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Understanding Investment in Effective Security Systems

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Understanding Investment in Effective Security Systems

Rapidly developing world markets, consumerism and trade centers have created hubs for business opportunities and critical infrastructure such as financial districts, highly populated urban high streets and prestigious hotels. This rapid expansion of infrastructure worldwide coupled with a challenging political and security environment brings a very real threat of targeted terrorist attacks.

Physical security is the protection of personnel, hardware, programs, networks, and data from physical circumstances and events that could cause serious losses or damage to an enterprise, agency, or institution. Within the vehicle barrier industry, this means protection against terrorism and substantial accidental impact.

The Dynamic Capability view of business strategy can be defined as the firm’s process that uses resources – specifically the process to integrate, reconfigure, gain and release resources to match and even create market change. Dynamic capabilities thus are the organisational and strategic routines by which firms achieve new resource configurations as markets emerge, collide, split, evolve and die.

Within highly dynamic and evolving markets, investing in physical security systems enables a firm protection against rapid environmental and political changes which could ultimately threaten a firm’s valuable resources affecting operational effectiveness and asset value. The short-term implication of high investment costs are mitigated long-term by measuring added value and considering the alternative should a security breach occur.

Business investment in security measures has been historically difficult to justify as the business-level value delivered by investment in new systems is very hard to measure and often just seen as operational or functional rather than delivering any additional value to business strategy.

Best practice guidelines for effective physical security measures to reduce vulnerabilities from vehicle borne attack or accidental impact have been outlined by the government as follows:

  • Firstly determine the aims of your individual hostile vehicle mitigation strategy and preempt how this will integrate with existing security systems.
  • Assess your sites traffic patterns. Who, what, why, where, when and how will traffic need to access the site. The answers to this can help identify and deter unwanted visitors.
  • Installing traffic calming measures can limit vehicle speeds to a manageable and safe level, able to be stopped in an attack scenario.
  • Perimeter protection maintains blast stand-off which provides proven vehicle impact protection.
  • Access control systems can be embedded into daily security routines and help to enforce vehicle zones, emergency access and when deployed provide a complete ‘ring of steel’ for infrastructure.

Firms must create a culture and an environment where risk management activities are effective. Physical security system manufacturers are expected to design systems certified for purpose with focus on operational longevity and serviceability; good enough to support business security needs.

The concept of investing in your business defence to hostile vehicle attacks is not about disregarding or replacing any current risk management systems you have in place but instead building on their foundations to maximise system effectiveness and security levels.

The Dynamic Capability view would suggest that physical security measures embedded within a business’s processes are an organisational and strategic routine by which a firm can implement a new resource configuration to mitigate effects of changing security risks during a changing and dynamic security environment.

When investigating the effect valuable resources had specifically on business processes to create a sustainable competitive advantage, unique business competencies had a positive effect on business process performance.

Understanding the relationship between strategic resource allocation and business implementation processes is important for managers to be able to maximise core capabilities and competencies and their profitability value. With relation to physical security measures, risk mitigation approaches must not hinder business processes or restrict their effectiveness. The underlying security measure should improve a business’s effectiveness; deliver an output to maximise value through mitigating the risk of a security breach.

Dynamic management strategies need to be reactive, anticipatory, defensive and proactive in order to achieve and maintain wealth creation in turbulent and changing security environments. Implementing effective physical security measures sits within a proactive and defensive management strategy. There are two perspectives within this; physical security systems can support a defensive management strategy to protect a firm’s valuable resources from theft or attack and secondly if the valuable resource is the critical infrastructure, systems can add value to the unique resource proactively to protect customers from a security breach also protecting the company’s reputation within the competitive market environment.

Substandard physical security measures compromised the safety of Glasgow Airport’s passengers and staff in 2007 when a security breach resulted in a Jeep laden with explosives drove straight into the doors of the main departure hall. Luckily the attack was a failed terrorist attack and the bomb didn’t detonate. Five members of the public were seriously injured and substantial damage was caused to the buildings structure. As a result of the attack passengers will have lost confidence in Glasgow Airport’s safety strategy and their reputation will have been tainted directly after the incident. The airport would have had to apportion substantial financial resources to rectify the incident. The event could have also mitigated the effect of any dynamic capabilities Glasgow Airport may have built or obtained to create market value with the failure to recognise the effects of the challenging international security environment and its effects on business infrastructure.

The Dynamic Capability view, despite its criticisms, can be helpful in trying to justify physical security systems as value-added assets to be incorporated into businesses to protect wealth creation.