How to Plug the Holes in Physical Security Operations

24/7 Software
Mar 3, 2016 7:45:00 AM

How do you measure the weaknesses in your physical security operation?

Do you simply measure your operation as good or bad?

Bruce Harpham’s recent CSO article “Physical security has many holes to be plugged” gave us a different perspective on how to look at operational weaknesses.

He presents a different point of view.

Bruce focuses on the underlying ‘holes’ (or weaknesses) in a security operation. Then, he addresses the different areas that you should focus on improving.

A major takeaway here is that a ‘quick fix’ does not exist. You must focus on everything from hiring, security officer appearance, equipment, and training, to matching your staff levels based on the activities your property faces.

These are vital to your success as a physical security operation. But, you’re probably already an expert in that – or at least, know what needs to be done. If not, you can read Bruce’s article here.

What caught our attention is his statement on continuous improvement. Our conclusion is that it’s a byproduct of proactive security.

“Continuous improvement is required in order to maintain a secure facility against constantly evolving threats. Regular physical patrols are an important way to detect security flaws and events. Broken glass, damaged locks and other changes are warning signs that an intrusion is underway.”

Regular, consistent, properly-executed security patrols that afford you the ability to detect security flaws and events is how you can improve.

We agree, except there’s two “holes” to plug there too. We see two you need to fill – accountability and fragmentation.

Here’s the thing, what happens when security misses something or a client’s property is breached?

  • How do you report and communicate it?
  • How do you protect your business and your clients’?
  • How do you ensure your security team is executing?
  • Are they doing what it takes to reduce the chance of threats or to make them easier to mitigate?
  • Are you able to track whether it could have been prevented?

With the evolving threats that we see these days – you need solutions to supplement your physical security operation.

Coincidently, we have two – a guard tour and incident management system – that can help you fix the accountability and fragmentation problems within your operation.

These two solutions will have a positive ripple effect. They’ll allow you to avert any other issues you might have as a result.

Lack of Accountability Weakens Physical Security Operations

Are your security guards completing their tours as scheduled, on time and with complete accountability?

Can you track whether they’re recording their tours, spotting broken glass or damaged locks, and documenting signs of potential intrusions or threats?

We’ve identified the weaknesses and holes that most security operations struggle with. The solutions that optimize efficiency (and your revenue) are the solution.

When it comes to guard tours, a major weakness was identified – accountability. You can follow practices like those of DHS’s guidelines for armed security officers.

But, if you don’t have a solution in place to fully track accountability, you’ll constantly be working to plug the holes in your operation.

Implement a Guard Tour System to Solve Accountability Leaks

Top security operations are excited about the innovative capabilities of guard tour systems. These systems use RFID, Barcode, and QR code technology to give you the accountability needed.

Using a guard tour system, security officers can conduct property tours and concurrently include tour information.

Most important, they can attach pictures, video, and audio to the record. This gives you full detail of their tours – especially when real-time incidents need to be documented.

Let’s say your security staff is conducting their assigned and scheduled tours. One of them comes across a suspicious package.

This might have been missed previously. See why plugging these holes are so important?

Can your security team currently mitigate this danger? You can with a progressive guard tour system.

Using an advanced system, they can:

  1. Record the date and time of the inspection;
  2. Take a picture of the suspicious package;
  3. Record the details of an incident using the system’s mobile application;
  4. Notify all the need-to-know people using an incident management system;

That’s efficiency. That’s how you eliminate the weaknesses.

You’ll have proof of guard tours. You’ll have a system you can count on.

Providing your security officers with a tool to ensure effective patrolling of your clients’ property results in accountability – plain and simple.

A guard tour system will also provide you with historical data of all tours conducted at each property. All information for a tour is recorded and reported at the time of the inspection – in real time.

So, why not use it to analyze effectiveness?

Capturing real-time data eradicates the question of accountability. You can overcome this weakness for good.

Having accurate details and documentation for each inspection gives you additional ways to identify areas for improvement. You have a simple, yet comprehensive analysis at your fingertips.

All your data will be precise and can be used to move your security operation to the next level.

Analyze your findings for better ways to run your operation.

Here’s an example of a strategic change to implement today to protect your clients:

Develop a plan to strategically randomize your security team’s tour schedule. This should cause disruption for potential threats. Make it ‘routine’ for your officers to expect changes, but not intruders.

Develop the most efficient, effective, and professional security team imaginable.

Eliminate Fragmentation to Realize Improvement

Your next hole to plug is fragmentation.

Information is not clear because it’s all over the place.

Inadequate reporting is an inherent problem when pieces of information are documented in different places. It becomes exponentially worse when any documentation is being logged on paper. You will never have the ability to see the full picture of your operation. Continuous improvement becomes an exercise in futility.

Supplement Your Guard Tour System with an Incident Management System

Make sure that your guard tour system can talk to your incident management system. It’s essential to use them together to eliminate fragmentation – this is the best strategy to employ.

A well thought out implementation of incident management and guard tour software gives you the means to delivering a truly professional operation. An operation that encompasses all aspects of the ACDA Principle™.

An operation that executes around the Principle is an operation with full awareness, enhanced communication, accurate and digital documentation, and analytics.

Use an incident management system with real-time capabilities.

  • Any number of users, at any number of locations, simultaneously creating, tracking and entering incident details for your properties.
  • Individuals or groups are automatically notified with specific details of what is occurring throughout your properties. Schedule alerts to one or more security officers when a specific incident, trend, or location is involved.
  • Accurately record digital details, stored for liability defense and ongoing analysis. Any pictures, videos, statements or additional documentation can be attached as part of incident records. Protect yourself, plug the hole on liability and access the information five years from now or five minutes from now. Drop the burden of maintaining, organizing, tracking, and storing files that get lost.

Set up protocols to display by incident type in your system. Your team will know exactly what to do when that specific incident type occurs.

They no longer need to refer to your folder of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to see how to handle certain situations.

Color-coding gives insight into each incidents’ status – a different color for status of the incident – and are time-stamped for respective dispositions.

  • Newly created incidents appear in red.
  • Dispatched incidents appear in yellow.
  • Incidents, where your team is on-scene, appear in green.

Once an incident is completed and closed out, the incident is changed to gray and moved off the screen for clarity.

Do you have resource allocation issues? Do your staff levels match activity levels?

An incident management system lets you effectively allocate your resources.

The number and details of incidents assigned to each person or unit can be quickly viewed with your system. Determine who can promptly respond to a situation for maximum effectiveness.

Expertly communicating operational needs to your staff ensures delivery of professional security for your clients.

You can accomplish this with the use of mobile devices. Quickly communicate and retrieve on-scene details of an incident as it is occurring. Safeguard your properties, so nothing slips through the cracks.

With a basic understanding of who, what, where, and when of all incidents, your team can actively anticipate what may occur in the future. You can use tabletop exercises to run through any possible scenarios you can think of.

You will finally have the tools to plug your operational holes to achieve peace of mind.

Over to You

Implementing a guard tour and incident management system puts your physical security operation on the right track to fixing weaknesses. And let’s be clear, accountability and fragmentation are major ones.

So, are you ready to plug the holes in your operation? If so, supplement your efforts using the ACDA Principle™ for the best results.

Learn how and why CheckPoint supercharges equipment and location inspections


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