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The Case for Access Control

Security experts agree that the three most important components of a physical security plan are access control, surveillance and security testing, which work together to make a space more secure.

Access control has been, and I suspect will always be the most vital concern in the security space. Why? The criticality of keeping people where they belong is a basic tenant of security.

A casual attitude of employees or management toward security awareness can lead to the disastrous results. Strict rules are necessary to follow the procedures without exception.
More to the point, adherence to an established security protocol will save lives.

It is vital that security organizations commit themselves to allowing only persons with a legitimate need have access; otherwise, they should not be able to enter the gate. So, how do you keep a bad actor from entering? Vet that person by proper authorities, thereby granting access.

In an earlier life, as they say, I worked at an Air Force base in Ohio. The question during the late 1980s was whether it was mandatory for civilian employees to wear government issued identification. In the end, visible identification was not necessary, until it was. The short story is that vigilance should always be the first thought. You might not get a second opportunity to be secure.

Greg Marshall, the deputy chief security officer at DHS gets to the point quickly. In September 2021, he write that technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. “Public trust in technology has fallen. Most people are worried that the pace of technology is moving too quickly and that governments do not understand it enough to regulate it. [People] worry that technology will make it impossible to know if what people are seeing or hearing is real.”  Security professionals should be concerned, too, especially when designing security platforms and engaging in protection of their organizational assets.

Remaining current with technological advances must be high the list for all security professionals. It is imperative that professionals understand the capacities of SMART capabilities if the intent is to use it in their vertical.

Do not despair; physical security progress is apparent.

“In recent years, significant improvements have been made that influence the physical security missions within organizations. The tragic shooting events of September 16, 2013, at the Washington Navy Yard placed the issues of physical security, access control, and personnel vetting front and center in the minds of security professionals across the security landscape. Several after-action reviews conducted in the weeks following the shootings identified security weakness and the need for reform.” Marshall said.

This article originally appeared in the July / August 2022 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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