There are certain things that everyone needs in life to survive. Those things are fresh air, water, health, mental stability, and security. To have a plentiful life every person has to have the feeling of been secure in his or her home, at work, body, and mind. Security is like a safety blanket carried to get through life. If one is not secure in all the elements of life there is no balance or harmony in life.
One must first understand the definition of security to understand physical security, and the aspects associated with it. Security as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary is the freedom of risk or danger. It is the freedom of doubt, anxiety, or fear; confidence. Security is something that gives or assures safety (American Heritage Dictionary). The main purpose of physical security is to forbid physical access to protected facilities from unauthorized persons. A protected facility is identified as a building, grounds of a compound, systems such as safes or facilities under control by access systems, the perimeter of any structure, and information and technology systems.
Like any other aspect in law enforcement physical security is a fluid system ever evolving with time. It is imperative to accept that what worked in the past may not be functional with today’s technological advancements. Because physical security is ever evolving, it can be rather expensive to keep up with the changes; therefore, careful considerations should be made when considering the elements and design of physical security for all applications.
It is imperative to remember that when one is looking for a building or for the grounds to establish a business, a corrections facility, hospital, bank, a home, or any structure that requires any amount of security one must incorporate the security needs into the security design. By addressing security issues with the designers, architects, or annalists in the first stages of construction, design, or purchase cost can be significantly lower. This will provide for an equal distribution and balance of security controls against any risk, establish a baseline for cost, developing, implementing, monitoring, and control of the system.
The main purpose of physical security at a building or on the grounds of the building is to deter potential intruders. Recognize authorized personnel, delay or prevent intrusion attempts, and must allow for the response force to arrive on site in less time than it takes for the attacker to breach the barriers, and the alarms to activate within a signification barrier is still in place (Blyth, Michael). The main function of physical security in a building or on the grounds of the building is to slow down the attacker to a point where they are detected. The slowdown will allow for a response force to arrive, and persuade the attacker that the costs of the attack far exceed the value of making the attack.
Physical security can be something as simple as a locked door or as sophisticated as a multiple layer of armed guards. The elements and design of the physical security system for the building, and the grounds should address the following deterrence, access control, detection, identification, and human responses time. Tools employed in the creation of the security system are things as simple as dead bolt locks, alarms, security cameras, to very complex access control key systems. The grounds can be protected by fences, locked gates, and barbwire, patrol units equipped with attack dogs, or even watch towers.
Access control can be as intricate as a retina scan or as simple as a lock on a door. Access control is having control over who can access or interact with a resource (Integrated Security Design). One can take a look around and see that there are access control systems in place all-around us. Things such as toll roads, parking meters, garage door openers, traffic control devices, and locks on doors. Then there are high-tech security access control systems in place on things such as ATM pin numbers, a code or password to access IPHONE applications, passwords to e-mail accounts, and a person’s social security number, which leads to a pathway of information. Then you have access control systems, such as those found in prisons, federal buildings, law enforcement buildings, and military institutions. These types of systems require credentials to gain access into them. A smart card, finger print, retina scan, or even a series of codes may be needed to gain access to the area in question.
There are five different models of access control on the market today. Each of the five different models has a different range of security. The most widely used models in the market today are Discretionary Access Control (DAC), Mandatory Access Control (MAC), and Role Based Access Control (RBAC). The other two are known as MAC and RBAC and are considered non-discretionary (Integrated Security Design). Some examples of the different models are ratings on movies that might require a person to be 18 to watch an R rated movie, another example are owner allowed access only systems. The there is the MAC systems, which allow access to resources if the rules exist that allow a given user to access the resources. Other models decide if access will be granted if the system determines that access should be allowed.
When securing a building, home, or the grounds one should first start with the security of the perimeter. The perimeter as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary is the outer limits of an area or the fortified strip or boundary usually protecting a military position. Millions of dollars are spent each year on securing the perimeter of a building or the grounds of the building. The first line of defense is the perimeter and therefore should be addressed accordingly to the amount of security addressed in the structure itself.
According to Maj. Gen (Ret) Herzel Iosub “The main challenge facing perimeter security applications is the fact that these sites typically encompass a wide area and pose a physical challenge to security personnel as the perimeters require efficient monitoring to enable a rapid respond to any security breach.” The perimeter security line is designed to keep intruders out of a secured area. If the perimeter security line is broken the secondary security systems kick in. Perimeter security can be addressed as simply installing a standard mesh fence using 6mm or 8mm horizontal wires if security level is not as high. If the level of security needed is much higher than an electrical fence may be installed and serves as a deterrent to attackers. Other examples that will help strengthen perimeter security are razor wire, san-filled barriers, blast walls, human guards, motion sensors, and security cameras.
Information system and technology security (ITS) is very important because consumers, businesses, and government rely on the Internet and web services for information and communications around the clock 365 days a year. Overseeing the transfer of data and access to it requires consistency, privacy, and security before and after it enters cyberspace. In today’s digital world, an assault on one computer may affect various systems. Financial loss, damages to computer systems, the release of confidential information, and overtime for staff to restore operations may be the result of a breach of security. One attack may cost consumers millions of dollars.
Technology today magazine estimates that millions of dollars are spent each year on improving security design, security configuration, implementation, and management in an attempt to provide a secure and reliable computer system. Examples of security measures found in the protection of ITS systems are the authentication process, authorization, and the audit. These security measures also include protections such as digital signatures, encryption, firewalls, virus scans, and human monitoring.
Concerning security the options available are endless, but rather costly, depending on the importance of the asset. The types of security systems are different and every asset will require a different model, yet the mission remains the same: To protect the asset from an attack.
Security in general is an art; however, it is an art that will not allow for it to be mastered as it is a fluid art. To ensure human and digital survival the art of security must allow for change and be willing to adapt to the new dangers that threaten our buildings, grounds, perimeters, ITS systems, and any asset worth of protection. As the dangers evolve so will the security safe guards that will ensure our physical security.