School safety and security is a national headline when there’s a high-profile active assailant incident. But, more common and less publicized is the break-in and theft of valuable equipment. Today, we could also include physical access to valuable data loss as cybercrimes increase. Theft at schools may be the result of a break-in, or the theft can occur during normal school hours.

Risk of Theft

During school hours, administrative offices may be left open for the sake of convenience, exposing computers and personal information.

The IT department should always be secured, regardless of time. From expensive laptops to computer servers and storage appliance in equipment racks, to sensitive password information, the effect of IT theft is significant. The IT department, server, and data room doors should always be locked. Even common mischief can create significant a problem if just a single wire connecting the building to the internet is removed or damaged. Accessible USB ports can be an avenue to introduce malicious software or remove critical and personal data.

Student lockers fall victim to theft, and unattended valuables in the cafeteria or classroom are always at risk.

After school, the presence of non-students poses an increased risk of theft and vandalism. Secure administrative offices and other areas that are not used after school.

Once after school activities are finished for the day, the perimeter of the building becomes the wall of defense. Ensure alarm activation and train overnight personnel to safely gain access to the building.

What to Do

During school hours, door locking hardware that’s integrated with an access control solution is the best option to protect valuables and data. Issue authorized staff and administrators a credential and PIN number. The most sensitive doors can be secured and easily accessed by authorized personnel with proper credentialing. The access control system can also create personnel activity log files. Investigations are easier and more objective with a consistent personnel log. Integrate the access control system to the video surveillance system to marry video clips with the log files for visual verification.

The video surveillance system should be running at all hours. Video evidence is critical for identification and prosecution of criminal activity. Visible cameras indoors and out are also a deterrent.

For the IT department, the doors of racks that contain expensive and critical equipment can be secured by the intrusion detection system. This is an additional layer of security between the room door and the actual equipment and is most appropriate when multiple people have access to the door but not all are allowed access to the equipment rack.

After school, the most sensitive administrative wings can be completely secured, not just by the access control system on the doors, but also the intrusion detection system. An entire portion of a school can be secured, while another part of the school remains fully accessible for sports, music, theater, and other after-school events. These divided and secured portions are known as zones.

Once after school events have concluded and the overnight staff gets to work, the perimeter of the building can be secured using the intrusion detection system. Unfortunately, many schools don’t utilize the ability to secure the perimeter and leave the interior open for janitorial staff. Not only does this expose the school, but also the janitorial staff to the risk of assault, or worse, if they encounter an intruder.


The goal of a security assessment and site survey is to uncover potential threats at schools, buildings, and campuses of all sizes. Ultimately, these solutions can help integrate a variety of technologies as part of a plan that works in unison to help secure occupants, protect valuable assets, and assist in preventing physical access to sensitive areas.

Contact the Vision team to discuss security options at your school or campus.