Site Surveys: A Closer Look at Security
Part 2: Assessing the Results of an Electronic Security System Site Survey
Assessing the Results of an Electronic Security System Site Survey
By Randall R. Nason, P.E., CPP - January 2010 - Security
An ESS site survey normally produces the following information:
System evaluation. The report should include written documentation of the condition of the existing ESS, including subsystems. This assessment should include an evaluation of the condition and operability of the system and its components, as well as a discussion of system effectiveness. Just because a system operates as intended does not mean it reduces risk.
Upgrade recommendations. The consultant will identify deficiencies in the condition or use of the existing ESS and make upgrade recommendations to rectify system shortcomings. These recommendations could range from completely replacing an obsolete system the manufacturer no longer supports to modifying activities, such as preventive maintenance and software upgrades.
Concept-level drawings. An ESS survey might determine the system does not protect all critical areas or assets. In this case, the system must expand to include new assets, facilities or areas the initial ESS implementation simply missed. The survey team then might use existing or new facility floor plans to illustrate the recommended upgrades, including device type, location, and coverage.
Cost estimate. In part, cost determines the decision to proceed with a project in most organizations. So each upgrade recommendation should include a cost estimate for the security equipment and the labor to install it. The estimate also must include needed site preparation to prepare the facility for effective implementation of ESS components.
Typically, these steps include minor repairs, such as replacing broken or hollow-core doors if the criticality of the asset justifies either a metal or solid-core wooden door. At other times, site preparation can be more extensive, such as installing an exterior lighting system to support a CCTV system or upgrading the power or communications system for a remote facility.
The site survey provides a starting point for upgrading a site's security. Because of this central role, the consultant must perform the survey carefully and thoroughly to properly scope and fund future activities. Obviously, the earliest formulation of functional requirements occurs during the survey stage, and it provides the boundary conditions for all future upgrades.
Randall R. Nason, P.E., is a certified protection professional (CPP) and a corporate vice president and manager of the security consulting group with C.H. Guernsey & Co., a security consulting firm in Oklahoma City.
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