The basics of a security plan

March 2016 Residential Estate (Industry)

There has never been any doubt that when you build your new house a plan is necessary. In fact, there is a structured approval process that goes with the plan. The builder would be lost without a plan and you would move into your new house and be faced with surprises at every turn if he just tried his best.

Clearly the same logic applies to the security industry. Putting the security plan together is however a bit more complex. Security is made up of so many components, often championed by different companies, so putting a plan together can be a challenge.

We are however starting to see security integrators who have a full skill set. This would be the same as the builder who does some of the work himself and then uses sub-contractors to do the rest. The builder has become competent in understanding the full range of skills that are required, and is able to manage the full spectrum.

The starting point is the risk assessment and/or site survey. This set of documents will indicate the issues that need to be resolved in the security solution. The plan will be site and risk dependant. It will as a minimum address the following components of security:

• Manpower

• Electronics

• Data protection

• Monitoring

• Management

• Intelligence

• Maintenance and training

• Audit and review

Producing the plan is an iterative process of defining the requirements, evaluating costs and effectiveness and then reworking the plan to arrive at an optimum outcome. It is typically not a good idea to spend the maximum on the boundary fence and electric fence and then plan thermal cameras. The cameras must add value that not only provides a more secure solution, but reduces manpower and other component costs.

Preparing the plan requires an intimate knowledge of the security systems and processes. Clearly the plan must also be achievable. A Star Wars type plan will not work.

When working through the plan, that well known set of questions needs to be continually answered:

• WHAT must happen

• WHEN must it happen

• WHY must it happen

• WHERE must it happen

• HOW must it happen

As the plan comes together there needs to be provision for the continual process of capturing events so that the intelligence part of the solution has a basis to provide applicable outputs.

The plan will almost certainly require support from other service providers to ensure that the plan is functional. These will typically be:

• Power supplies

• Generator backup

• Building work

• Furniture

• Storage facilities

• Civil works to give access or protect the fence line against erosion

• Lighting in key areas

These requirements need to be clearly communicated to the client. In many cases, the good security plan is hindered by the lack of support services.

The most difficult part of the plan is in the presentation. There can be many ways of approaching this, however a tabulated summary is the most efficient. There can be supporting documents, however the tabulation of the plan is an easy read. It is also then not too difficult to revisit the plan when it needs to be updated.

It should be understood that the plan, when agreed, needs to then move into a design phase. The plan on its own is not likely to produce a happy outcome. While discussing the design of systems, we should understand that this concept applies equally to technology, manpower and management. That will be another discussion.

Finally, a few nice to have items to put into the plan:

• Indicate the implementation responsibility for each item in the plan.

• Make sure the plan is signed off by the client.

• The plan will require that the systems are integrated into a well-coordinated solution. Define how this will happen.

• There will need to be a design phase that follows the plan. Define who will do this.

• Include a proposed roll out programme so that there is an understanding of the time frames.

• Include source documents such as the risk assessment and any other relevant information as addendums. Often a security plan has traffic analysis details for the access control.

In many cases, the security plan will be a work in progress for a long time. It is however, vital to the successful outcome and does ensure that everybody is kept informed of the solution. We will all remember the TV series that had the punch line, “I love it when a plan comes together”.

For more information contact Rob Anderson,,


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