Business Secrets For Securing Safety

A proactive approach to safety isn’t something new— prevention has long been preferred — but it’s far from being the industry norm. Too many still cling to the model of “security theater,” hoping nothing will happen, because it's cheaper to employ. 

When those responsible for ensuring the certainty of safety assume that safety is already a certainty, complacency sets-in and risk rises.

In the aftermath of harm, the shortfalls of protective policy always have one consistent theme: Security standards do not rise to exceed the expectations of your policy. They falter to the lowest level of your tolerated practice.

Did you forget your work ID? Do you know which guard will let you in without it? Are you able to circumvent the "official" policy in lieu of an easier practice? Harmless? Maybe. How does the guard know you weren't just fired? What other policies are infrequently enforced? Without inspecting what you expect, a protective policy becomes a spare tire gone flat in the trunk of your car –– present but pointless.

Ninety percent of safety is awareness of the realistic risks we are most likely face. The other ten percent is being prepared with a practical plan.  The solution is simple: 

Awareness + Preparation = Safety

And while there is no such thing as “perfect security” there is such a thing as “defense in depth” where layered levels of smart policy and strong practices work hand-in-hand to reduce risk and prevent violence.  

What we CAN do is lower the likelihood of being targeted. 

We CAN ensure that the policies and procedures we have written down as doctrine are the same as what are being put into practice. 

We CAN raise our level of awareness to the vulnerabilities which surround us, and then bring those concerns to those who can help make them better.

We CAN prepare today for a safer tomorrow.

The following are a few key practices to help today’s forward-thing business leaders ensure the safety of everyone stays secured:

Take An Honest Look At Your Current Protective Measures

Most business leaders are aware of the risk associated with bringing their services into the marketplace, but what about those concerns inherent to their actual place of business? However unlikely it may be for a business to be directly targeted, the reality is that too few businesses have taken any proactive measures to effectively reduce their vulnerability. Business leaders have a responsibility to understand the limitations of antiquated measures and learn as much as they can about proactive practices that are required of today’s operating environment. The modern marketplace offers a host of consultative and technological advantages. There has never been a better time to do away with the old and welcome the new.

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How wide is the divide between your policy and your practice?

Procedure only works if you follow it every time. Businesses, schools, and public venues, tend to have a great policy “on paper,” but the practice of that policy is often less than prescribed. It’s important to take a hard look in the mirror to ensure you are actually doing that which you say you are doing, and that you can actually do that which you say you can do. 

Promote a Positive, Personal Interaction

Greeters, information providers, security guards, or a host who simply says hello to every person who comes near your venue is an effective yet non-invasive approach to promoting a positive protective posture. The everyday human interaction is the single greatest source of protective intelligence available to any business of any size. The psychological deterrence of a simple inter-personal exchange carries much more weight than the thought of “being watched” by a camera because the contact immediately removes any cloak of anonymity.

Human interaction offers an immediate notification of potential harm. If something suspicious is triggered, immediate attention can be called to the situation. This human approach is a much more practical approach than sole reliance on a command center camera which is unable to capture the nuance of something suspicious.

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Access Control

Access Control saves lives. A venue’s ability to pre-determine where an initiation of violence must first take place allows for a venue’s protective resources to be allocated where they will be most effective — at the point of entry!

Keeping people out is easier than getting them out. Effective control over who’s allowed through your front door is especially important if once allowed inside there is nothing preventing them from having free-reign throughout the rest of your establishment.

It is perfectly possible for a place of business to have an open and welcoming environment, but there is no need to give all who enter free-reign throughout the entire facility. 

Banks do this well. While the lobby is relatively “open” to the public, few have access to get behind the teller desks, while even fewer have access to the vault.

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Keys and Locks

The problem with keys is that they work all the time. Keys are cheap, frequently lost, and easy to copy. Keys don’t validate their user the way card readers and key-codes do.  One of the best protections of key cards over traditional keys is the ability to not only let you know who entered, but who tried to enter and was declined. That's the kind of protective insight you just can't get from a standardized key. 

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Social Media Awareness

Geofeedia has perfected a method for providing real-time, location-based, social media intelligence to small business owners, hotel managers, restaurateurs, and security teams that helps to promote a better understanding of the social postings inherent to their specific location. This kind of real-time intelligence can be invaluable in helping a business to ensure that your customer needs and concerns are being effectively addressed.

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Safe Havens

A safe haven is nothing more than a place where you know you can go to be safe. Everyone knows if there is a fire to evacuate the building. What most people don’t know is where to go next. In an emergency, it’s always best to go from unsafe to safe. The parking lot fifty feet from the building may be a safe distance from a fire in the break room, but it is not a universal safety precaution from other threats that are just as likely to occur. During an active shooter event, hiding under your desk or behind an office door likely won’t do much good either (bullets travel through doors and walls.)

If you have the physical ability to run…RUN. A moving target — especially one gaining distance with each step — is hard to hit. Take some time to talk with your staff about where you can all go for accountability, continuity, and safety should you ever have to leave the office in a hurry. Even if it’s just to the Starbucks down the street, make sure everyone knows where to go and knows how to get there. Identifying safe havens is a lot like wearing your seatbelt: Often just a precaution, but invaluable when needed.

Read: Bomb Threats: How safe is your evacuation plan?

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Threat Management

The past six months have seen a historic rise in the number of distasteful, threatening, and downright vulgar communications targeting business owners, public figures, and news journalists on both sides of the ideological isle. Electronic communication and social media have changed the threat assessment landscape forever. It has made expressing a grievance easier than ever before — sometimes in an anonymous fashion. As a result, any business or person perceived as being aligned with a dissenting opinion is at-risk of becoming a target for unsolicited viciousness, vitriol, and in some cases — violence. 

Each and every inappropriate communication — from within and outside of your organization — should be assessed, monitored and managed by your designated threat assessment manager

This includes those indirect communications which express a grievance regarding a third party. In the context of threat assessment, these communications are known as “leakage.” Leakage is a pre-incident indicator — a warning behavior — that infers a preoccupation with a target, and may signal the research and planning of a harmful act. 

Preparing Today For A Safer Tomorrow

Our goal is to do our best to prevent these tragic outcomes from ever becoming a reality in the first place. Everyday vigilance is a small price to pay for the liberties and the freedoms which flow so freely from peace, but the burden is ours to bare. Safety is a communal responsibility. Everyday safety requires the participation of everyone. and there is still so much more we can do to help ensure the certainty of future safety.

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