How Can Security Managers Eliminate Single Points of Failure?
What does SEN think are useful proactive practises for security managers wanting to leverage technology in the most effective way to avoid single points of failure?
A: They are the same practises we’d think apply to any applications – the understanding of threats, layers of protection, redundancy, pushing key decisions to the pointy end of the command chain (with external oversight), decentralisation of detection and reporting assets, and merging detection with integrated response procedures.
Teams of all kinds respond better to being given challenges than they do to being given orders, which tend to lead to a loss of personal agency. How such challenges are communicated and how far operational freedom extends, depends on your site and the threats it faces. Central to this notion is that team members operate freely within procedures with which they are very familiar.
Elements that can help with proactive security management strategies could be implemented as umbrella procedures. This includes decentralisation of detection and response capability to reduce single points of failure – for instance random patrols, alarm systems, zoned powered fencing, drone overflights, AI assessment of the event log, implementation of VMD and thermal alarm zones that interlock across the site. You’d also want to be monitoring power supply and its redundant support, and you’d want multiple reporting technologies supporting monitoring services.
Alongside this you’d bring in allies – neighbouring facilities and their security teams and security solutions – and implement sharing of information in a way that makes the group better informed than a single site. How far you could go with this depends on the relationship with your neighbours, but procedures in which events on or near boundaries are shared, local power fails are shared, random patrols assess shared boundaries and report incidents offer considerable mutual value. The same applies on a global scale to cyber security threats.
If you have a group of half a dozen organisations all watching each other’s back, all responding to threat events by warning each other, all eyes-on to reduce the chance a threat is missed, the overall security of individual organisations and the collective is far higher. An area technology can help here is by delivering more accurate assessment of threats in real time, allowing pinpoint response rather than having security teams chasing activations, always being a step behind the action.
It’s tempting to think that organisations involved in security partnerships must be of the same type – for instance 2 industrial sites – but this need not be the case. There is still considerable value in partnering with an adjacent school or a self-storage facility, or the collective businesses in a small industrial estate. The idea is that sharing defensive information always improves the security of the group, even if some organisations are contributing less capability than others.