Anthony J Tesar*
The business of monitoring

So far, all the security articles I have written have related in some way or other to the use of electronic security systems to protect your organisation or facilities and a justification as to how, through a Security Risk Assessment (SRA) you can determine just what is needed and why. Any system is quite capable of doing the job it is designed to do, as long as it is maintained and serviced regularly to keep it in good operational condition. 

But systems are only effective if they are properly managed, monitored and if their data is effectively analysed. Even in the increasingly progressive high tech environment in which we now live, we are still a long way away from Artificial Intelligence and Robotics entirely taking over from the humans.

People are still very much part of the security infrastructure and if properly considered and utilised can provide a major advantage to any organisation, both in how they project your business’s attitude to security and how they would deal with a serious event should it arise. 

In many cases, a physical, human, security element is considered very much secondary when planning a security strategy. This is primarily due to most of the budget being soaked up in the design phase when the electronic systems are planned and monthly salary outgoings are often far higher compared to the lower service/maintenance costs of equipment. Sometimes unrealistically low wage expectations from the employer, along with the constant cutting of budgets for this type of service, reduces the quality of the personnel provided to them and ultimately negatively impacts the benefits that these personnel can provide to an organisation. 

Paying more money for the outsourcing of security personnel is part of a solution, but that should be used in conjunction with rigorous monitoring to ensure you are getting the high standard of services you expect. It will also send the right message to the provider of personnel that your organisation is serious about security and that you are fully prepared to work with them to achieve this end.

An organisation may require guards or security personnel to man receptions desks, secure external entry points, car parks, provide escort duties, mobile patrols and any other duties deemed important and justified in the Security Risk Assessment and Corporate Security Manual. Once locations, numbers and roles have been identified by your organisation, it is essential that this is highlighted in any tender/service level agreement that is signed with an outsourced ‘manned guarding’ provider. 

Your expectations on the quality of personnel provided should always be clearly stipulated. Personnel used on reception desks that interact with customers or the public must have good communication skills, may need to be multi-lingual and be able to project the image of the company that they are hired to work for. In many cases, these personnel are the first point of contact upon arrival at your facility and will say much about you. 

No-one knows your organisation better than you do, so providing extra training to outsourced personnel on areas that are peculiar to your facility is never wasted. Understanding the fire, safety and emergency plans, first aid providers and internal maintenance structures are all important considerations. Ultimately, your organisation should share responsibility and ownership of the personnel that are contracted to protect you, and if that is achieved, it will greatly assist in the deterrence and mitigation measures you have and deal optimally with any threats you face. 

I will look at more physical security considerations next week. I will consider the role of internal security employees and discuss control room manning as part of a security structure.

*Anthony J
Tesar / CEO / Le Beck International / 

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