you are using can become obsolete
quickly. "When people put in a
new system, I suggest they start
building into their budget right
away for their next system," Silva
says. "Most building owners look
at access control technology as a
one-time investment, then they're
done, but that's not true."
Silva adds to stay current on
software and check for updates at
least yearly. He's gone into buildings and found the software hasn't
been updated for 10 to 15 years, in
5Perform Periodic Access Control Systems Testing Just like you would
test your smoke alarms in your
house to make sure they are work-
ing when and how you need them,
be sure to test your access control
system. All devices should be func-
tioning as expected.
Ahrens notes to pay special
attention to the perimeter door
alarms. He suggests monthly to
quarterly testing, as it's the only
way to know for sure if everything
6Speak Up for Security While holding the door open for someone
might seem polite, it can be risky.
The act known as tailgating is an
important issue for building safety,
and it can be hard to control. "The
biggest weakness in access control
is tailgating," Silva says. "Educate
people in your building not to hold
the door open for people."
Another way to cut down on
tailgating is having multiple layers
of security and access points.
One thing Ahrens has noticed
while being in the field is that if
a place has an extremely secure
entry system (like a revolving
door that will back you out if you
don't have clearance to enter),
security is often lax once inside
He finds that often people won't
ask questions or challenge someone in the building because they
assume it's so secure and difficult
to get in that they don't need to
challenge the people they don't
"The ID badge is a cornerstone
of any facility," Ahrens notes. "It
identifies that you belong here.
Without it you should challenge if
someone should be there." B
Valerie Dennis Craven valerie.
firstname.lastname@example.org is editor-in-chief of BUILDINGS.
Look at your current security and access control
levels to determine where your weak spots or
areas of improvement should be. The Office of
Procurement and Property Management with the
USDA suggests taking a comprehensive crime prevention assessment.
You should ask:
n What’s your target potential?
n What’s the prevailing attitude toward security?
n Who’s responsible for the overall security pro-
n How are security policies enforced?
n When was the current emergency preparedness
n What resources are available locally and how
rapid are the response times for fire, police and
n What kind of physical security systems and con-
trols are presently used?
n Do the available security resources, policies and
procedures meet the potential threat?
Michael Silva, owner and independent security
consultant at Silva Consultants, suggests that own-
ers and managers of existing facilities who are
looking to implement or improve an access control
plan should start with a security risk assessment.
n Diagnose problems
n List types of security measures the building
n Determine how much you will need to spend
The assessment itself depends on the type of
risk the building faces and operations going on in
the building. “The hardest part is developing the
right level of security to cover all the issues you
might face,” Silva says. “You should develop your
security plan a little above your risk level, if you
need to elevate security at any time.”
If your company doesn’t have a security pro-
fessional on staff, you can find an external, inde-
pendent consultant through the International
Association of Professional Security Consultants.
Assess Your Potential Security Risks