how easy it was to hack the company’s keycard system. Also, employees are less likely to share and lose their smartphones.

With Openpath, you’ll also benefit from the ability to incorporate smartphone fingerprint scanners—and facial recognition tech—into your access control solution.


3. Contact Openpath to Boost Security at Your Workplace

Could your workplace benefit from some office security improvements? At Openpath, we’ll play the role of Sherlock Holmes to help you sniff out all your workplace security vulnerabilities. Then, we’ll show you how to add improvements to your existing system to ensure that your workplace has one of the safest security solutions on the market.



Fascinated by emerging technologies and the laws and market trends that follow them, Jeremy Hillpot’s background in consumer fraud litigation and marketing provides a unique perspective on a vast array of topics including smart technology, building security, investments, startups, cryptocurrencies and the law. Contact Jeremy at or

Topics: Access Control, Security, SmartOffice

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