Mitigating risks posed by the Occupy Wall Street movement: Part 2

Best practices for protecting corporate facilities against demonstrations


According to Jeff Spivey, a former ASIS president who currently serves as the president of North Carolina-based Security Risk Management, Inc., the three tenants of a good physical security program include having good access control measures, quality surveillance solutions and creating a sense of territoriality.

"You want to identify that this is a place they shouldn't be," Spivey said. "Some of the best tactics and best strategy is to avoid confrontation."

Spivey added that security managers should also be cognizant of what local police are doing in responding to these protests.

"What are the police doing? Is that level (of security) protecting my building, my people appropriately? How do I need to augment that and exactly where do I need to augment depends on what the police are doing," he explained.

Despite all of the building hardening steps an organization has taken at their facilities, Spivey said they could all be for naught if people fail.

"Probably the strongest thing I could say that is the best thing to harden is not the equipment, everybody wants to buy equipment to solve a lot of these issues," he said. "I find that even when equipment is bought, the failure of security is the people and the process. It's the matching up understanding that people and processes in place are going to provide the best solution for any of these risks."

In addition to access control and surveillance, Joseph Sordi, managing director of New York-based Strategic Security Corp., said that organizations really need to focus on badging.

"This way, you can identify who is supposed to be in the building and who's not," he said.

Sordi said that using something as a simple color-coded badging system, for example, that uses a green badge for someone that works in the building every day, yellow for a temporary contractor or vendor and red for someone who is only supposed to be on the premises for a limited time, would provide a good extra layer of security. He also recommends that organizations bring visitors to a greeting area in their lobby where they can be allowed to lock up their valuables by security personnel. This would help protect a company's intellectual property from being captured by someone's phone or camera.

While implementing all of these technologies and procedures help, Swecker said that security managers really have to plan for everything in dealing with these protests.

"With the expected, you've got to expect Murphy's Law to rear its ugly head," he said. "So you plan for everything. If you've got protests taking place around your building, you're not just going to worry about the front door. You've got to worry about the loading dock, you've got to worry about stairwells, you've got to worry about parking areas, and you've got to worry about employees walking to their cars. It's an ecosystem, it isn't just one thing."