The private security industry is a crucial component of security and safety in the United States and abroad. Today, private security is responsible not only for protecting many of the nation‘s institutions and critical infrastructure systems, but also for protecting intellectual property and sensitive corporate information. U.S. companies also rely heavily on private security for a wide range of functions, including protecting employees and property, conducting investigations, performing and pre-employment screening.
Although guards are an import component of security, there is a common misconception that security guards or “Onsite Security” is reliable and acceptable stand alone security solution. This idea is misleading to many decision makers and can lead to unnecessary liabilities with tragic consequences. The objective of any effective protection system is to prevent loss of assets or harm to people from a malevolent adversary. In order to accomplish this goal, there must be a detection of and response to an adversary attack. Security guards are a valuable part of physical security, but are only one component of an effective security solution.
To have a response, there must be notification of a potential attack to security personnel at a facility. Although automatic assessment is possible, this determination, generally made by a human to validate the source of the detection. For example, if an interior motion sensor activates, an assessment of the alarm source should be made prior to dispatching the response force. This prevents an unnecessary response to nuisance alarms. This makes for an effective and efficient protection system. For physical protection systems, the most effective assessment is obtained using surveillance cameras. Well placed surveillance cameras can act as force multiplier, allowing a single guard to monitor multiple locations at once.
Once an adversary attack has been detected, some time will be required to respond to the attack. This is the purpose of delay. In physical protection systems, delay is most cost effective near the target.
The response force, the final element of a physical security system. This is where security guards or “Onsite Security” is valuable. Once an event has been identified, onsite security guards are critical for a quick response to mitigate the situation and neutralize the threat.
Buy Performance, Not Features
Features sell, and vendors hastily add features to their products to make them more attractive. If features are the metric used in the selection of security components, then quantitative evaluation of system performance is impossible, and one knows the degree of security provided by a given system.
System effectiveness depends on the effectiveness of the components and the correctness of component placement. All too often, features detract from component effectiveness by introducing unintended interactions, and unintended (or intended!) back doors. Real component effectiveness is determined by empirical testing, and ideally quantitative measures of performance are used to evaluate the quality and performance of the system.
Next time you are in the market for a security solution ask folks in your industry what they use, even request a test drive so you know that YOUR dollars are buying the performance YOU NEED.