When planning to install or upgrade the security for your facility, it’s tempting to purchase the cheapest offering and install only what’s required to secure your permits. But consider the potential losses of burglary, vandalism or arson. Will insurance fully cover all your losses if there is an incident? And what about the loss of sales while getting production back up and running?
Fences, walls and controlled access points around the perimeter of restricted areas are a vital barrier to unauthorized entry. But what additional security considerations should you weigh? Here are four questions to ask when adding to or upgrading the physical security solutions of your business.
- How good is the outdoor lighting around the facility?
Burglary, vandalism and arson almost always occur at night. A well-lit perimeter is a basic but essential tool to assist in the deterrence, detection and identification of criminals. Quality lighting is essential to ensure exterior detection technologies work efficiently. It will also help internet protocol cameras get high-quality video footage to identify criminals if an incident were to occur.
Lighting is a key element of crime deterrence through environmental design. Property crimes decrease substantially in well-lit areas.
- What are additional ways to deter potential intruders?
Deterrence is the preferred option to detection. The sooner you can dissuade unwanted visitors, the better chance you have for avoiding damage or loss.
Various options, including strobe lights and/or sirens, can be installed on the exterior of the facility and triggered with different detection technologies. When activated, a flashing light, loud siren or pre-recorded message can disorient and scare away potential burglars before they’ve entered your property.
If they do attempt entrance, basic intrusion alarm devices like door contacts can be augmented with motion detectors, glass-break sensors and video analytics. These technologies, along with security cameras, work as visual verification of an event, which is required in some jurisdictions to dispatch police.
Depending on the value of the product on hand, additional countermeasures are now available including devices that quickly fill the area with a dense fog (harmless to people and product) that eliminates all visibility. Likewise, areas with access control may consider using mag lock bolts that make door penetration exceptionally difficult in short time periods.
Ideally, your initial design will include multiple perimeters/rings of protection. If an intruder breaches one perimeter, they’ll encounter additional barriers before reaching their target. Each barrier and alarm is designed to slow the criminal down and allow time for police or security personnel to respond.
- How easy is it to find and share video evidence of an incident?
Unfortunately, some older intrusion alarm technology activated a lot of false alarms. Many were caused by wind rattling doors that tripped contacts. Others by faulty, low-voltage wiring. More than 99% of all business intrusion alarms are false.
In almost all cities, if police are called and there is no evidence of a break-in, businesses are fined. Repeat false alarm violations can even cause the business to be denied police response. As a result, law enforcement in many cities now require “visual verification” before dispatching officers to an alarm call.
Visual verification of an actual intrusion can either be provided by someone on-site seeing the event, or by use of on-premise video streaming to a person who verifies it’s real. It’s far faster, safer and less expensive to have video provide that verification than a guard service or an employee driving to the facility.
This makes having cameras and video management that easily integrates with the intrusion and access control systems such an important factor in your decision. Ask your security provider if they can set up automated visual verification. If your access control and intrusion systems are combined with video, an alarm will automatically display the cameras from the specific zone without needing human intervention.
After any event, sharing evidence with law enforcement, and internal and external stakeholders, can be a daunting task. If you’ve ever tried to email a video clip, you understand that file size is typically restricted.
This problem partially contributed to the advent of streaming services like YouTube for sharing videos. But you can’t do that with evidence that needs to be tightly controlled to meet privacy and chain-of-custody requirements. Other alternatives like zip drives don’t fill this need either, as they can be lost, or simply won’t play the video in its native format without downloading additional software.
There is a solution. Cloud-based video evidence mangement platforms allow you to quickly and easily share video evidence. They are permission-based, secure and offer full audit capability to meet chain-of-custody requirements
- What options are available for intrusion monitoring?
Most jurisdictions require 24/7 monitoring of intrusion detection systems in cannabis facilities. Many operators choose to hire specialized intrusion monitoring companies that charge monthly or annually to provide the services required. Several intrusion monitoring providers can offer video verification where required. Some even offer bi-directional audio so employees can communicate directly with the central station in the event of an emergency. Live talk down can also be used to ward off potential intruders if mics and speakers are configured as part of the security design. These are all optional services in addition to the base monitoring charges.
Depending on how large your enterprise becomes, monthly service charges can add up to a significant cost outlay. To eliminate those costs, some larger operators set up their own security operations centers. The SOCs monitor video and access control for operations and security during the day and intrusion overnight. These SOCs are also used to conduct loss prevention investigations and safety and comply with various security regulations.
No matter which options you choose, you’ll need to develop standard operating procedures to guide security teams through the appropriate steps if a potential threat is detected. This includes who to notify, how to investigate an alarm and when to notify law enforcement. SOPs should also document all steps taken during an attempted or actual breach to make sure procedures were followed. This allows your business to identify and address any vulnerabilities revealed by an intrusion event.
This may all sound daunting, but there are open architecture security management platforms available that can automate your entire SOP process as well as provide the audit logs and timelines of how efficiently it was handled. Automation makes opening, investigating and closing these events a quick and easy process. It also all ensures every detail was followed.
By making the right choice upfront on your security management platform, you’ll have multiple options down the road as your business grows.
Scott Thomas is Genetec’s national director of sales for signature brands in the United States. He and his team are responsible for sales to the retail, financial, hospitality, gaming and cannabis vertical markets via Genetec’s network of system integration partners.