Designing security systems and integrating them into a supplemental and compatible protective and safeguard program is a complicated task. One must look at multiple aspects of the company, building(s), staff and relationships with the general public, contractors and vendors, to fully understand the day-to-day transactions that occur and the risks behind them. Every interaction, whether between competing companies, offices, and/or employees, the general public or invited guests – all present possible security challenges, and business disruptions scenarios. While the electronic portion of the security program is a small part in the overall scheme of things, it can be – and often is – an integral part in detecting, determining and mitigating present and evolving risks.
There are three (3) important security system areas that I feel are most often neglected in many security programs.
- Visitor Management –One of the most important aspects of a solid security system is visitor management. This module is often overlooked or deemed unnecessary. However, no security system is complete without it. In the past, visitor management was a stand-alone module; implementing it required additional personnel, or was handled through paper forms. This was inefficient at best.Today, visitor management can be easily integrated into the central security system platform, as well as into the Human Resources and Information Technology platforms. Email notifications and calendar use are expedient ways to schedule, identify, sign-in, and track your visitors. Non-disclosure statements, photos, licenses, and vehicle information give us additional powerful tools for knowing who is at, in, or around your facility. This is essential, since if we don’t know who and why someone is there, and where they move about, we might end up leaving the building exposed to unknown business disruption threats.
- Dedicated System Administrator –A second important but typical deficiency is the lack of a dedicated system administrator. Companies invest heavily in a system, parts or even a platform, but fail to assign proper and adequately qualified operating personnel to running and maintaining the system itself. Delegation of responsibilities, ongoing training, and backup personnel is key to any successful security system.Just like any other complex platform, a security system requires consistent handling and care. Currently, many of the newer systems are software-based. This is attractive for many reasons, but keeping the system up-to-date, implementing on-going required updates and fixing bugs can be time-consuming and tedious for someone who is not familiar with the system. The bottom line is that electronic systems are only as good as the persons who program them, and the people who deploy and operate them.
- Consistent System Standards –The third important area that can get neglected in a security program is the lack of consistent system standards for equipment and installation. Having multiple brands of cameras, card readers, locksets, or even computers, can lead to a splintered system with little or no real control over equipment life span, warranty, parts replacement, or manufacturer support.Installation inconsistencies such as different cabling, power, or mounting standards, can lead to troubleshooting difficulties, as well as maintenance problems down the line. All these are critical to keeping your system active and running smoothly. System standards can be built in a fluid form to fit initial installation needs, as well as be adaptable for future changes in use or technology.
All of the above areas are critical for a successful security program. If we have the forethought to put in place standards, a dedicated system administrator, and proper visitor management, we will be well on our way towards building and maintaining a fully functional system that will provide the information and security needed when required.