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Layered Security Best Practices

Security risks of all types are on the rise, including gang violence, terrorism and cybercrime, to name just a few. Risks to your private business are also on the rise, but, relative to these other high-profile security risks, what government agency has the time? Law enforcement is already strained trying to meet multiple threats to life safety, while prosecutorial and incarceration resources are over capacity. All of which means even the criminals that are apprehended and sentenced are rapidly returned to the streets: better trained in their craft, with better connections to fence the goods they’ve stolen, all thanks to their brief stint inside. While you’ve always had to contend with vandals and amateur thieves, the threat level your business faces is getting much worse.

Layered Security Best Practices

Allocating ample resources to law enforcement will likely take time: American corporations still tend to invest in society somewhat retroactively and begrudgingly. Businesses must rely on you, as a security professional, to evaluate and contend with all threats, and make recommendations for effective solutions within the budget you have.

The key, as any security professional knows, is to use multilayered security solutions that work together synergistically to Deter, Detect and Delay any criminal. Because of strained law enforcement resources, the emphasis must be on deterrents.

But what are the options, and what works best?

  • Lighting: Always an important first step that is often overlooked. How inviting to mischief is your site at night, relative to your neighbors?
  • Perimeter: Much like termite control, establish a strong perimeter to keep the bad guys away from your assets. The more you invest at the perimeter, the less you must invest in the interior.
    • Basic fence: Make sure you buy a good, commercial grade product installed by a commercial grade installer. Consider adding barbed and razor wire for additional deterrence if you don’t invest in an electric security fence.
    • Electric fence: If you are in a high crime area or have high-value assets stored outdoors, install a multilayered, solar-powered electric fence.
    • Access control such as motorized gates is a plus, as is any other way to record access to your property in “off hours”.
    • Barriers: If your assets are “drivable” heavy equipment (i.e., trucking, running auctions, tool and equipment rental companies) these are a great idea.
  • Security Guards: Having made the investment in solid perimeter physical deterrent layers, the next deterrent layer is a security guard. They can be one of the most expensive security layer options and are of variable quality. Options are evening guards, weekend guards and 24/7 guards.

Should all your efforts at deterrence layers fail, your last line of defense is detection. Options here are:

  • Building Intrusion Detection: Modern motion detectors are more valued than door and window contacts as are glass breaks. Given their modest cost, doesn’t hurt to have all of them.
  • Video Monitoring. While the best use of video monitoring is alarm verification, it can also play a role in detection.
    • Recording on site helps reduce theft by your own employees, but is of modest value when it comes to external theft.
    • Alerts to you, or preferably a third-party monitoring center, can be helpful in weeding out the false alarms from the criminal alerts.

Since most of us cannot get a budget for all of these options, what are the other things we can do to get the most value out of our security investment?

  • If you have multiple sites, rate the relative security risk and focus your investment on the higher risk yards. See our upcoming blog on how to do this.
  • Develop a policy to store your highest value material indoors, or at least in a more protected area; i.e., in well-lit regions visible from the road. Obstruct access to this area in any way possible.
  • Maximize the size of your battery backups to minimize your risk during a power outage; ideally, use solar power if possible.
  • Use wireless communication with alarm companies to eliminate a common single point of vulnerability.
  • Train, retrain, and maintain your investments. No matter what your original plan was, absent of continuous retraining and maintenance, your security plan will fail.
  • Continually assess your attractiveness and vulnerability with your neighbors’ property to your own. Just as you compete with your neighbors for business and recruitment, you are competing with them for the criminal’s attention. (But in this competition, you want to lose.)

A well-planned synergistic multilayer investment will protect your people, property, productivity, profits, reputation and, quite possibly, your job.

If you have questions about implementing layered security in your environment, click below to speak with one of our security professionals.

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