Effective Security Management

June 1, 2001

4 Min Read
Effective Security Management

Effective Security Management

Creating a plan for protection, prevention

By James Biesterfeld

Thesecurity program at your self-storage facility should be managed like any otherspecial project, but when is the right time to start planning? By far, the besttime to start is prior to construction, when the plans are still"wet," so to speak. This way, you won't have to worry aboutretrofitting your facility, which can involve more cost in the long run. If youmust retrofit, then so be it. Whatever phase of development you may be in, it'snever too late to think about security management.

So, how do you proceed? You have three options: First, you can organize yourown security program, but be prepared for a serious time commitment in researchand planning. Or you can hire an alarm company that would be responsible forproviding and installing the bulk of your technical security equipment. Theupside to this option is dealing with professionals; the downside is thoseprofessionals have a vested interest in selling you a specific product--theirs.Your third option is to hire an independent consultant, the benefit to which isyou have a professional who should be able to handle all aspects of yourprogram. On the other hand, consultants are generally more expensive, and youwill still have to find contractors to provide equipment and installation.Whatever option you choose, get ready, for it is now time for you to develop ThePlan.

The Plan

In developing your security plan, you must first identify your threat. Whatis it you want to protect? What are your biggest security concerns? Once youhave answered these questions, visit your local police department'scrime-prevention representative and learn about the nature of criminal activityin your area and how it may apply to your facility. This information will becritical.

Every good program has a plan, and security is no different. Your plan shouldinclude each of the following:

  • Policies and procedures

  • Access controls

  • Physical security

You must develop solid policies and procedures to operate your securityprogram. These should include such things as client contracts,hiring/termination procedures, training programs for employees, fire safety,etc. Once you have completed this task, you have the solid foundation on whichyour security program will rest. Conducting pre-employment background checks,facility inspections and even background checks on prospective clients will allbe a part of your policies and procedures. Strict adherence to those proceduresmust be practiced in order for them to remain effective.

Your access-control system will provide the manner in which employees,clients and visitors will enter your facility and move around within it. Youwill have policies regarding the flow of people and vehicles into the facility,and your physical security program will have the technology to enforce it.

Your site's physical security is the hardware of your program. Fences, gates,lights, locks, closed-circuit television and even your landscaping all meshtogether to provide the protection you require for your site. Your technologyneeds will be based on where your site is located, the level of crime in thearea, etc.

Once these aspects have been evaluated, you may then determine the level oftechnology required. You may opt for high, tubular, steel fences supported bysuperior lighting and cameras at integral locations. You may choose to augmentthis formidable perimeter with landscaping of natal plum or bougainvillea, orhearty bushes with long, pointed spines, along the interior of your fence line.Use of "beam" systems inside your perimeter is another technologyoption. Access into the facility through the use of an electronic keypad systemor proximity card system is also beneficial to access controls.

Take all these elements into consideration, put your plan together, thenimplement it. As you can see, no one aspect of The Plan stands alone. Each partis important and supports the other pieces of the whole. Once your plan iscomplete, put it to work for you. Review it every so often so it remains aviable part of your business structure. Make changes as they are required basedon new or improved data.

The security of your facility is no small undertaking and could result ismajor capital expenditures. But in our modern world, a security program isessential in reducing your liability potential across the board. The better yourprogram, the lower your risk.

Planning is the key. Training keeps it going.

James Biesterfeld is a retired special agent (counterintelligence) forU.S. Army Intelligence, where he specialized in counter-espionage andcounter-terrorism. Presently, he is the owner of Sovereign Executive Services, aCalifornia-based security consulting firm. Interested readers may contact him at888.50.THREAT.

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