The Restrata Blog

Observations of a Security Consultant

Posted by Ian Todd on Jun 22, 2017 4:41:00 PM

As the Senior Security Consultant at Restrata, I spend a large amount of my time travelling around the MENA region delivering security assessments for a variety of developments, including hotels, industrial facilities, airports and even railways.

Over the last 6 months, I have developed a list of my top 5 security concerns, witnessed across different asset types and their operational processes.

1. Unmonitored Critical Systems - on the whole, best practice requires there to be a central command & control operation complete with a smart management system that can monitor critical life safety and security systems, including CCTV, the Fire Panel, Lift Alarms and Intruder Detection Systems. It's all very well installing these systems as part of a box ticking exercise, but if these are not continuously monitored, the systems are rendered useless.

2. Unprotected Critical Assets - critical buildings and assets, such as gas supply compressors, fire sprinkler systems, fire pumps and HVAC systems, should be protected from intruders who might tamper with them, causing an incident that could vary in severity. I frequently discover such crucial building assets located in insecure areas or worse, in locations that would be considered a danger to public safety. 

3. Unmonitored Access - it is important to have a full picture of every individual who enters the property, in the case of a hotel, this includes guests, staff, contractors and delivery personnel. If guests and staff are monitored front of house, but a delivery van can access the rear of the property and enter with a potentially hazardous package undetected, the efforts front of house are completely undermined.

4. CCTV System Design - quite often, I discover examples of a disconnect between the architectural vision of a property and CCTV design and installation. I have seen CCTV cameras installed the wrong way around, meaning they monitor a wall instead of a wide angle area, and locations in which state of the art CCTV cameras have been installed, but when a nearby door is opened, the field of view is completely obstructed. 

5. Cluttered Stairwells - emergency escape routes save lives, and stairwells in tall buildings are a particularly important example of such a route. In properties where storage requirements have not been properly considered, I often find stairwells being used to house furniture, boxes and other equipment. This is simply unacceptable and could mean the difference between life and death in the case of a fire.

These issues fall into the most extreme category of those I have witnessed during my assessments. We always recommed immediate action to be taken to mitigate these risks when we share a post-assessment report.

If you would like to learn more about our Security Risk Assessments, please feel free to contact me directly or download our full Security Design Consultancy Capability Statement:

Security Design Consultancy

Author: Ian Todd

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