Our friend, mentor and blogger Curtis Baillie (Security2LP blog), wrote a great blog post recently on the topic of crisis management operations, and I was thinking of his work when I received a press release from 2020SecurityProducts.com, a discount retailer of security systems. The 2020 founder Joe Masciocco gave these as his 5 ways to plan for business preparedness:
5 tips for businesses ready to start a preparedness plan:
- Prepare for Emergency Lock Down â€“ This could be due to a natural disaster, access control breach, terrorism or criminal event. Proximity Card or Biometric security systems are just one of many ways to secure entry and exit of the physical premises and greatly enhance immediate command of the situation. Security systems can be configured to control doors, elevators, equipment and software remotely or on site.
- Control Access Day to Day â€“ Many businesses have not yet considered what they would do if someone walked off the street into their place of business, but doing so can have significant benefits in managing access for employees, customers and vendors, promoting protection of day-to-day business operations. This can be achieved through smart cards and readers, intercom, surveillance camera, biometric or keypad entry systems.
- Promote a watchful eye â€“ Use surveillance systems using dome cameras, closed circuit TV (CCTV) to discourage inappropriate or illegal behavior in areas of public access or sensitivity. Cameras, digital video recorders (DVRs) and monitoring systems are available in a wide variety of form factors suitable to any budget and can easily integrate into more sophisticated security systems.
- Prepare for disaster recovery of your IT assets â€“ The most valuable asset of most organizations is their data, which is maintained and archived on premises. But what if there were a fire or unexpected impact on your premises? Planning to back up your data regularly and storing remotely can greatly improve your ability to resume operations after an unplanned or catastrophic event.
- Build an immediate, 1 year and 5 year security plan â€“ When your business grows, so will your assets. Continuity is dependent upon planning and implementation, so take pen to paper and determine what requires protection and how you will achieve that level of security now and as your business evolves.
It's a decent place to start, but the most important thing, before buying DVRs and access control and biometric devices, is to do the planning. No matter how many DVRs you have or whether you can do a lockdown remotely, it doesn't mean your business will survive a catastrophe. Admittedly, this retailer wants you to buy products, so his tips are mainly geared toward technology, and we don't fault him for that since it is how he makes his money. However, if you want to do crisis planning and business preparedness correctly, you need more.
First things first, according to the earlier topic in Curtis' blog, is to define a crisis/business preparedness policy (this is point #5, to Masciocco's credit, but I think it should have been point #1). As you do that, you have to define the preparedness team and get them involved in the planning. Putting people together and getting them to think about policy is going to make everyone think about the things which are really important to their department and their operations and to the business as a whole. I encourage you, as you seek to define your own business policy, to pepper Curtis with questions. Post your question-based comments on his Security2LP blog post, or use the weblink to find his consulting business and contact him directly.
I also suggest you read a piece we published years ago by William Comtois and Tom Abruzzo called "Business Continuity Planning 101", which is an excellent introduction to business continuity planning. After that, you might point you way over to the ASIS bookstore, which has one of the finest collection of books on business continuity and disaster preparedness you can find. Be prepared to drop the cash; these specialty books aren't cheap, but neither is the value of your business.
Above all, realize that while security systems can be an effective part of business preparedness, they are not end-all-be-all, and that what is more important is to have a plan and a team ready to put that plan in action.