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7 Sins of Building Security


In recent months, security breaches have been happening every across the US and Canada, many with deadly consequences. As the encounters with the news can tell us, even those facilities with the highest forms of security can still be breached and penetrated with a kind of smoothness that can make a stick of butter jealous. However, with the right awareness training and readiness, breaches can be prevented or minimized to protect our property, people and information.

In 2009, Tim Giles, Security Consultant and Author of ‘How to Develop and Implement a Security Master Plan” and Joan Goodchild, Senior Editor of CSO Online sat down to discuss an organization’s “7 Deadly Sins of Building Security” when creating a security plan. Here are some of the tips to think about:

  1. Don’t go into contract with a security service company before performing an advanced analysis of your facility. Perform a walk-through of the facility and learn your vulnerable spots that you can convey to the security company. Usually a facilities manager would handle this task, but if you don’t have one available and you are not ready to hire a security expert, here’s a tip, consult your janitor or maintenance crew. Sounds funny, right? But if you stop and think for a moment, who else has practically unlimited access and knows the building layout better than anyone else? Depending on your staff, they can hold a wealth of knowledge and information which can be vital to ensure proper security measures.
  1. Don’t put more emphasize on beauty than safety when designing a building.
    • Although it may look pretty, but it is never a good idea to hide all the cameras from view. Having cameras in plain view helps deter potential criminals from targeting a facility if they know they are being watched.
    • Don’t give criminals a “natural cover.” Reduce or remove any type of shrubs or bushes near buildings or sidewalks where someone can easily hide without detection.
    • However, if you still want some greenery around the building, speak to a professional landscaper about thorny ornamental shrubs such as the Scarlet Firethorn or Crown of Thorns. Depending on the hardiness of your area, they provide a natural security defense because they generally will have long thorns and dense foliage that can prevent penetration from both people and animals.
  1. Failure to secure designated entrances. As Tim Giles stated, “Every door is another opportunity for someone to get in.” As it is stated in point #1, you need to do a thorough walk-through in order to get sense of where a breach can occur. Designate a few areas to be an entrance and put alarms on doors that you would want to restrict access to. In case of an emergency, ensure all doors that lead to the outside is accessible from the inside. At any entry point, incorporate a security program where Ids and badges are regularly checked and randomly around the building to warrant individuals are supposed to be there.
  1. “A chain is only as good as its weakest link,” as the old proverb goes. When it comes to implementing a companywide program, it is generally all or nothing.   For instance, if you have integrated a badge program and have some employees who refuse to follow the rules, then how effective could the security be? It should become a mandatory protocol that everyone in the building wears one for security. If any employee chooses to refuse to abide by the program, then it will up to the discretion of the company how to handle that situation.
  1. Take the time to know the technology that will be securing your facility. With technology constantly changing, it pays for managers and some higher ups to get to know the who, what, when, where, why, and how their system operates just in case something were to arise. Plus, would you want someone else to know your security system better than you do? Don’t put the safety of your company in someone else’s hands.
  1. Safeguard the company most valuable assets. We take for granted when we see people working in areas off limits to regular employees assuming they are supposed to be there. But how do you know, really? Hopefully, someone within the company, such as a facilities manager or supervisor, is keenly aware of people doing work in secure areas. But if no one was aware, then you may be experiencing a security breach that is compromising your company. Communication within a company is key to safeguard their employees and building. Sending an email blast throughout the company is a quick and easy way to let everyone know of what is happening. Also, institute a protocol for badges to be check anytime someone comes in or out of the building.
  1. Keep your security system down to fit your company’s risk and needs. Although a company would like to get the most bang for a buck, but is it feasible to overdo on security? Sadly, thieves are smart no matter if they are from within or outside, they would be able to figure out a security routine fairly easily.   On that note, I will leave you with this last tip (pseudo #8), if you have security that walks around the facility regularly, have them mix up their routine. Advise them to walk around in different areas at different times of the day in case they are being under surveillance. This way, would-be thieves cannot pinpoint the best entryway to breach their facility.

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