SAFE & SECURE
By GAMAL NEWRY
The greatest challenge with access control is that successful businesses want people to come inside and purchase merchandise, or benefit from a particular service.
Whether it is 1st and main street, or a World Wide Web address, an open invitation is given to all to ‘come on in’. In addition, these businesses need full-time staff, contracted workers, service providers and vendors to operate there. Filtering out those who pose a threat to commerce, as opposed to those who are genuine, presents a clear and present danger to their success.
When this problem is looked at comprehensively, numerous companies have just as many entry points as, perhaps, our archipelago of islands. So it can be a daunting task. How does a company screen these potential hazards, yet keep the authentic customer and employee coming back without making them fear for their lives and being as restrictive as a prison.
The variety of possibilities is endless, and will impact physical and electronic security initiatives, as well as electronic and data transmissions. In addition, the hiring process must also be seen as an access control tool, considering that some employees deal with high value corporate information.
The crime prevention planner, law enforcement personnel, security consultant, property manager, architect and human resources professional must put theory into practice to address community disorder, workplace violence, street crime or acts of terrorism.
Generally, the applications of such procedures and strategy can be summed up as follows
- Permit or deny entry to, or presence in, a given place.
- Increase or reduce the rate, or density, of movement to, from or within a defined place.
- Protect persons, materials or information against unauthorised observation or removal.
- Prevent injury to people or damage to material.
It is important to be clear which objective is sought, because that influences the type and degree of reliability and, most certainly, the cost associated with the control procedures and equipment.
You are reminded that one of the lessons from September 11, 2001, is that the primary targets of penetration, which received the most damage and loss, were all privately-owned businesses, not government-operated facilities. The types of organisations being targeted are largely:
- Targets that are considered soft, at least compared to government organisations.
- The potential for collateral damage is increased
There are a variety of techniques to employ in granting or denying access to a given place, people or information.
These techniques are as simple as a deadbolt and padlock on the door, or as sophisticated as coded card access systems and biometrics. All are intended to protect against unauthorised entry, and use and abuse of information.
Nevertheless, in far too many instances the person on the inside poses the greatest threat. Through negligence or intentional acts, employees account for a higher rates of loss in a business than external theft.
In one case, major losses from a locked store room occurring over an extended period of time were traced back to a second-shift supervisor, who had devised a tool to open the door to the store room in order to fulfill production needs. On a routine basis, he sent an employee to the area to get stock items necessary for the job. In time, all of the employees learned how to enter the locked store room, and some began to remove other items for their own personal use or for sale if they had an outside market value. The supervisor, an individual with a high sense of personal integrity, was shocked to learn of the role he had played in the theft, when it was finally uncovered.
A deeply-rooted fallacy among business managers and owners is that security begins and ends with the security officer at the gate or entrance.
These persons feel that access control is the responsibility of the uniformed security service, and any losses can be attributed to performance failures on the part of the security staff, rather than the administrative or operating departments. All employees have a role to play in protecting the company from loss, as for loss to occur the perpetrator must first get inside.
NB: Gamal Newry is the president of Preventative Measures, a loss prevention and asset protection training and consulting company, specialising in policy and procedure development, business security reviews and audits, and emergency and crisis management.
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