Article by Richard Gutterman, President, Tri-Tronics; published May 19, 2014 issue, “Inside Business”
Whether you want to attribute security issues to increased crime because of the economy, increased data breaches due to failures in use of technology, or any number of other societal conditions, the reality is business and building owners should continue to pay attention to the physical security of facilities. We have found that businesses that have achieved a high level of security are better able to prevent security nightmares, protect the company’s reputation, and maintain customer and employee trust.
You may have been fortunate to date. No break-ins, no violence in your parking lot, no breach of information. Unfortunately, it only takes one issue to have a major rippling effect on your business or the business of your tenants. Security systems incorporate changes in technologies developed in light of today’s needs for security. What worked ten years ago is just not working for facilities today, yet often we find building owners either have not done a recent assessment of their security technology and processes or they compromise what they get to put off the cost of upgrading to what they really need.
One area of technology which has been around for a long time has changed drastically. High quality cameras are creating footage that is sharper than ever with wide-angle, panoramic views of retail spaces, parking lots and warehouses, bringing surveillance to a new level. Getting technology above HD is now practically a standard, but this technology requires understanding for how to use it most effectively to maximize the company’s investment.
Understanding technology and what you need for your security systems is the best place to start once you appreciate that prevention is critical in today’s work environments. What differentiates one building from another in relationship to security is often who the tenants are, the nature of their business and employee populations. Evaluate for your own building by asking what kinds of risks are evident? What is the volume of visitors? These and many more questions should be considered on a regular basis. For example, if you are a small car repair shop with ten computers, a couple of bays and a car lot full of cars in the cue, do you invest in IP technology or analog? Has the nature of your business and the need for security changed?
Most security projects are reactive. We receive many calls from businesses seeking security systems resulting from an isolated incident, where lack of a system was based on a “won’t happen to me” syndrome or assumptions about what the insurance policy would cover. Before making decisions to implement an access control or intrusion system, I recommend a thorough walk through and analysis to plan and implement improvements.
Here are a few points we review with our customers:
1. What are you looking to accomplish? Are you a security manager looking to protect your facility from intruders? Do you need to achieve goals for regulatory compliance which may require more technology than you currently have? Did your organization recently have an incident that an access control system may have prevented?
2. How much attention is needed for outside of the building such as parking lots and fenced in areas? The question is what’s the risk profile of each area of your property? How have the surrounding areas adjacent to your property changed? What level of protection is appropriate for your hours of operation and off hours?
3. For multitenant buildings, are there offices or stores in shared space? What is the risk profile of each business to neighboring businesses? What facility employees have access to your space? How are keys and access cards secured and managed? Are common areas secure for your employees and customers?
4. Are you letting the aesthetic aspects of your building override what you need from a security standpoint? When a business owner is set on having hidden cameras, we remind them to consider that when people know they are on camera,they are much less likely to do something wrong.
5. Are you only concentrating on the front entrance or other areas where most of your business traffic enters? It is important to take into account doors for emergency exits which are often neglected in security plans. Alarms should be considered at all doors that have been designated for emergency exits.
Lastly, it is important to consider the management culture of your business in dealing with security rules. If badges are required of employees, they should also be required of management. Employees should all be encouraged to demand ID from individuals entering a secure building. You may want to develop a security awareness program so that everyone participates in making your building safe.