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Warehouse security threats – how to secure your warehouse

Warehouse security threats – how to secure your warehouse
Warehouse security threats – how to secure your warehouse

Warehouses are exposed to myriad safety risks and security threats, where prospective criminals will be well aware that the building is used to store inventory, materials, equipment and tools – and when the premises is empty overnight or at the weekend.

As a business or warehouse owner, you’ll know that warehouse theft can really disrupt operations and cause significant financial losses and unwanted stress.

Fortunately, there are protections available to significantly reduce the likelihood of being targeted by thieves, squatters and other criminal activity; from digital solutions to conventional guarding and patrols.

The Clearway team runs through some of our advice to ensure your warehouse is protected and under continual surveillance and security monitoring to save the stress, disruption and cost of recovering from a break-in.

warehouse security

Firstly, what are the main security threats to warehouses?

Warehouse security threats can vary depending on the specific circumstances and industry, but here are some common main warehouse security threats:

  1. Unauthorised Access: Unauthorised individuals gaining entry to your warehouse can pose a significant security threat. This can include intruders, trespassers, or even dishonest employees.
  2. Theft and Burglary: Warehouses often store valuable inventory and assets, making them attractive targets for theft and burglary. This can involve internal theft by employees or external theft by organised and opportunistic criminals.
  3. Vandalism and Sabotage: Malicious acts such as vandalism, sabotage, or arson can cause significant damage to the warehouse facility, equipment, or stored goods. These acts may be motivated by personal grievances, sabotage attempts, or even acts of terrorism.
  4. Cybersecurity Threats: With the increasing reliance on technology and automation in warehouses, cybersecurity threats have become a significant concern. Hackers may attempt to gain unauthorised access to warehouse systems, disrupt operations, or steal sensitive data.
  5. Employee-related Issues: Employees can inadvertently or intentionally contribute to security threats. This can involve negligence in following security protocols, sharing access credentials, or engaging in fraudulent activities that compromise security.
  6. Supply Chain Disruptions: Disruptions in the supply chain, such as the loss of critical suppliers, transportation delays, or natural disasters, can impact warehouse security by creating vulnerabilities and delays in the movement and storage of goods.
  7. Fire and Safety Hazards: Warehouses often store flammable materials and may contain hazardous equipment or processes. Fire outbreaks, accidents, or safety hazards can pose a significant threat to the security of the facility and the wellbeing of employees.

So how can warehouse owners or managers prevent these threats?

  1. Perimeter and Access Controls

Unsecured warehouse boundaries are often the easiest way for opportunistic thieves to gain access. Depending on the layout and configuration of your warehouse site, that may mean you need to restrict access to potentially large areas of land.

There are multiple options, depending on your risk assessment outcomes, which could include:

  • Installing concrete barrier blocks across unused rear access routes to prevent vehicle access.
  • Using Heras anti-climb security fencing.
  • Fitting automatic bollards or security gates with integrated number plate recognition (ANPR).
  • Replacing outdated locks or electronic entry systems.

Floodlights and automatic lighting sensors can add to the value of perimeter controls, which means movement cannot go undetected. Warehouses with greater risks may also implement security patrols to cover their perimeters, often coupled with K9 guarding for larger sites.

Clearway electric fence
  1. CCTV Surveillance and Alarm Systems

The overwhelming majority of break-ins happen overnight or during closure periods when it is obvious the warehouse isn’t actively in operation. CCTV ensures you, or a remote monitoring centre, has eyes on the property at all times, with alarms and movement sensors to ensure you have a secure blanket of protection.

Our advice is to ensure any alarms and CCTV cameras are monitored by the Clearway NSI Gold Accredited Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). This monitoring service means that whenever an alarm or a CCTV sensor picks up movement or unauthorised entry, trained responders will deploy the appropriate response without delay.

Warehouses in remote areas can also use CCTV cameras with alternatives like CCTV towers and wireless cameras – a great way to cover car parks, loading bays and warehouse roller doors, with a wide-pan coverage. These cameras run either through independent battery systems or solar power/batteries for always-on coverage, invulnerable to having cables cut or tampered with.

Transmitting footage and alarm signals through mobile networks means your alarms and CCTV surveillance are also tamper-proof and will raise an alert immediately when a potential break-in or other illegal activity is taking place.

Clearway's CCTV Maintenance
  1. Advanced Detectors and Warnings

Modern commercial alarms and surveillance systems go far beyond simply making an audible noise or recording a snapshot of video. Instead, they can incorporate innovative features and functions that add value to your security assets.

Among the many options, we might suggest:

  • Motion-activated floodlights and audible alarm warnings.
  • Real-time audio broadcasts provided by an ARC responder.
  • Infrared and night vision capabilities.
  • Facial recognition and automatic number plate detection (ANPR).
  • Body temperature detection and motion tracking.

Environmental sensors can improve the effectiveness of your security and can trace movements. For example, if a vehicle has been parked in the same spot for an unusual length of time or a person has returned to the same location continuously, a CCTV camera could flag a potential concern, store their details, and follow their movements to provide better insights for security teams to decide how to react.

Warehouse owners may also need to consider internal controls such as upgraded fire and smoke detectors, gas leak and flooding sensors, and other sensors that pick up temperature changes that could impact the quality or usability of the items stored in your facility.

  1. On-Site Security Personnel

Although technological security can provide a high level of protection, some warehouses require on-site or mobile patrols, where there are numerous possible threats or where the position or nature of the warehouse means they need a comprehensive security strategy.

Trained, certified guards offer varied services, from mobile patrols to roaming perimeter checks, manning a station, entry point or visitor identification desk, to working in a dedicated security suite on hand to respond to any alarms or issues.

Many warehouse managers also delegate keyholding and opening/lock-up responsibilities to a guard, protecting their personnel from the potential for attacks when entering the building at the start of the working day or locking up before closure.

What does a security guard do
  1. Digital Security Safeguards

Warehouses can be exposed to risks, both internal and external, physical and digital. In many scenarios, it isn’t enough to ensure the exterior of the building is fully protected from unwanted activity.

Managers and owners should also consider their digital assets and data, where scams, phishing and fraud are on the rise. Introducing requirements such as changing passwords every two weeks, having electronic ID cards at key entry points, or issuing variable security codes to authorised employees can augment the efficiency of other security controls.

Issuing staff with panic alarms and lone worker alarms is also worthwhile where they may be working alone, alongside setting up standard protocols such as two-factor authentication on all high-value systems and networks.

  1. Staff Training and Monitoring

Of the many ways to improve warehouse security, perhaps the most important is staff training. Clearway consultations begin with a thorough site risk assessment, which is a great way to identify possible risks, access routes, entry points and vulnerabilities that may not seem immediately apparent to a person familiar with the warehouse.

Training staff in how to activate alarms, call for help or spot irregular activities can minimise many criminal intrusions, such as understanding what to do if an unknown vehicle is stationary in the car park or how to lock doors and windows correctly so they are completely secured.

  1. Smart Warehouse Management

Finally, state-of-the-art warehouses implement smart building tech, which provides an enhanced level of security protection using integrated monitoring solutions and remote tracking to ensure even older industrial buildings are under complete management.

4D monitoring is a cutting-edge preventative safeguard that monitors every aspect of warehouse activity, from utility usage to air quality issues, leaks and unauthorised entry to temperature controls for heating systems.

Looking for a warehouse security specialist?

For more information about any of the security protections discussed here or to arrange an obligation-free risk assessment of your warehouse, please get in touch today on 0800 085 8695 or email enquiries@clearway.co.uk.

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