Biological, chemical, radioactive, and physical hazards are expected in laboratory environments. As a result, the security expectations for these facilities are much higher than those of most other workplaces.
Not only do laboratories need security systems to protect their workers, but they also need solutions that will defend and preserve their data and confidential information.
According to a story series published by The Intercept, hundreds of laboratory accidents in American bio-labs have gone undisclosed to the public. Even reported laboratory incidents are not uncommon, and industry professionals are continuously working to improve lab safety and security procedures.
So, what can be done to keep these labs safe? Let’s look at five of the most critical lab security system features.
1) Access-Control Doors
Door access control systems consist of a wide range of components, including…
- Electronic locks
- Alarm systems
- Credential identification and authorization
- Control panels for managing access control points
Access control systems are crucial for maintaining the safety, security, and confidentiality of the people, equipment, and information within laboratories. High-security biometric access control systems offer a reliable way to restrict laboratory access and are more difficult to forge or duplicate than traditional locks.
In addition to sending alerts for unauthorized entry attempts, door access control systems can be integrated with security camera systems to unlock real-time monitoring of several entrances. Laboratory access should always be closely regulated, and access-control door systems make that possible.
2) Fast-Action Fire Alarms
In a lab setting, even a 30-second delay in a fire alarm’s reaction could result in exponential damage – or even fatalities. That’s why we recommend that every lab install top-tier, fast-acting fire alarm systems.
An industry-level fire alarm alerts workers of smoke, carbon monoxide, or flames in real-time, allowing for a prompt evacuation and response to minimize damage.
According to research published in 2021, the average smoke alarm reduces reporting time by around 19 minutes. The more sensitive the fire alarm, the quicker a laboratory can mitigate risks and get people to safety – potentially before smoke or flames are even visible.
Even though laboratory areas may be smaller than office spaces, laboratories shouldn’t resort to using widely available residential fire alarms. Residential fire alarms aren’t inherently agile, especially in comparison to purpose-built, fast-action fire alarms. They also tend to include fewer smoke detectors and are simpler in design and functionality.
Features of fast-action fire alarms include…
- Smoke detectors
- Heat detectors
- Manual pull stations
- Audible & visual alarms
They often also have a more advanced control panel that allows for remote monitoring and control, as well as the ability to interface with other building systems (such as HVAC and sprinkler systems).
3) Video-Surveillance System
From deterring criminal activity to providing valuable evidence in the event of an incident, the importance of video-surveillance systems cannot be overemphasized in laboratories.
High-level video surveillance systems offer advanced features such as target search, heat maps, and intrusion detection. They also come with cloud storage, offsite backup, remote storage, and access to surveillance footage, all of which can be invaluable to security teams.
When a fire alarm is triggered, security personnel can use the footage from the video surveillance system to verify the cause of the alarm and determine whether it is a false alarm or a real emergency. This helps minimize the number of false dispatches and unnecessary interruptions while improving overall security.
Alternatively, there are cutting-edge AI-powered commercial-level video surveillance systems in the market that can automatically make real-time inferences from surveillance footage and reduce false alarms.
4) Customized Computer Network Integration
Laboratory experiments focus heavily on discovery and innovation, largely through inferences from compiled and generated data. Therefore, lab operations should be supported by a customized network system that facilitates truly secure and efficient data exchanges.
This includes integrating a customized computer network. When installed by lab security system professionals, a custom computer network design should encompass…
- Basic network protocol configuration and network switch and router installation
- A VLAN Configuration that enables laboratory settings to separate sensitive and confidential data from general network traffic
- IP addressing for more secure communications
- Wireless access points for laboratory equipment
- Network cybersecurity features such as firewalls and data encryption
- Data storage, backup, and disaster recovery systems
Nowadays, the most pressing lab security threats are often ones that come from the digital realm. Don’t underestimate the importance of installing a computer network that is fully customized and protected against specific threats.
Additionally, more cybersecurity laws and regulations are passed every year. Labs need to know that their computer networks meet the latest standards. Otherwise, they risk facing high fees for failing to comply.
5) Professional Structured Cabling
Structured laboratory cabling lays the foundations for a secure environment – and it involves more than you might think. We’re talking about the backbone of all the hardware and software connections within a facility.
Professional structured cabling ensures reliable and fast communication between various systems and devices within the facility, such as…
- Physical security systems
- Networking equipment
- Scientific instruments.
Examples of structured cabling include computer wiring, patch panels, ethernet cabling, and fiber optic cabling. All of these elements require technical knowledge to install, as well as a thorough understanding of cable design, implementation, and testing. That’s why we recommend hiring security professionals to oversee structured cabling projects.
Let Us Take Your Laboratory Facility to the Next Level
Implementing comprehensive security and surveillance systems is of utmost importance to laboratory facilities. from door access control systems to professional fire alarm systems and structured cabling.
At 2 Krew, we understand the importance of ensuring that your laboratory is fully protected from both external and internal risks. That’s why we take a comprehensive approach to designing and installing security systems for laboratory access and safety.
If your laboratory is located within the Tri-State area, don’t hesitate to inquire about installing an access control system in Pittsburgh. We have nearly two decades of experience under our belts, and we’re happy to guide you toward the right solutions for your lab setup.
To get started, call 724-543-0274 or contact us online. There’s never a better time than now to prioritize the safety of your lab’s workers, data, and materials.