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The Necessary Layers Required For Physical Security
It used to be that physical security engineering for locations entailed ballistic towers, high walls, moats, draw bridges, and heavy gates to repel enemy attackers. And though the days of medieval warfare and epic castles are long gone, the basic principles for ensuring any location is physically safe from an attack remain the same as they always have. The only difference being the means by which attackers invade. By knowing the four basic physical security layers that exist, you can then create a plan by which to prevent, hinder, or outright halt most assaults that can occur at any location. The four layers are design, control, detection, and identification. We’ll go through these one by one and discuss them a bit more in depth.
Physical Security Design
Physical security design refers to any and all environmental structures that can be built or installed to deter, impede, or stop an attack from occurring. These environmental structures can be nearly anything imaginable that suits the job. Walls, fences, barbed wire, vehicle barriers, speed bumps, and gated windows are all design features that can be used. Other environmental designs that can be considered for physical safety can even be implemented into the overall architectural design of the building. Limiting the number of entrances,funneling movement through the building so as to go through various check points, and even reinforcing the building structure with additional steel or concrete to withstand various attacks all can be considered before construction of a location begins.
Obviously, depending on what are considered pertinent threats dictates exactly the physical safety level that should be achieved. If there is any expectation of an attack, its far better to be safe than sorry. Prudence and foresight are two attributes which compliment each other well, and if an attack seems possible, be sure to take the precautionary measures to avoid or reduce the damage done.
Physical Security Control
Physical security controls refer to any and all control capabilities in a building, ranging from mechanical and electronic to procedural, that limit access to certain areas. This can entail key locked and key coded doors, electronic access, check points, and any other number of ways you can stop a person from entering restricted areas, or areas where who is present needs to be known. Even signing guest books can be a form of security control, in the least, if the information they provide is accurate, you know who entered and left at specific times.
The greater the number of these security access control points, the more protection that will be provided. In essence, the more present, the more difficult it will be for intruders to enter, or if they have entered, to go further than they are. The greatest control access security possible is that of an actual human being watching entry ways. Unless the guard himself is corrupt, he will ensure that anyone who attempts to pass through is allowed to. Any lock of any sort can be picked or hacked to open. Where as the only way a human observer would fail, is if he willingly allowed for it to happen, or through sheer mistake or error.
Physical Security Detection
Even if you have a supposed impenetrable fortress, with every security control access available, you still need to ensure that no one has penetrated through your defenses. This means that you’ll need the ability to detect intruders or attackers. This is needed because even the most well thought out plans and defenses have holes or cracks that can be capitalized on. This would not necessarily be to the fault of anything or anybody. It’s simply human ingenuity, when you tell a person something is impossible, more than likely, they’ll try to prove that wrong if the reason is there. When building Alcatraz, engineers and designers must have assumed that no one could ever escape, yet people tried, and often either to their demise or grand success.
There are many forms of possible detection means that can be used. Everything from motion sensors and lights, to cameras and human guards. Nowadays, with the inexpensive nature of many video cameras, you could record every inch of every part of a building 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This can be recorded so as to be referred to, and/or watched live by guards for any suspicious activity. It is an essential layer to physical security.
Physical Security Identification
Finally, the use of personal identification for areas where physical security is needed is crucial. There are times when access to certain areas is limited for a reason. If access is limited, you must make sure that those few who are allowed are actually the ones who are there. Impersonating and other forms of subterfuge is common. This problem becomes even worse when you are dealing with a large complex, or large influxes of people entering. So correctly identifying the people present in an area needs to to be considered heavily to ensure they are supposed to be there.
As you can imagine, there are many ways that identification of personnel can occur. From digital finger prints, voice recognition, and retinal scans, to key passes and going through check points where identification can be verified. No matter how safe and well thought out everything else is, if a person can enter a complex simply by pretending they are someone else, you mine as well have left the door open for them.