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Security by Design: Best Practices in Secure Environments

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Security by Design: Best Practices in Secure Environments

Most commercial buildings begin with an architect and a designer. Outside, a landscaper or landscape architect will usually be tapped to provide the esthetic surroundings.

Open floorplans. Glass walls. Lots of windows. Outside, beautiful plantings.

These features may be pleasing to the eye. But they also can significantly compromise safety. Security would be greatly enhanced by including a security expert on the initial design team.

 

The Four Aspects of Designing for Safety

There are four key elements to corporate security:

  • Access control, especially in shared spaces
  • Landscape design that emphasizes security
  • Interior design that mitigates potential threats
  • Security-minded policies and procedures

Element 1: Access Control

Access control can be challenging when a building or campus is shared by different organizations. But there are several best practices that can mitigate the potential for security issues:

  • Individual access control for each office or tenant
  • A centralized communication system, such as a PA, to warn all occupants of potential or actual threats
  • Building-wide access control, so only those who belong in the building can enter
  • Security systems or personnel that can flag unusual activity

Consider, for example, the auto mechanic who was terminated at a West Coast auto dealership after weeks of poor performance, threats to co-workers, and other red flags. He went to his vehicle, retrieved a gun and returned, killing two former colleagues before committing suicide. Incidents such as this highlight what many businesses are now following as a best practice:

  • Have employees park in a secure area with controlled access
  • Restrict employees from visiting their vehicles during the workday or monitor employees who do so

Element 2: Exterior Design

Parking areas, pathways and landscaping should be designed with two goals in mind: perimeter security and elimination of hiding places.

Perimeter security means establishing layers of security, typically with multiple checkpoints and many opportunities to spot potential security issues. Ideally, this strategy positions the initial access control so that a would-be intruder would be stopped before being able to enter or penetrate a facility or campus.

For landscaping, the key is to eliminate not only hiding places for intruders attempting to enter the building, but also places where someone could attack or otherwise harm employees and visitors heading towards or away from the building.

Element 3: Interior Design

The same glass walls and bullpen-type seating areas that give a space a light and airy ambience have a serious drawback. In the event of an active shooter or other incident, employees have nowhere to hide. Walls, offices and secure doors make it possible to hide from an intruder.

Employees have three options when confronted by an active shooter: run, hide or fight. Interiors should be designed to maximize all three of those options. In addition, entrances should have a holding area that can be secured to prevent an intruder from entering the inner offices.

Element 4: Policies and Procedures

None of these steps, of course, will effectively mitigate potential security threats without employee training in the proper policies and procedures to spot and react to security issues.

For organizations without an internal security chief, a security consultant that offers employee training can be an invaluable resource. Security training should be part of every new employee’s orientation, and refresher training should be mandatory and regularly scheduled.

For information on how Sunstates Security can use technology and personnel to provide greater security, or for an evaluation of your existing security systems and strategies, please call 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

September 4th, 2019 at 3:22 pm

4 SECURITY CHALLENGES FOR CORPORATE CAMPUSES… AND THE SOLUTIONS

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Today’s corporate campuses are not unlike small towns. With an average population of 5,000, modern facilities house cafeterias, vendor shops, even services like dry cleaners and coffee shops. In addition, these campuses often have extensive grounds, with thousands of people coming and going every day. This environment creates unique security challenges.

Security Challenges for Corporate Campuses

  1. Internal Violence. The greater the employee population, the greater the chance of violent acts, either against other employees, or against company property.
  2. External Violence. Disgruntled former employees sometimes seek retaliation or attempt theft. Some companies
    might be the targets of activists groups, theft, or vandalism.
  3. Unauthorized Access. With a high volume of daily traffic, facilities can quickly lose control of who is coming and going.
  4. Perimeter Control. Corporate campuses often lack a perimeter fence, which makes intrusion–both accidental and intentional–more likely.

How to Overcome Those Challenges

Sunstates Security has many years of experience meeting these security challenges. That experience has helped refine a number of best practices for large corporate campus facilities.

  • Planning is always the first step. Have teams already in place and functioning on a consistent basis.
    • A senior-management level security team to oversee security procedures, with the authority to make decisions.
    • A crisis management team to develop contingency plans and take charge when a crisis occurs.
    • An emergency response team to enact contingency plans ensures employee safety, and protect company resources.
    • Contingency plans that include crisis response, lock-down procedures, and emergency evacuation procedures, with regular drills.
  • Safety protocols for the prevention and intervention of employee violence. Such protocols include placing HR interviewers with their backs to the door of a meeting room to prevent their being cornered by a potentially violent interviewee, along with discreet security officer presence, training in the use of pepper spray, and other measures.
  • Training Security Officers in non-violent, verbal resolution of conflicts. Sunstates President Glenn Burrell says that mutual respect is the key to resolving disputes: “My experience over the years has been that 99% of the time, if you show respect and offer quality verbal resolution, you can defuse the situation. For the remaining 1%, we use training to contain the situation and call in reinforcement.”
  • Security badge awareness is critical. Encouraging personnel to challenge people who do not use proper badge entry helps prevent “piggy-backing” the social niceties that allow holding open the door for someone who might not have a badge, such as a potential intruder or a former employee who no longer has access. Communication between HR and security personnel is critical to retrieve and deactivate the badges of terminated employees. This requires the cooperation of top-level management, who should not be immune from having to use their security badges.
  • Educating employees that security is a company-wide responsibility. The workforce must understand that flow of intelligence and communication is critical. Sunstates encourages companies to build a culture of security and safety through training classes and brown-bag lunches, whereby employees learn that security is a personal responsibility.
  • Early detection of intruders when the campus lacks a fence line more vigilance is required. Security personnel must ascertain whether the intrusion is accidental or intentional, and this requires early detection, tempered by strong public relations skills.

As a final thought, President Burrell recommends vetting applicants thoroughly as a proactive way of preventing problems. Background checks, drug testing, personal and professional reference checks are excellent tools; potentially dangerous people rarely resort to violence without prior warning signs.

Logging more than a decade of experience at such facilities, Sunstates Security understands specialized security requirements for large corporate campuses. Contact Denis Kelly at sunstatesinfo@sunstatessecurity.com for more information on how Sunstates Security can be your partner of choice.