When it comes to corporate theft, the call may be coming from inside the house. It’s estimated that 75% of employees have stolen from their employer at least once, while 33% of business bankruptcies can be traced back to employee theft. When left undiscovered and unresolved, workplace theft can gradually erode enterprise capital over time until it snowballs into a significant loss. 

These instances of internal theft can be dangerous as well — consider hospitals and pharmacies that are fully stocked with substances that are hazardous if abused. Or banking institutions that are trusted with sensitive personal data that could ruin customers financially if placed in the wrong hands. Protecting assets from both internal and external theft is absolutely critical, making security and access controls a number one priority for facilities teams. 

Access control technology has experienced its own digital transformation in the last five years. Gone are the days where access control begins and ends with physical door locks and basic security cameras. By harnessing the power of data and systems integrations, today’s access control solutions are meeting facilities teams’ needs to fight back against workplace theft in an evolving threat landscape. Innovations in access control that protect both buildings and people include:

Frictionless managed access control

The market’s most sophisticated access control solutions deliver three key capabilities that have changed the security game — they are hands-free, data-driven and highly flexible. Leveraging advanced biometric identification technology, authorized personnel can easily and quickly gain access to high-security areas through facial, retina or fingerprint recognition, eliminating the need for ID cards that can slow down occupant traffic or be easily lost. The occupant experience is ultimately improved while security is enhanced at every touchpoint.

In addition to their ability to control occupant movement, advanced access control aggregates and produces incredible volumes of data. The data gathered from access control management software can be used to generate highly actionable business intelligence on how people are entering and leaving buildings, all from a single pane of glass. Using this information, security and facilities teams can identify which areas of the building experience the highest volumes of traffic and therefore require the most security. And through real-time credential management, security teams can instantly adjust individual permissions as needed. This capability ensures that, regardless of unexpected employee turnover, no unauthorized individuals are gaining access to restricted areas. 

Integrated video surveillance and analytics

When one thinks of “video surveillance,” it’s likely a lone security manager seated in front of grainy monitor in a back room comes to mind. But video security technology has come a long way in recent years. In addition to its ability to be integrated with systems like access controls, gunshot detection, fire systems and more, the latest video technology comes equipped with advanced analytics. 

Video analytics can provide clear insight into traffic counts, dwell times, open and close schedules and more, allowing security teams to maximize visibility and operational efficiency. For instance, video analytics can automatically alert a hospital’s security team to an employee who regularly lingers near pharmaceutical storage despite working in an entirely different area of the building. Using that information, security personnel can carry out their own investigation to determine if the employee is potentially stealing medication.

Mobile security management

In 2022, unfilled security jobs increased by more than 26% in the United States, leaving many organizations understaffed and overwhelmed. As organizations pare down their facilities and security teams due to these labor shortages, seamless and remote monitoring capabilities have become vital to maintaining overall building safety. The ability to monitor facilities anywhere, anytime and from any web-enabled device maximizes organizations’ limited time and manpower. Automatic alerts ensure all necessary stakeholders are immediately notified in the event of a security incident, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks even if personnel are offsite. 

In addition, employee permissions can be easily adjusted from afar as needed, meaning if an individual is discovered to be committing workplace theft, their access can be immediately revoked regardless of whether security teams are nearby. Users can even leverage these remote tools to proactively monitor technology performance and health to avoid potential malfunctions or downtime that can be taken advantage of by thieves. 

Before any new technology is installed, security and facility teams should perform a preliminary audit to understand their building’s vulnerabilities and risks. This should include evaluating existing security infrastructure to identify outdated technology that may create a visibility blind spot. From there, they can integrate new solutions to fill any gaps and ensure their teams have the capabilities necessary to defend against internal and external threats. 

From smuggling office supplies to undercharging friends at checkout to stealing pharmaceuticals, employee theft has unfortunately become so common that it can go years without detection. By the time the situation has come to light, the damage is done and valuable and sensitive assets have been lost. Investing in data-powered access controls and security solutions gives organizations the business intelligence needed to monitor their facilities and protect their property from internal thieves. 

This article originally ran in Security, a twice-monthly security-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security magazine. Subscribe here.