In the design of an effective perimeter security system, consideration must be given to the various threat areas (low, medium and high) as well as the type of physical barrier that is erected around the estate or building. Based on this information, the design would involve the matching of the right technologies and systems to provide sufficient pre- and post-event information to mobilize a manned response team to an exact position.

Being in the Industry for many years I have come across many incorrect applications, ideal solutions overlooked, security systems with a poor operational plan or an ineffective solution due to external risk. Understandably, when receiving advice and quotes we tend to trust that the advice and application is in line with all the above-mentioned factors, and not for the reward of the sale.

A good way to ensure this happens, is to make use of someone independent. If you use the services of an expert with years of experience, they can add huge value by sharing a wealth of knowledge with you that is unbiased or encumbered by the need not to push the services that forms part of their core business. An independent consultant will offer you the best proactive and/or reactive solution that will best protect you without the undue influence of vendors or service providers.

Should you not wish to take on the advisory services of an independent security expert, I have provided some insight into a few common mistakes that are best to be aware of and avoided:

  1. Choose your service provider carefully

A typical scenario when developing, is security experts who advise developers, architects, engineers or project teams of the best solution that they can provide for the required development. It is not always the best or most proactive solution for the client however it is suggested and preferred over other more suitable or practical solutions, due to it being that specific companies core business. It often only becomes apparent when the security fails, equipment fails and/or on-going costs to repair, upkeep, upgrade and maintain sky rockets.

  1. Do not install a security system in response to a crime crisis

After an incident or loss, we tend to want every security application, and sometimes it is not necessary to secure your premises and it becomes an “overkill “to your actual requirements – many a salesman sell on fear

  1. Design your security systems with the correct HR requirements needed

A proactive CCTV solution linked to a 24-hour on-site control room is a great solution if the HR requirements are considered. Have you accounted for the correct caliber of staffing/guarding required to manage and issue access cards, monitor and respond to breaches. Soon the establishment becomes dissatisfied with the security system and they do not use it in the way it was designed.

  1. Do not design your system with too little or too much capacity

Larger developments and expansion are not always taken into consideration when initially installing a security system and they can be designed with just enough capacity to handle the current needs. Examples: The facility has 62 card readers so a 64-card reader capacity is advised, however in a month after operation the facility find that they require 20 more card readers. Suddenly the simple task of programming and delivering the additional readers becomes an expensive and inconvenient scenario.

Another example could be that a facility requires 30 cameras so a switch with a capacity for 32 cameras is suggested, however the company had plans to install an additional 20 cameras in six months’ time.

As much as too little capacity can inhibit your additional security requirements, and be costly so can too much capacity. When a client asks a security sales rep for a “top-of-the-line “ security system, this can sometimes be like waving a red flag in front of a bull. This can lead to a too advanced system is installed, that is not required even if there is planned growth it would still be an overkill. There can be large costly software upgrades linked to such systems that are not considered.

  1. Do not install security systems that are too complicated for the user or highly-customized to one user

A sophisticated electronic security system is designed and installed. The users are mostly not technically minded and do not understand the elaborate sequence of the system. Thus, much of the security equipment that has been installed is underutilized. Or it is designed with the input of a security manager and his needs, and not specifically the organization’s needs. This will be adequate and probably work very well, until this manager leaves the company.

If you choose to make use of the services of an independent security advisor then ensure that they have the correct credentials to work with your design team to assist to design buildings that are safe, secure and cost effectively managed from a security perspective.

Additional area of value of using an independent advisor would be to use them to assess your quotes/tenders from security providers, equipment installers, manufacturers, system integrators and guarding companies. They can provide help with the analysis of pricing, technical capabilities and even offer independent recommendations for vendor selections.

Their experience should cover security experience within the industry, products and integrated system knowledge, knowledge of a range of applications and services, technical knowledge as well as operational experience. Whether you require a new solution or to improve on a current security system, then the above expertise is imperative.

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