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A combination of security officers and cutting-edge technology is key to protecting property, assets, and people—but before a plan is put in place, corporate leaders must understand the most probable threats facing their organization.

 

A plan that relies on either security officers or surveillance cameras alone will not protect a company’s property, assets, or people. Corporate leaders must first understand the rapidly evolving threat landscape, identify the most probable threats, and then design a plan aimed at mitigating those threats with an assortment of countermeasures, including security officers and cutting-edge technologies. “If you think one or the other by itself is going to solve your security problem, we think that’s the wrong thesis,” said Global Guardian CEO Dale Buckner. “We do believe you need both.”

“You need the best of technology combined with the best of policy and the best of an actual response force,” said Buckner, adding: “And if you’re waiting for first responders to solve your problems for you, you’re going to be disappointed.”


Identifying the Threats

The United States has seen a dramatic increase in violent crime over the past few years. Murders, thefts, robberies, and carjackings have all increased. While the crime rate has dipped somewhat in 2022, it is still above pre-pandemic levels. The United States is not an outlier, however. Crime has skyrocketed in other parts of the world as well. How companies and families respond to these threats “matter in a way that it did not in the past,” Buckner said during a webinar hosted by Global Guardian on November 2 and moderated by its president of asset security, Andrew Vanderburg.

A successful corporate security leader needs to understand the nature of the threats facing their company and devise a plan to mitigate the most probable of those threats, said Frank Loveridge, vice president, director of corporate physical security at Fifth Third Bank.

Loveridge is responsible for the physical security of over 1,100 financial centers, 33 high-density buildings, and over 20,000 employees. On September 6, 2018, after only four months in his position, an active shooter killed three people and wounded two others at Fifth Third Bank’s headquarters in Cincinnati. Loveridge deals with different threats at each location, but he admits “the one thing that I always keep at the back of my mind is the insider threat or the active shooter.”

“It is important to be able to put your countermeasures in place to protect your high-density buildings,” said Loveridge. At data centers, Loveridge’s focus is on protection against infiltration and the subsequent exfiltration of data. “It is important to know [the threat] environment before putting in countermeasures,” he added.

Loveridge approaches security plans with the mantra: write it, train it, and test it. He said it is important to not just come up with a security plan, but to also train employees in how to respond to emergency situations and regularly test the plan. Buckner agreed. “It really matters that you educate and train your workforce on these topics,” he said.

Loveridge approaches security plans with the mantra: write it, train it, and test it.


Tools to Address the Threats: Pros and Cons

Security Officers

 In 2018, Loveridge said, the active shooter turned his attention to Fifth Third Bank’s headquarters after being deterred by the heavy security measures at what was believed to be his intended target: the federal courthouse across the street. In Fifth Third Bank’s lobby, the shooter saw security officers with no weapons and only their cellphones for communication, said Loveridge, adding: “The quality of the officers that I had at the time… did not meet the standards that I have put in place since then.”

Loveridge listed some advantages as well as disadvantages of having security officers on the ground.

Pros
Cons
  • Maintain a physical deterrent presence on site (Loveridge said it is important to have well-armed and well-trained security officers on the ground to provide deterrence. “The deterrence factor is very important to be able to put out there with your security officers,” he explained.)
  • Can quickly respond to investigate and report on-site issues
  • Issue temporary access control badges to visitors, contractors, or employees
  • Monitor access control systems to ensure compliance. (Loveridge discussed the importance of access control at corporate offices. His team monitors lost or stolen badges and seeks to stop tailgating or piggybacking—when an employee may hold the door open for someone coming behind them. “These are things we are trying to stop to make sure we don’t have situations where people are in the building, and we don’t know who they are,” he said.)
  • Handle onsite tasks like opening gate entrances, checking doors to ensure they are locked, and walking staff to their vehicles to ensure they are safe
  • Provide tenants/clients with a visible sense of security
  • Greet guests and patrol buildings as needed
  • The expense of manned guards is a consistent problem that isn’t likely to go away as the cost of labor continues to rise. (When it comes to cheap guards, on the other hand, Buckner said: “You get what you pay for.”)
  • Failure to report on time or at all for duty
  • Violations of personal standards and behavior, including napping on the job and streaming videos on their cellphones
  • High turnover rate as younger guards pursue alternative careers with police, fire, or medical services
  • Actions of security guards could lead to legal issues that could adversely affect a company’s reputation

 

Remote Monitoring

Mark Folmer, president of Robotic Assistance Devices (RAD), explained how advances in technology present opportunities to deliver security services. Enterprise security risk management is really pushing security teams to show value,” he said.

Folmer listed the “five Ds”—deter, detect, deny, delay, and defend—that he said can benefit from new technologies. “We’re looking to drive the value of the security service team without impacting the risk profile,” he said. “We can’t just say ‘Hey we are going to put in cameras’ and then hope for the best on a response or rely on public law enforcement for response. We can’t do that.”

“We’re looking to drive the value of the security service team without impacting the risk profile.”

Folmer said companies are increasingly challenged to do more with less, and the solution can be to apply technology in the right way to address security needs. Admittedly, technological advances give security officers the ability to expand their coverage. But remote monitoring technologies, too, come with their share of pros and cons.

Loveridge listed the pros and cons of remote monitoring.

Pros
Cons
  • Security cameras and motion sensors provide 24/7 surveillance
  • Cameras record evidence of a crime as well as enable operators to respond in real time
  • Physical presence of security cameras acts as a deterrent to criminals
  • Security cameras can cover a large surface area and can substantiate or unsubstantiate any allegations of misconduct or reports of security violations
  • Arrive at the right decision by using footage from security cameras to settle disputes or allegations
  • An access control system simplifies the management of handling employee credentials, entrance security, and tracking
  • In structures with large amounts of surface space, the cost of installing cameras to eliminate any blind spots would be astronomical
  • Remote monitoring alone can be vulnerable to access control circumvention
  • Remote monitoring can identify and report a security deficiency. However, there normally will be a lapse in time for resolution due to remote response time
  • Remote monitoring alone cannot immediately neutralize a threat
  • Access control badges without proper oversight are vulnerable to exploitation

The Solution: A Hybrid Model

Given the various advantages and disadvantages inherent in security solutions that rely only on security officers or remote-sensing technology, Loveridge described a “hybrid model” that uses a combination of technology and boots on the ground to neutralize threats and mitigate security concerns. This combination, he said, will provide:

  • A physical presence on site to deter criminal or threatening behavior
  • Real-time capabilities to neutralize threats and provide direction to employees
  • Expanded security coverage using cameras and motion sensors
  • Real-time situational awareness during a critical incident
  • Access control entry to internal sensitive areas where guard coverage would be costly
  • Ability to track employees and to assist in identifying insider threats
  • Ability to complete an investigation to resolve a criminal or noncriminal incident using remote monitoring capabilities

Picking a Service Provider

Folmer said it is important to consider whether a company’s security team has the time and knowledge to select and deploy the appropriate technologies, and whether the organization is willing to adopt a change, which he said is often a big challenge.

When it comes to picking service providers, Folmer said it is important to pick ones that are looking to a one-button approach. “What are we trying to achieve? What are we trying to get to? What is the performance that we need, not the different features that we are looking for,” he asked. What Folmer looks for in a service provider are: approach, capabilities, experience, who is on the team, and how do they work with you, and then determining whether they are good at what they do and apply solutions that address a client’s needs.

“What are we trying to achieve? What are we trying to get to? What is the performance that we need, not the different features that we are looking for.”

Another consideration is compliance. “What kind of equipment are people applying,” Folmer asked, while referring to the need for compliance with the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), for example. The NDAA prohibits the use of any security equipment that contains major components that have been constructed by companies on its blacklist. Higher cost is one of the main reasons some businesses or families opt for security products that are not NDAA compliant—and, therefore, vulnerable to hackers.

Global Guardian is NDAA compliant. It works with its clients to educate them on their current standing on NDAA compliance, the importance of such compliance, and how this affects the marketplace.


Looking to the Future

Looking at the advances in technologies, Folmer noted that robots provide autonomous and remote services. As well-trained guards become more expensive, “have a device do the basic and the mundane,” he said. And when it comes to patrolling expansive territory such as parking lots, he suggested: “Why not have a fixed or mobile device do that?”

However, he added, it is important to tie in “artificial intelligence to that accuracy and repeatability…. Having that same rule be applied the same way every single time.” This approach, he explained, allows for optimally deploying human resources.

Applying such technologies comes down to an organization’s appetite and its willingness to accept change, said Folmer, adding: “Change management becomes a key in any kind of technology deployment.” In this case, all three components of change management—people, process, and technology—“none of them stand alone,” Folmer said, adding, “In terms of delivering more, understanding that return on the investment and pushing those results by marrying the different opportunities for physical security service I think is where to go.” 

Ultimately, Buckner said, the “secret sauce” is “bringing in the best and most recent technology and then applying it over your footprint and what the threat is. I think that is the best answer.”

"The 'secret sauce' is 'bringing in the best and most recent technology and then applying it over your footprint and what the threat is. I think that is the best answer.'"


STANDING BY TO SUPPORT

Global Guardian works with Fortune 1000 corporations to secure their locations, infrastructure, and assets. To learn more about our 24/7 remote guarding, custom-built intrusion detection, asset control, and mobile solutions, click below to contact Global Guardian's 24/7 Operations Center or call us directly at +1 (703) 566-9463.


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