Ten steps to successful perimeter security
Your physical security strategy must include making sure your perimeter is as safe and secure as possible. As you develop your strategy, it is important to take a well-researched and thorough approach, starting with the site audit and risk assessment, through to the specification and installation of your complete security solution. As part of this approach and to ensure you install successful perimeter security, here are ten key steps:
1.Planning, planning, planning
Poor planning equals poor performance. The key to any effective perimeter security project is to set aside enough time and expertise for planning.
2. Assess the threat
The obvious starting point is to assess the threats you want to protect against. How skilled are those aiming to gain entry likely to be? How can they damage your business?
Using an Operational Requirements Document can help companies implement measures which are proportionate to the risks they face, and help risk and security managers support the business case for the measures proposed.
3. Maintain business as usual
It is vital to consider the general day-to-day purpose of the site. Perimeter security must enable and not be detrimental to the running of the business. Find out who the key stakeholders are and gain understanding and buy-in from them for the proposed measures.
A security manager who is only concerned with making the site secure without taking into account the daily business operations will not implement a successful perimeter security system. For example, engaging with internal site teams, surrounding businesses and neighbours can enhance security due to a heightened awareness and increase self-policing.
4. Assess what’s practical
Depending on the scope of the project, extensive paperwork and an Operational Requirements Document that specifies the technicalities may be required. Additionally, a successful project focuses on the practicality of what will or won’t work. Evaluating the existing security by carrying out your own site survey and walk around is crucial.
Take time to consider the everyday workings of the location and the threats being denied. Sometimes it is the obvious threats that are overlooked.
For example, is your neighbour a pallet manufacturer who stores pallets close to the perimeter, making it easy to climb over? What about the location of your site? Is it in a coastal or high humidity area where metal fencing is likely to corrode faster?
5. Get as much advice as possible
Helpful advice and guidance can be obtained from various government bodies and respected third parties.
– Secured by Design (SBD), the official police security initiative
– Part of The Building Research Establishment (BRE), the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) sets standards around fire and security products in www.redbooklive.com
You can approach suppliers and discuss your requirements and many will provide free advice. Of course, you can take the advice given with a pinch of salt, but consulting widely helps you build a picture of what is available.
6. Integrate with other security measures
Make sure that your perimeter security system can be integrated with other security measures, such as access control and CCTV. Well-integrated systems should work together and ‘talk’ to each other to provide extensive cover. As not all systems communicate with each other, you could end up with lots of expensive electronics that work independently, providing an ineffective overall solution.
7. Specify an effective solution
Perimeter security systems may need to meet a wide range of requirements, not just securing the boundary and entrances. They might need to include measures to prevent against vehicle-borne home attack, protect critical areas such as on-site fuel stores, as well as factor in the lighting, surveillance and intrusion detection systems in place.
Consider how the perimeter security solution, be it a metal or timber fence, blends in with the surroundings and whether it advertises the fact that it is protecting valuable assets. There is a balance to achieve, a product that blends in with the environment and looks appealing while providing the level of security required, within budget.
Choose the right product for the job.
We often get asked for crash rated gates, but what if there is a standard gate right next to it? A criminal won’t worry about driving on grass. Remember, it only needs to do its job and no more; if you stop them – you’ve managed it.
Work with a long term partner. The LPCB RedBook lists products that have been robustly checked by independent experts.
8. Use innovation to save time & money
Keep up to date with advances in perimeter security. For example, Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems (PIDS) have reached a level of reliability that means they are being used more and more. Previously, the rate of false alarms meant these systems were often turned off, but now people have greater confidence in installing these systems. When integrated properly with CCTV to confirm the alarms, PIDS can save time and money in surveillance of a site.
Technical advances for physical security in the main involve increased adherence to standards. However, maintaining an understanding of the latest threats and how to mitigate them ensures an ongoing robust perimeter.
9. Maintain your security
Regular inspection and maintenance is vital for continued security and should be planned and budgeted for within the initial strategy. Carrying out rigorous, close-up checks is critical as smart, determined attackers can cut a fence and leave it looking in good condition, to enable future criminal activity.
10. Future proof
A formal maintenance and repair schedule helps achieve optimum product performance and functionality to the designed specification, throughout its service life.
In terms of physical security, long-term savings can be made by looking as far ahead as possible, perhaps as far as fifteen years forward. Look for perimeter security solutions with guarantees that exceed your planned timeframes, perhaps lasting twenty-five years.
For any electronic security systems, find out which support services are offered and make sure that they include system maintenance.
Avoid having systems that aren’t generally supported – the speed of technological advancements means that software may become obsolete sooner than other elements of the perimeter security.
Peter Jackson CEO, Jacksons Fencing