Spring Cleaning – Security Style
Spring Cleaning, that annual American tradition where everyone organizes, cleans, and de-clutters their homes after a long winter. Or, at least that’s what everybody intends to do. Like so many things, Spring Cleaning far too often falls into the category of “I’ll get around to it”, “maybe next week”, and finally “I meant to do it.” We lead busy lives, and it’s easy for things that we know are important but that don’t have immediate pay offs to be placed on the back-burner. This brings us to ask, what is Spring Cleaning and why is it important? In short, Spring Cleaning is about getting our lives in order to make the best out of the new year. We accomplish this by optimizing our living space as well as possible, because as our daily starting point, the home is where most of our endeavors begin or are accomplished.
These same principles apply to business and utilities as well. We’ve all worked in a place in which chaos reigned, old equipment or material were left in storage to take up valuable space, cleaning was left to the night crew, etc. Even if it was in an old high school part time job or in a regular office setting, the experiences are often the same. However, in a lot of ways this reality of clutter and disorganization is always quietly creeping on our work spaces. It comes though neglect, thoughts like “I’ll do it after ___”, or simply getting used to things sitting in the way. And too often we become so used to the state of our work spaces that we genuinely don’t notice how cluttered things have become, yet when a client, customer, or new employee enters it is painfully obvious. Just like at home, keeping the work and business space clean and organized is a must for a company to be as successful as it can be.
Security is no exception to the requirements of organization and de-cluttering. Indeed, security can be a major victim of neglect and clutter. During my time as a security consultant, I’m amazed at how often security is both openly preached as important by a company yet goes largely ignored by the same company. I’ve seen innumerable security offices being used to store everything under the sun except security equipment. I’ve seen state of the art key card entry systems installed, only for no one to know who actually has access to where, and whom should actually have access. I’ve seen managers proudly brag about having an excellent new security perimeter fencing installed, yet over the years they never actually send anyone to inspect the condition of the fence.
For example, over time repeated rain storms and wind has cumulative detrimental effects on perimeter fencing. During a recent security audit, I found several adjacent posts where storms had eroded the ground so badly that the fence posts were completely washed out down to the concrete base. This section of fence would topple over with the simple push. The client had no idea the fence was in such a state, as it had been installed less that 5 years ago and they assumed that it was fine.
In another recent inspection, it was discovered that IT and HR weren’t communicating effectively. This became evident when an inventory of badges and access showed that several company access badges were unaccounted for and at least two ex-employee’s badges were still operational.
Security Spring Cleaning is all about taking a few moments to ensure that your assumptions that everything is shipshape and fully operational is accurate. It is making sure that no gaps in the company’s security platform that may have appeared over the previous year go unnoticed. It is about making sure that your security equipment is properly stored, in working order, and doesn’t need replacing or updating. It is about taking the time to make sure that your employees are up-to-date on what the company expects them to know in regard to security. So, take the time to walk the perimeter fence, clean out the security closet, check that the parking gate actually works right. Hire a security professional to do a security audit for you. A little attention can go a long way in keeping your company safe and keeping your equipment working longer in the years to come.