Monday, February 18, 2013

Challenges To Effective Security

Here are some facts that I have found to be unequivocally true during my 30+ years of providing security service and counsel to a wide variety of organizations:
We ARE a reactive culture.  For a variety of reasons, primarily economic, we do not do the things proactively that would make us less attractive targets; and we naively believe that “it can’t happen to me.”
There ARE bad people in this world, bad for a variety of reasons, who do bad things; and many of those bad people are not recognized preemptively because we again naively believe in the inherent goodness of all people and tend to and want to overlook anything that deviates from that rosy perspective.
There is NO SUCH THING as absolute security – nothing can be done to assure that nothing bad ever happens.  The best that can be achieved is security that protects from most bad things most of the time – and even that level requires continuous attention.
People intent on doing bad things WILL find a way to achieve their objective – they WILL find the resources and opportunity to perpetrate bad things, regardless of what stumbling blocks – i.e., good security – are imposed.
Those are the downsides; here are the upsides:
Even being reactive is BETTER than ignoring security problems completely and continuously.
IF we stop always trying to be politically correct and IF we make informed, judicious, prudent use of tools like “profiling” we WILL be more able to proactively identify more bad people.  And after my lengthy experience in this business,  I totally despise the currently-in-vogue concept of “profiling” – if empirical data suggests that 95% of my problems are caused by xxx people, then watching for xxx people is NOT profiling, it is good, reasonable security practice which I would be remiss to ignore.
IF we harden targets appropriately, having adequate and sufficient security will not stop all bad things from happening, but it WILL stop most of the worst things most of the time.
Even bad persons usually hope to achieve 2 things: accomplishment of their bad deeds, and concluding the accomplishment of their bad deeds in the way they desire (usually either anonymous escape, or suicide). Good security WILL reduce the“environment conducive to criminality” at a given place so that the bad person might choose to do his bad things elsewhere.
A whole other facet of this issue may divert into a discussion of who is best able to provide security guidance and assistance to the places that most need it.  Once again – as usually is the case – economics dictates to many organizations that security planning assistance comes from a little- or no-cost resource, which is frequently the local law enforcement agency.  But with all due respect to my law enforcement colleagues who provide heroic and loyal service on a daily basis,   they are usually not the best source of advice on security matters, if for no other reason than that is not their primary job focus.
Better security can be achieved anywhere…but it comes at a cost and requires a commitment.