Integrated Security: How is it achieved?

In one of my last articles, I defined “Integrated Security Solution” as The Successful Integration of Technology and Manpower to Produce an Efficient Security Solution.

This is of course a tall order.  Who has all the skills to put such a solution together? In most of the engineering disciplines, this is achieved on the basis of :

  • Proven technology.
  • Design standards.
  • Accurate information and requirements.
  • Construction by qualified personnel.
  • Managed and maintained according to proven methods.

The same principles apply in the Security Industry.  When putting a security solution together, what is needed?

There are probably five main centres of knowledge that are vital to the success of the security solution.  They are best shown in a diagram form :

It is the Intelligence (Risk Analysis) or knowledge of the problem that defines so much about what we need to do.  This is of course a moving target, with changing risk and therefore reaction.  The only answer is that the core design must be flexible enough to allow for the changes that could occur.  A good design should have competent reporting structures, that gives management the tools to make the changes when the risk changes.  The good reporting becomes part of the intelligence and so the game of cat and mouse goes on.

Eventually, the inevitable happens.  The crooks get around the “carefully planned integrated security solution.  You are then saved by a system that was designed to give maximum information to allow for the investigation phase to move in, and catch the culprits.  This is also a time to re-evaluate the system and make improvements.
So what is needed to be able to develop the knowledge and skills required in the 5 components of the integrated security solution?

Perhaps a quick look at each component will be a good start :

1.    Theory

This is a big subject with issues such as :

•    Technical knowledge.
•    Product knowledge.
•    Criminal behaviour (criminology).
•    Urban design and architecture.
•    Manpower deployment and lines of command and control.
•    Legal issues applicable to the industry.
•    Electrical, electronic and mechanical engineering principles.
•    Manpower selection, training and deployment.

2.    Design

The design is usually developed from the Risk Analysis, or as some call, the Needs Analysis.  The designer however will rely heavily on the theory and of course experience from successful previous designs.    The Design phase should follow a structured process with clear methods of documenting requirements so the communication with the construction teams are optimized.

3.    Construction

In the absence of formal training in the security sector this remains an issue that needs attention.  Good construction techniques improve reliability and life of the installation.  It also increases the chance of the system performing as designed.

The use of :

  • Relevant standards
  • Correct tools
  • Correct installation materials
  • Manufacturers training courses

Will go a long way to improving the situation.  In Africa the correct selection of materials in the harsh environment is also important.

Finally, the commissioning and handover phase of construction often needs the most attention.

4.    Management

The management part of the solution has the manpower deployment component and the maintenance component.

An understanding of the training, communication and reporting structures is needed to put this together and maintain efficient solutions.  
Implementing proper lines of command and control, discipline, procedures and staff motivation are vital.

This component needs to keep the client informed as well as ensuring the client is aware of the overall security plan and its effectiveness.  This is often the recurring costs to the client, with yearly increases.  It needs careful planning and control, with regular audit to ensure compliance with the plan.

5.    Intelligence

The purest will  refer you to the “intelligence cycle”.  This is usually described as :

  • Planning – The management function that requires intelligence.
  • Collection – Collecting relevant information.
  • Processing – Putting the information into a form that can be analysed.
  • Analysis – Studying the information to draw conclusions.
  • Dissemination – Documenting and handing over the intelligence to the person who needs to use it.

It is also said that two pieces of information from independent, reliable sources, with the same details, is Intelligence.

In our case, we need to understand what problem we want to solve.  The above process is a good way of going about the analysis in a structured manner.  The formal Risk Analysis also has its place in this area of work.

After all that, the security solution is like playing a musical instrument.  You will be continually fine tuning it to get the best result.

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