Workplace Physical Security Controls

Workplace physical security control objective is to protect the physical assets and brand of a company and to ensure a safe and secure workplace for all company employees, contractors and visitors.


Class A Facility:

A designated “Class A” facility is defined as a DATA CENTER that houses data and systems. Data Centers are further divided as primary and back-up facilities

Class B Facility:

A designated “Class B” facility is defined as a facility that houses a critical function for business operations and affiliated business operations, has a high reputational impact, and has employee headcount in excess of x depending on your organization.

Class C Facility:

A designated “Class C” facility is defined as an office building with noncritical business operations and has an x employee headcount (organizational dependent).

Class D Facility:

A designated “Class D” facility is defined as an office building staffed to support business operations and has a small employee headcount.


Barriers are defined as natural or manufactured obstacles to the movement of persons, animals, vehicles, or materials. Barriers define physical limits to and delay or prevent penetration of an area. A company’s philosophy of barriers should be to employ a series of layers of multiple barriers as physical limits.

A company should use barriers to discourage accidental penetration, penetration by force and penetration by stealth.

– Accidental penetration is defined as the inadvertent or innocent access into an office location

– Penetration by force is defined as the use of weapons and/or deadly force or the threat of deadly force to gain access into an office location for the purposes of causing death, destruction, or bodily harm.

– Penetration by stealth is defined as an attempt to go over, under, around, or through barriers to without being detected.

Barriers include natural and structural barriers.

– Natural Barriers are defined as bodies of water, mountains, marshes, deserts, or other terrains difficult to transverse.

– Structural Barriers are defined as man-made and include ditches, berms, fences, bollards, and walls. Structural Barriers physically and psychologically deter or discourage the undetermined, delay the determined, and channel the flow of authorized traffic through entrances.

– Anti-shatter film on windows provides resistance against potentially easy access. The film also adds safety to the window by preventing shards of flying glass when the window is broken.

Applicable: Class A and B


Lighting should provide effective observation of the location during periods of darkness. It should be of sufficient quality and quantity to allow CCTV and/or guard force to effectively monitor the area in time of low light.

Applicable: as necessary


Plants, shrubs, and exterior landscaping must be placed and maintained so that they do not:

  • Hinder the safety of those entering or leaving the building
  • Provide a place of concealment to intruders or destructive devices
  • Obstruct the vision of security personnel

Applicable: as necessary

Exterior Facilities

All exterior facilities are defined as a manhole, cable vaults, generators, air conditioning units, and areaway grates. Fuel tanks must be secured with locks, and where appropriate fencing to prevent unauthorized access. Protective pipe bollards shall be installed around ground mounted equipment such as condensing units, field tanks, and generators exposed to vehicle traffic.

Security Alarms

The need for alarms depends upon the value of the location to be protected and the local environment (crime rate). Alarms may be stand-alone systems or connected to a central control center. If a guard force is in place in this location or on its perimeter, the alarm need can be further evaluated on a case by case basis.

Applicable: Class A, B, and C

Physical Building Structure

The building structural envelope (including exterior walls, roof, and floors) provides varying degrees of physical security.

Access to offices should be limited to the fewest number of entrances required to accommodate the building population. All doors designated as entry doors should be card reader controlled. All other exterior doors, except those used as entrances to, and exits from public offices shall be provided with one-way locks with no exterior lock core or door pulls, alarm contacts and used as exits only. Company Facilities/Building Management teams are typically responsible for placing signs on these doors advising that the doors should be used for exit only.

During periods of heightened threat condition, Security and/or local management may elect to lock doors monitored by Security Guards and require access card access to the building. In this condition, Security Guards may unlock the doors to admit personnel without an access card, but must first verify ID card validity or initiate visitor procedures before allowing persons to proceed into the building.

Applicable: as necessary


Objective:  To have tools in place that will contribute to workplace safety and to have procedures and rehearsed plans that will mitigate the effects of natural or man-made disasters.

Emergency Action Plan

All employees should know and rehearse their Emergency Action Plan. The EAP should include plans for emergency evacuations, emergency medicalOpens in a new tab. response, and sheltering-in-place.

Applicable to Class A, B, C, and D

Facility Emergency Equipment

Facilities should be equipped with an addressable fire alarm panel, an audible fire alarm, smoke and heat sensors, a fire suppression system, and emergency lighting and first aid supplies to include within the office or in close proximity an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and personnel familiar and trained in its use.

Applicable to Class A, B, C and D

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