3 Steps for a Master Security Plan

Shift from reactive to proactive security

By Michael Fickes

3 Steps for a Master Security Plan

2) Form a Planning Team
Experts recommend retaining an objective third party to manage the planning process. “This individual will manage a team of people,” says Stevan P. Layne, a principal with Layne Consultants International. “The team should include a certified fire protection specialist and your top facilities person.”

You will also need a financial executive to advise budgeting and affordability matters, continues Layne. Security master plans typically encompass five years, with some upgrades occurring from year to year. Budgeting expertise will ensure that funds are available when needed.

Additional team members include the organization’s security director, an architect, and a construction coordinator. If a plan calls for new employees, have a representative from human resources serve on the team.

Department heads should participate as well. In a university, the college deans are the department heads. For healthcare settings, representatives from the emergency department and mental health services should participate.

3) Target Vulnerabilities  
With the team assembled, the first order of business involves upgrades that address weaknesses identified in the security assessment.

Suppose a prominent office building with tenants that might draw the attention of terrorists is vulnerable to a truck bomb attack. The team should discuss the security policy addressing perimeter security. Does the policy address vehicular attacks? If not, it should be modified.

Since 1995, Mike Fickes has contributed over 200 security articles to publications covering hotel, industrial, office, retail, critical infrastructure, and education. His interests include security management, policies, strategies, and technologies.

Next determine how equipment and people will enable the facility to comply with the policy.

To better protect patients, family members, and healthcare workers from gang attacks, an inner city emergency department might opt for locked doors and an armed guard who admits patients.

Some of the upgrades called for by the security assessment may take years to carry out. A college or healthcare campus may decide to install cameras and emergency call stations. Such an effort could take several years, with incremental progress made and paid for each year.

“In this respect, the master plan becomes a budgeting tool,” says Layne. “You plan the upgrades around available funding.”

Campuses grow. Buildings change tenants. Neighborhoods around buildings evolve. To keep up with the pace of change, you might decide to review your security master plan every quarter. At minimum, you should it review once a year. Just as your threats and risk will shift over time, your security master plan needs continuous updating.

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