5 Steps to Develop Effective Physical Security Measures


A big part of success in physical security comes not in winning battles but in avoiding them altogether. In order to make our buildings, facilities, and warehouses less attractive for would-be criminals we need to have effective preventive measures in place. Preventive measures reduce the likelihood of a deliberate attack, introduce delays, reduce vulnerabilities, or otherwise cause an attack to be unsuccessful. Let’s talk security! 

Preventive Measures

Gate barrier parking lot.
Preventive measures protect vulnerable resources and introduce delays.

Preventive measures protect vulnerable resources, introduce delays, and make an attack unsuccessful or reduce its impact. They include both physical and psychological deterrents. Physical security measures such as anti-climb fences, bollards, and locks are physical deterrents. Even more effective than these are psychological deterrents such as security cameras, security guards, and high-tech security innovations such as mobile surveillance devices. A quote from the great Bill Russell actually teaches us a lot about the key to effective preventive measures:

“The idea is NOT to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot.”

-Bill Russell
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Physical Security Prevention

Dome security camera building lobby.

When it comes to physical security, prevention is the most desirable option. Enhancing existing security systems and introducing appropriate security measures based on vulnerability assessments are crucial to preventing security incidents.

Security Vulnerability Assessment is the process that includes determining the likelihood of an adversary’s successfully exploiting vulnerability, and the resulting degree of damage or impact. Based on this assessment, judgments can be made on the need for additional countermeasures.

Security experts agree that the three most important components of a physical security plan are access control, surveillance, and security testing, which work together to make your space more secure.

5 Steps to Develop Effective Physical Security Measures

Security professional viewing data.

Since it is difficult to completely eradicate all risks, we must rely on sound principles that improve our security posture. Here is a five-step process to develop effective physical security measures:

  1. First, an organization should commission the Chief Security Officer (CSO) or consult with a security professional to conduct a threat assessment of its facilities and operations. The purpose of this analysis is to identify significant hazards and determine the risks of a security incident.
  2. The second step is to establish monitoring protocols to ensure that operations are not disrupted by identifying critical control points (the locations, processes, functions, or times when the operation is most at risk) and critical control points (the locations, processes, functions, or times when the operation is most at risk).
  3. With the above data, we can assess significant threats or hazards, as well as exposure, to evaluate the probability of occurrence and critical control points.
  4. Now we are ready to develop and implement preventive measures to reduce hazards. These preventive measures will be a combination of architectural, operational, and system measures.
  5. Finally, we can confidently develop security monitoring procedures for each critical control point.

It is important to note that monitoring procedures are systematic, periodic activities meant for ensuring that critical controls are in place and not compromised in any way. Equally as important to note is that this is a continuous process that requires a collaborative approach.

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David Santiago (@DavidSecurity) is a veteran United States Marine and Certified Security Professional with more than 15 years of security operations experience. Make sure to follow his blog and connect with him on LinkedIn to receive regular security management insights.

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Published by DavidSecurity

A Security Professional helping International organizations and travelers THRIVE Safely.

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