With 30 years of experience in the security business, I’ve seen a lot of mistakes. Most of these oversights are simple and easy to correct. Unfortunately, aversion to change is common. I often hear people say, “That’s the way we’ve always done things.” Another common phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
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A while back I met “Reggie”. He was a Regional Security Manager for a midsize automotive and scrap business. He employed me to add layered security to a few of his sites in high-risk areas. Years later we bumped into each other at an industry trade show. He wanted to show off one of his local sites and invited me on a tour later that day.
When we arrived at the site, it was busy. Numerous people were walking around the yard, coming in and out of the offices and through the gate. Reggie told me to look around the yard and we would catch up after he finished in the office.
The first security flaw I noticed was that I was not asked to sign in or even to put on a safety vest. As I walked the perimeter of the yard, it got worse. There were several security breaches in the fence. A few holes looked to have been cut years ago. The back gate had a chain with a piece of wire looped through to hold it closed; no lock. I observed more than 10 people roaming around who did not appear to work onsite. I was never approached by anyone to inquire as to my purpose for being there. It appeared this site had no procedure for admitting people on the yard. There also seemed to be no supervision or security measures in place for non-personnel.
Reggie and I caught back up shortly after my walk around the site. He asked what I thought and I could tell he was proud of this facility. I felt it was my duty to notify him of the immense potential for loss at this site. Without a secure border and some type of access control, it was just a matter of time before theft occurred. Reggie agreed that he should invest more in security at this site. However, this site was making good profits. He feared making security changes would slow down operations. Since things were running smoothly, he didn’t think the organization would support security changes either.
A few weeks later, I received a theft/alert email about this site. The article stated the site had suffered a significant loss. It was discovered that several employees orchestrated the theft. This incident also resulted in the loss of their two largest customers going to another, more secure vendor.
After giving him some time to recuperate from the loss I decided to check on Reggie and see how he was doing. When I arrived the first thing I noticed was that the fence line had been repaired. They added a turnstile gate for customers coming and going, thus controlling the flow of foot traffic. Cameras had even been added at key points on the building. Unfortunately, my friend Reggie was no longer there. It seemed the old system was broken and in need of change. A new regional security manager was brought in to do this.
The most common mistake I see people make is assuming everything is fine. Waiting until theft occurs to make change is too late. Don’t be complacent. Take action now!
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