4  FM quick reads on security

1. 'Road Map' Can Help Guide Security Plans


This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip is that a security road map can help guide your planning and preparation.

"Be prepared" may be a cliché, but when lives are on the line the advice is well worth heeding. For facility managers and security directors, being prepared means more than having security measures in place to address the biggest risks to life and property. It means having a strategic road map that will guide security decisions and enable a facility manager or security director to make the right choices in an emergency.

Funding for security measures is very difficult to come by — until something goes wrong. Concern for security rises when senior executives read about an incident at another facility. And it's up to the facility manager or security director to be prepared with the right answers if questions come from higher up in the organization.

A strategic security road map can help provide those answers, says Robert Lang, assistant vice president, strategic security and safety, and chief security officer, Kennesaw State University. That road map is based on a careful, ongoing analysis of facility needs as well as technologies, policies and procedures that can address those needs. Lang's road map extends five years into the future. He knows he won't get funding for everything he'd like to enhance the security program, at least not right away. But the road map shows what he'd like to do and when.

Taking a strategic approach helps facility managers and security directors to avoid making poor decisions if an emergency leads top management to ask for action. The road map may not have been submitted for approval, but it should be ready in case something happens and you need a solution quickly.


2.  Securing Co-location Data Centers

This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip is that co-location data centers offer unique security challenges.

Co-location data centers provide multiple customers with the ability to locate network, server and storage gear through a shared infrastructure, minimizing both capital and operational costs for users. With a number of tenants in a variety of space configurations, co-location data centers face a unique infrastructure security challenge. Because co-location data centers can be typically subdivided by cages or just by individual cabinets or IT racks, electronic access control is key.

Cages should be treated as rooms, with locks so that air conditioning is the only element shared. Tenants should gain access only to their own cage through an active card reader or similar equipment at the cage itself. For smaller clients that want just a cabinet or two, specify access control down to the cabinet level to provide individual access. This will allow security personnel to track who is in each space moment-to-moment. For example, if there are five clients in one area serving different racks, tracking who was where when something goes down will be streamlined.

Similarly, monitoring can be another function of the access control system in a co-lo data center. Personnel can monitor access to cages, cabinets and racks to determine who is in the building, which tenants have their doors open, closed, etc. By having a dedicated security IP network, the security team can maintain tight control over security communications and allow for 24/7/365 operation, which can be a great selling point to prospective tenants.

3.  Communication is key to good multitenant security

This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip is that communication between stakeholders is critical when designing a security system in a multitenant building.

Good communication is not only effective; it's also cheap. But that doesn't mean it's easy, especially when it comes to designing a security system for a multitenant building. The problem, say security consultants, is that everyone has to be willing to meet on a regular basis to discuss security concerns. And they have to fully understand expectations and procedures.
Everyone does fire drills, but what about elevator entrapment and bomb threats? Those may not happen very often, but the building owner has to be prepared if they do occur.
Kelly Klatt, chief executive officer for the Center for Security Solutions, advocates open lines of communication that are established from the outset of tenancy. The need for communication isn't limited to owners and tenants. During construction, for example, it is imperative that operating staff be part of the construction meetings.
An anecdote offered by Klatt illustrates what happens when operating staff isn't present in construction meetings; this particular project involved a hotel, but it could easily have been a multitenant office building.
On this project, the fire control room and security room were next to one another, but not connected. Had the operating staff been in the meetings, they could have stipulated the two rooms be connected via a short hallway. But that wasn't the case. As a result, the night security guard had to leave the security room with the cameras and walk around two rooms to gain access to the fire-control room. Ultimately, the situation was solved by putting a remote control panel in the security room that allowed night security staff to acknowledge alarms.

4.  Security System Design in Multitenant Buildings Requires Cooperation

This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip is that designing a security system in a multitenant building requires getting all the tenants on the same page.

After the initial information-gathering, and once there is a good understanding of the facilities and the various tenant operations, an initial common meeting of the tenants to discuss the facility's overall security needs and operations is a good beginning. Some types of tenants express particular concern about integrating systems. That's especially true of professional services tenants, such as legal and accounting firms.

The main system manufacturer often becomes an item of contention. And while there are systems that can communicate between systems, they also tend to be very expensive.

Nevertheless, integration is possible, usually via physical security information management systems. And partitioned databases, like those used for building access control, can help safeguard a tenant's client list.

Building owners might not be experts at security system integration. If not, they should look for an accredited, independent security consultant. A consultant can act as an advisor and moderate the discussion. In that case, it will be important that the consultant is hired by all parties so that there is no conflict of interest. Ultimately, the building owner and tenants might decide that greater integration of technology is needed.

Even if individual tenant systems are not integrated, getting all tenants to cooperate can yield substantial security benefits. A case in point is a package control or package pass system in the lobby of a multitenant building. The key is the tenants: They typically have to provide the person with a package pass or alert lobby security staff that a package is headed out of the building. If not, it can lead to confusion and disruption when someone leaves the building with a package, regardless of whether they're supposed to or not.


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