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Spending Millions of Dollars on Physical Site Security Can Be Worthless!What? Was I drunk when I titled this article? Ok, maybe its a bit "over-the-top" however there is a very high level of truth to it!
We go in to businesses on a daily basis. Many of these businesses have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and in some cases even millions of dollars on physical site security. This can include the security elements that were actually designed into the building, human security (guards), physical things like fences, walls, etc and electronic monitoring, alarms, security cameras etc. Conversely, I have seen sites where there is little more than locks on the doors to provide the physical security of the organization.
Now the reality:
I have been into businesses with the absolute lowest levels of physical site security (locks on doors) that I would consider to be safer than some of the businesses that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on security.
Why is this?
Because the human element of site security is far more important than the physical elements! Again, I have been inside of businesses that have the most impressive security features available today and see breaches of these features every time I am inside of them. Now, I should qualify this by emphasizing that these are types of businesses that donít have any products or services that require extremely high levels of protection. They are more businesses that simply want to keep their facilities and employees safe. Typically, because businesses with such high levels of investment in security features tend to be larger and have a larger employee base inside of them, it becomes more difficult to manage security. In the cases where I see security breaches of physical features they are almost exclusively a result of human error rather than the malfunctioning equipment. When I dig down deeper into the actual breach it becomes more of an issue of a lack of understanding of what is expected of employees and how they are supposed to deal with such breaches. They can also be a result of a "commonly accepted practices" like "piggy-backing" that are never appropriately addressed, or having no policies and procedures in place for allowing and/or addressing visitors inside of the school/business.
Conversely, the businesses that I have been into that have nothing more than "door locks" can be more secure than those who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why, because their policies and procedures are so well defined, their employees are all so well trained in highly acute levels of awareness, and there is a clearly defined consequence for anyone who allows a violation of their policies and procedures that no one could possibly be inside without someone addressing them and dealing with it.
You see, physical security features should really only be the "enhancement" element of the overall security equation. The human element should be, and is, the anchor! Your employees, clients, students, patients, etc MUST know exactly what your policies and procedures are for not only allowing non-employees into your facilities but who has been accounted for and who has not by quick and simple identification procedure (badges); they must know how they are expected to respond should they discover a breach; they must be trained in acute levels of awareness; they must be trained in how to respond to a sudden incident of violence; on the list goes on-and-on. The good thing is that, unlike many of the physical security features that cost millions of dollars, the cost of enhancing the human element is minimal and the value is extremely high! The right policies and procedures combined with training can make your company or school highly impenetrable by someone intent on doing your employees, students, patients, etc harm.
The bottom line:
Review your policies and procedures, fine tune them, make sure that they are known and understood by employees and non-employees that might enter your facility, and train your employees on the policies and procedures and how to prepare for and react to an incident of violence.
One final thought:
Your Receptionist or "Gatekeeper" is both the most vulnerable and the valuable person in your facility! He/she may have the power to have an impact on how an angry or agitated person proceeds upon entry. They may be the one whoís skill level and decisions can mean the difference between life and death of others inside your facility. You MUST make certain that they are the right people (highly personable and skilled in de-escalation) and that they are highly trained in how to respond to someone intent on breaching the security your facility.
Blue-U Defense Can Help!
If you are interested in a thorough review of your site security, policies and procedures, and training your most critical assets (people) to responded appropriately and effectively to a breach of your security, please contact us and we will get you going on the right track!
Published Oct 17, 2015
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