Be Ready When Security Questions Are Asked

  August 29, 2011

I’m Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management. Today's tip is to have a plan ready when asked about your security preparations.

If you are responsible for security, you know how difficult it is to justify funding for security measures — until a security breach happens. At that point, senior management gets involved and one question will be asked: "What do you need to prevent this from happening again?" This is your opportunity to make the most of a security event and obtain the resources you need to be proactive to help avoid future events. If you are not prepared with a solid answer, the opportunity may be lost.

It is always worthwhile to be prepared to explain what resources you need to address security risks. Even if a security breach doesn't occur, having information ready can help you justify needed measures. If an incident does happen, you probably won't have time to do all the homework required for a good security plan.

Having a plan is essential. The planning should adopt a holistic, all-security-risks approach. Although it may not be seen, the playbook needs to be well written as there is a chance senior management will ask to see it. If it is not available to be presented immediately, the implementation of the plan could be delayed.

Remember the old philosophical question, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" It's much the same with security. How would anyone know that a security program is effective without an occurrence to test it? For instance, how do you show that the camera installed over the door acted as a deterrent to the person who was contemplating a violent act if the act did not occur? The answer is simple. You can't.

That is one reason why budget justifications are challenging for security. Compounding the problem is that security is a cost center and does not drive revenue. To top it off, security breaches are rare. It is easy for top executives to take security for granted, but complacency is a breeding ground for disaster.


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