business continuity, Risk, Security

Securing Perimeters: How Strong is your Weakest Point?

In recent months, those in security have joined the general public in shock, watching the ease with which large angry mobs have been able to breach some of the most secure and iconic buildings in the world.

The storming of the US Capitol building on January 6th and the protesting Manchester United fans, angry at their club’s proposal to join the European Super-League, on the field of Old Trafford ahead of their team’s home game against Liverpool on May 2nd show just how important efficient, robust security planning is to protect one’s assets.

Miles apart, similar lessons

More than 3,500 miles separate the sites of these two violent protests and although the reasons behind them may be wildly different, the lessons to be learnt are eerily similar.

In both cases, perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, most experts agree that the writing was very much on the wall. Online posts by angry protesters on highly visible social media groups told all those involved exactly what was going to happen. However, in both cases, security forces failed to act appropriately on this intel.

Even a short analysis of CCTV or news footage shows just how easy it was for some of the mob to enter these fortresses without any elaborate weaponry, technology or training whatsoever.

Rudimentary tools such as flagpoles, or simply by kicking a door down and using brute force to push back simple barricades, meant that angry, violent protesters could wander inside these institutions at will.

Only as strong as your weakest point

As any security or military expert will tell you, a perimeter is only as strong as its weakest point. A door, a broken lock, a small hole in a fence, a weak link in a barricade, or any point where you operate with the least number of security officers, are the most likely areas to be overrun within seconds.

Once again, preparation and communication are key. How is it possible that an ill-prepared mob can organise, regroup and pass the word among its members more swiftly than a fully trained group of professionals with CCTV surveillance, and the latest radio comms and technology at their disposal?

Far-reaching consequences

The images of angry fans strolling around the hallowed turf of Old Trafford or insurgents with their feet up on politician’s desks are indelibly forged in the public memory, proving that the consequences of these breaches will be felt for years to come.

The National Guard finally concluded their ‘support mission’ deployment to protect Washington DC on May 23rd, more than 4 months after the insurrection attempt of January 6th.

Old Trafford went into emergency talks with the Premier League and were forced to postpone the match and play it behind closed doors.

Apart from the immediate costs of repairs and a loss of revenue, the damage to the reputations of these institutions, in the eyes of the general public, the international community and future investors and clients is perhaps impossible to quantify.

An invaluable investment in security

Irrespective of what your business is, no matter how large or small it is or where it is located, the negative consequences of any security breach will stay with you for years to come, frightening off investors and potential customers.

Therefore, an investment in your organisation’s perimeters and its preparedness to respond adequately to any threat will reap immeasurable benefits, both in the short and the longer term.