Jesse H. Neal Award
Jesse H. Neal Award
2014, 2013, 2012,
2011, 2010, 2009
Best Publication and
Best How-to Article
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How Safe Is Your Building?
Are you protecting your people, property and products
well enough? Most facilities professionals would answer
yes, but the truth is that many “secure” facilities are
anything but. It doesn’t matter how many state-of-the-
art security systems you install if the cameras don’t cover enough
ground or locked entrances are regularly left propped open for the
sake of convenience.
Hardening your building against crime starts with a thorough understanding of the threats facing
your facility and an acknowledgement that standing by and hoping nothing happens is no longer an
option. Security often receives the bare minimum in funding and attention because investing in physical
protection impacts immediate profit margins. As a result, organizations that neglect physical security
are setting themselves up for anything from theft of valuable products, equipment or data (page 24)
to a violent attack.
Don’t let that happen to your organization. Set up a physical penetration test – a comprehensive
assessment of all of the physical security measures at your facility. Inspectors will try to gain access to
critical infrastructure and executive areas by picking locks, hopping fences, piggybacking with credentialed employees or otherwise attempting to gain access to secure areas. The results may be alarming,
but they’re also a highly useful way to figure out where your facility needs improvement. It’s better to
find out that someone can easily penetrate your facility during a no-consequences test than waiting
until a real attacker comes along.
Depending on the weaknesses that the penetration test turns up, you may need to strengthen your
facility’s defenses with upgrades in surveillance technology, different training for security personnel or
even a new access control system. Associate Editor Justin Feit tackles the latter subject with a look at
biometric technology – the use of fingerprints, facial recognition and other physical characteristics as
secure identification – on page 28.
As security consultant John Bocker points out, keeping your facility safe often comes down to one
principle: “Don’t look like a target and don’t try to become a target.” What is your building saying
to potential attackers?