John Briggs, operations director – First Security discusses another crucial topic in security in his regular and exclusive column for Infologue. John Writes: “Can security companies strike the right balance between maintaining a warm welcome and ensuring a safe environment?
“Approximately 55 per cent of first impressions are based on overall appearance, and people often decide whether or not they like you, and will do business with you, within the first 10 seconds of an encounter.
“With this in mind, larger corporations are increasingly conscious about first impressions and the appearance of their buildings. Constructing a security solution that is in keeping with such an ambiance is often difficult because, as soon as preventative measures are put into place, they can contradict the very notion of a friendly environment.
“So how can industry strike the right balance – between portraying a welcoming atmosphere whilst at the same time maintaining high levels of security?
“In our experience at First Security we have found that the key to creating the correct balance is through having a clear understanding of the potential threats that a building faces and putting in a number of small but effective preventative measures to reduce risk. This way, security measures can be operating subtly in the background without being apparent to the visitor.
“For instance, knowing how terrorists work can help security teams to identify weak areas and breach points in an organisation. Evacuation points are increasingly becoming prime targets because they are an area where potentially large numbers of people will congregate. Equipped with this knowledge, security managers can therefore ensure that refuge points are kept completely clear, using simple tactics such as removing waste bins and keeping trees cut back as much as possible.
“Likewise, creating a balance of manned guards that are complimented with technological solutions means that there is a strong security presence that isn’t necessarily obvious to the unattached observer.
“Finally, a thorough understanding of the building and how it operates means that security can be multi-layered, with the people that are entering and leaving the building exposed to only one aspect at a time.
“For example, a security approach could first focus on perimeter protection and behind that there may be further security layers such as manned guards, the reception area, signing in books or electronic tags that only give access to permitted areas. This combined approach gives reassuringly visual snippets of security but is not obstructive to the atmosphere that a building is trying to portray.
“In conclusion, the right security solution does not have to be brash or unfriendly. Instead, small measures can be implemented at key breach points to reduce risk, which build collectively to form a wider security picture – just like a cog in a watch or a layer of an onion – without infringing on the welcoming environment that a business works so hard to retain.”