Are you making the right security investment?

October 18th, 2018
higher education campus security

Security in today’s institutes of higher learning is complex.  Schools must maintain an environment of open access and free exchange of ideas while still providing a safe and secure campus for students, staff and visitors.  

Developing the necessary physical security measures to support the 24/7 operation of a higher education campus requires coordinating teams of professionals, understanding the planning and construction process and a clear understanding of your vulnerabilities.  On top of that, for every security challenge that exists, there are ways to mitigate vulnerabilities through either procedures or design and construction. But even when you have this knowledge, how do you make sure that you are making the right investment in security?

Here are five questions to ask before you make an investment in security:

  • Is security needed? Security projects should address specific vulnerabilities and threats.  Understanding the threat and why your organization is vulnerable will help when it comes to determining project requirements, and any project needs accurate requirements to be successful.  Crime statistics from credible sources like your local police department or a paid service can help you better understand potential threats. Consultants are also a good source of information on threats and vulnerabilities.
  • What are the options?  Security will always be a cost, but there often a range of mitigation options.  Very rarely is there only one possible solution. Weigh options and be sure to select one which fits your budget and more importantly, your organization’s culture.
  • Are you trying to solve a management issue with technology? For example, an electronic access control system can provide visibility into when employees are coming and going; however, it is not a panacea for resolving attendance issues.
  • If considering a system, are you looking beyond the technology?   Systems by themselves do not provide security.  Systems detect activity. Timely response to that activity is what provides security.  There is no point in having an alarm system if a thief can be in and out before the police can get there.
  • Does your solution have side effects?  What if you had to go through TSA screening every time you entered your campus?  Time costs and morale impact are important to look at when considering a security solution.  Sometimes a security measure might actually create a vulnerability. If a security measure impedes efficient operations, your people will find a way to circumvent it.   

Interested in learning more about how a threat and vulnerability assessments of your facilities can help you make the most of your facilities security budget?
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For more information on AE Works’ Security Risk Management services and to see how we can help assess your facility vulnerabilities and protect what’s important:

Read more on AE Works’ blog:  When can security input best add value to your capital project?