Protect your Facility
Robbery against facilities in the US go as far back as the Revolutionary War, but now a days most work place facilities employ basic security systems to protect employees and property. For these measures to be effective, you need to understand the security measures in place at your work location and cooperate with local security personnel.
This is where you can put into practice what you have learned in the first two modules. You should always be alert for surveillance or attempts to test security systems and emergency response personnel. Use the following as a guide to help you maintain a high level of alertness.
►Keep exterior doors secure; cooperate with ID checks, metal detectors, visitor logs, and badge control systems.
►Do not give out information concerning security like guard schedules, inspection procedures, or security pass requirements. Report elicitation to security personnel immediately.
►Report inattentive guard personnel.
►Report weapons, identification badges, or keys managed in a non-secure manner.
►Report gaps in procedures that leave unauthorized persons unsupervised in sensitive areas.
►Report persons with an inappropriate curiosity in security measures, attempting to photograph security measures or sensitive areas, attempting to conceal contents of bags or cargo, or are suspiciously present in residential areas.
►Comply with fire and security drills and know actions for medical emergencies, security violations, and alert procedures.
►Be aware of the current threats and comply with security and response protocols.
►Recognize problems in non-malicious compromises in security and take steps to correct them.
►Recognize potentially malicious threats to security and report them.
►Immediately report stolen identification cards, access badges, cars, license plates, or vehicle passes.
►Observe and report abandoned boxes, cars or briefcases.
►Report suspicious mail or delivery packages.
One of the most important practices to ensure a secure facility is security in depth or the more familiar term concentric rings of security. Most facilities in the US incorporate concentric rings of security without even realizing it. If you see a facility with an obvious amount of physical security you can be assured that concentric rings of security are being used. Now what are concentric rings of security?
At ASP, concentric rings of security mean a layered defense around an object or place and as you pass through each ring the level of security increases. Let’s look at how they are used to protect your facility (we will also use concentric rings of security to protect our residence). The outer ring starts with the fence or wall that designates the boundary of your property. This is used to keep the honest person honest; no one wants to climb over a wall or fence unless they have specific plans. Now a company can deploy a plethora of security features to harden this ring, but most normal facilities do not. This is normally the weakest ring, but it is still a good idea to have this ring in place to slow down the criminal. One very effective measure is stand-off distance. Stand-off is the distance between the exterior perimeter wall or fence and the building where the VIP lives or works. The stand-off distance can be an area of vulnerability as well. If the wall or fence is close to the building, an explosive charge can be detonated outside of the wall and still impact the target building. This makes the criminal’s job easier, since they do not have to gain entry to the compound or facility in order to carry out their plan.
The next ring is the exterior of the building; again this can be augmented with security systems such as alarms, CCTV, motion sensors, etc. Now, next time you go to work look at your front door and any other access points in to your facility. Is the door locked? Does it require an access card to gain entry? Are all the entry points secured in some manner? Are the ground floor and accessible windows secured? Again this second or middle ring should be more robust than first and should detect any criminal trying to gain unauthorized access to your building.
In this day and age, of active shooters, it is highly recommended that your third ring be some sort of “safe room,” a hardened room in the facility where you can go to and wait safely until first responders arrive on the scene to assist. Remember as criminals pass through each ring of security, it should be getting more difficult for them to achieve their objective.
Augmenting all rings with observation cameras serves three functions:
1. It has a deterrent function. It tells potential intruders that they have to defeat/avoid the camera system. Cameras housed in the dark globes have the most deterrent effect; the intruder cannot see which direction the camera is oriented. Some people have even placed dummy cameras around their facility just for the deterrent effect.
2. From a camera room where the video feeds are monitored, it can provide early warning as someone tries to penetrate each ring.
3. Recorded video is useful as evidence for the police.
I am sure not many of you have given much thought to the concentric rings of security around your work place, but give it some thought today. Think about how many rings of security you have and how they are intended to stop a criminal.
Wherever you work in this day and age, you should ask your employer about their disaster preparedness plan. Part of that plan should be a detailed Incident Response plan that should cover everything from natural disasters to disgruntled employees. The greatest threat to the US today is a power outage, so at a minimum your facility should have plans in place to respond to a power outage, even if only for a few hours. These incident response plans need to be put into action seconds to minutes after an incident occurs. If they are shared with employees, there needs to be training involved so that everyone is familiar with the plan and what the response should be for each type of incident. Comprehensive incident response plans will ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees and the facility. There are two methods to reviewing and testing your plans.
Tabletop: A tabletop exercise allows small groups to get together to review and discuss plans with no actual actions.
Drill: In a drill you will perform some or all of the actions in the plan to simulate how you would react during a real life incident. These drills should include outside stakeholders/agencies, such as Fire & Rescue, Police, etc.
During these exercises, you should also conduct a facility vulnerability assessment. It is an in-depth study of a facility to identify perceived security vulnerabilities of the facility. Vulnerability is a gap or weakness in one of the concentric rings of security. These vulnerabilities could be physical, procedural or technical. Each of these, alone or combined, could lead the criminal gang to determine that this facility is accessible and the potential for the success of their plan is high.
The most obvious physical security vulnerability noticed by HSTs may be the lack of adequate numbers of security personnel at access points to the facility. Physical security vulnerabilities can also include:
►Inoperable or damaged control hardware: broken windows on a building, unlockable doors, holes in fences or exterior perimeter block walls, poor quality or damaged vehicle entry barriers.
►Lack of specific security hardware: bars on windows, barbed wire on the top of perimeter fencing or barriers at vehicle entry points.
There are two other types of vulnerabilities to look at, procedural and technical security.
1. Procedural Security vulnerabilities involve security personnel and their procedures. HSTs observe the security personnel to see if they can identify a gap in a procedure that might lead to an opportunity for attack in the future. For instance:
►The HST might send someone to the access gate or door of the office to see if they are allowed in without being identified or searched.
►The HST might want to know if packages are searched and/or x-rayed; this technique is called a probe and can be performed while on foot or in a vehicle.
►HSTs observe patrols and shift rotations of security personnel and deliveries to and from the buildings to see if they can detect a specific pattern in the behavior of the observed individuals or teams. These patterns can be used to formulate a timed attack.
►In general, criminals look for easy targets where security personnel are lax in their duties or concentric rings are not secured or easily defeated.2.
2. Technical Security vulnerabilities include a lack or inoperability of technical equipment such as high power external lights, closed circuit televisions cameras (CCTV), video surveillance equipment, electronic access equipment, motion detectors, phone recording equipment and automatic closing and locking doors.