Physical security should be a top priority for any organization, school and university, hospital or other facility. Property crime statistics alone should be reason enough to invest in physical security measures: The FBI reported nearly 9 million property crime offenses in the United States during 2012, the most recent year with complete statistics available. With a wide range of threats to contend with, physical security measures are a good place to start.
For value-added resellers (VARs) looking to get into the physical security space, it’s vital to first understand all the components of a physical security plan. Once you’re more familiar with the “do’s” of a security plan, it’s time to learn the “don’ts.”
When drafting your next physical security plan, keep the following seven “don’ts” in mind:
1. Don’t take a narrow view.
A physical security plan needs to be a comprehensive strategy that considers all aspects of your customer’s facility. Avoid the temptation to focus on a single element, such as surveillance or access control.
Each device and system can help bolster the effectiveness of the others, so your ideal approach would take into consideration every potential threat, challenge and opportunity, and leverage a wide range of technology, including CCTV surveillance, access control devices, security guards, physical barriers and more.
2. Don’t avoid best-in-class technology because of budget constraints.
Concerned that IP cameras will scare off some of your smaller customers? Don’t be: Often, advanced technology can actually save an end user money in the long run because it is more powerful than other systems.
For example, in many facilities 360-degree megapixel cameras can replace up to eight analog cameras. Over the life of the system, that streamlined approach will save the end user money in ongoing maintenance and replacement costs.
3. Don’t underestimate “low-tech” security elements.
Of course, not every customer is going to require the most cutting-edge security technology. Certain small business owners, for example, might require a single security camera and improved access control.
In addition, remember the impact that physical barriers and even landscaping can have. Take a holistic view of each facility, and use “low-tech” options, which are highly affordable, when they make sense.
4. Don’t write off the power of a human presence.
In many facilities, simply adding a security guard can have a significant impact on risks like theft and vandalism. However, keep long-term budget in mind. Often the cost to install a camera or two is much lower than employing security guards.
For many customers, a security plan will include both security guards and technology elements. In large facilities, think of technology as a “force multiplier” for the security staff. Cameras and mobile capabilities help them to do their job more effectively, and respond to incidents in real-time.
5. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
Of course, it’s a good idea to stick to general best practices when working in the physical security space. But don’t be afraid to try something new and get a little creative. Each customer’s needs are at least slightly different, so do what makes sense for each individual project.
6. Don’t forget to plan for the future.
Ideally, your physical security clients will become lifelong customers, relying on you for service and support, as well as system upgrades. Plan for the future by choosing technology that is easily upgradeable and seamlessly integrates with other systems. That way, you can upgrade (or grow) the security solution as needed and as budgets allow, without having to do a “rip-and-replace,” which is costly and highly disruptive.
7. Don’t assume that any two facilities will be the same.
The threat landscape of every facility will be at least slightly unique. Of course, you can apply knowledge gained from previous projects to current physical security plans, but be sure to keep an open mind. Every facility has its own risks, layout, budget, personnel and more. Approach every new physical security plan with that in mind.
What “don’ts” would you add to this list? Are there any that you’ve learned the hard way?