COVID-19 Corporate Risk – Protection of Physical Premises During Lockdown

COVID-19 Business Lockdown

One of the aspects of the decision by President Ramaphosa to lockdown South Africa that has serious security implications for businesses around the country is the fact that their physical premises will be completely unoccupied for the 21-day duration. This obviously excludes those businesses which are deemed to be “essential service providers”.

Certain businesses within business parks will take solace in the fact that there is a manned guarding presence to facilitate and restrict access during the lockdown, but is this enough, and furthermore, what of the businesses that are not in an enclosed and guarded business park?

In this article we will look at some of the most critical aspects of a corporate security program that may prove to be invaluable for businesses with a balanced security design concept in place, and conversely, may provide valuable insight to those businesses with only the most rudimentary security measures in place.

Layering Security Measures:

No single security measure should ever be relied on to protect a business’s critical assets. The best security programs are those which comprise of multiple layers which include different kinds of measures designed to complicate the adversary path. These measures should be configured to, first and foremost, detect an adversary at the earliest possible point, following which there should be adequate measures in place to delay the adversary for long enough to allow for a response force to intervene and disrupt the adversary before the action has been successfully carried out.

This methodology is often referred to as protection in depth, conceptualised below:

COVID-19 Corporate Protection

COVID-19 Corporate Security – Layering Security Measures

A key factor of any protection in depth configuration is that the physical security layers should become stronger as we get closer to the critical assets. For example, a perimeter wall or fence, even one with electric fencing can be penetrated within seconds, a strong door at the entrance of a building in perhaps a minute or two, and a good safe in which the critical assets are stored may provide a delay of up to 60 minutes. These measures, when combined, should provide your response service provider with ample time to intervene and disrupt the adversary action before it is completed.

Augment Your Security Program with Manpower:

Security programs should never rely solely on a physical guarding service provider to secure a business. In essence, guards should form a single layer in the protection in depth methodology described above, and should be deployed at strategic locations throughout a facility or business premises.

The deployment schedule should also take into account the working regime and specific requirements that may change at different times of the day. For instance, during working hours, the primary objective of the security guard force will be to administer access control. After hours, when most businesses have closed their doors for the day, access control is no longer the primary requirement and focus will likely be placed on routine patrols around the premises or building, or possibly the monitoring of CCTV from a central guard house or control room.

Irrespective of your company’s security requirements, it is strongly advised that you only seek the provision of services from highly reputable service providers with multiple quality assurance mechanisms in place. Sometimes, the greatest threat can come from within, and guards are not immune to the advances of external criminal elements.

Audit Your Infrastructure Frequently:

All aspects of your corporate security program should be audited at least once per month. Physical security layers, such as electric fences, intrusion detection systems and CCTV should be tested regularly to ensure they are running optimally.

Your security guard force should also be subject to frequent quality control checks. Occurrence books, access registers and any other procedural documentation should be thoroughly checked to ensure the procedures set out are being followed. Remember, while physical security measures may be the building blocks of your security program, procedures can be considered the “cement” that bonds them together in a symbiotic relationship.

Importantly, your armed response service provider should also be subject to response time tests at least twice per month. This will help you to gauge response times, after all, what value is a response service that only arrives 20, 30 or 40 minutes after receipt of an alarm signal?

This article has merely touched on a few of the critical aspects of a corporate security program that may be more pertinent now, given the lockdown of the country. It will likely also illustrate the importance of being proactive about your security as opposed to reactive. If you are to take anything away from this article, let it be the fact that it’s not too late to identify the inadequacies of your security program and fill in the gaps to ensure the safety of your staff, premises and assets.  

Contact us today to enquire about our corporate risk assessment services. info@nsa-global.com

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COVID-19 South Africa LockdownCrisis Management