Outer Layer of Protection
The Physical security of any facility or organization can be approached in layers. A good physical security system provides a reliable criminal deterrent protection. The outer layer is the initial layer of security for any facility which prevents intrusion to prevent threats. For a facility the outer layer of protection depends on the type of facility, if it’s a healthcare research facility or a chemical facility, then it would need a stronger perimeter protection such as walls or fence, than for an office building located in a city whose outer perimeter is its walls. The perimeter of a facility can be walls, fence, highways, a natural barrier like a river, or lake etc. According to Fennelly, L. (2016) the outer layer consists of:
Grounds serves many purposes, they can be used as a buffer or barrier between a perimeter of a facility and the buildings, can be used for observation to detect intrusion, or for storage. They can be functional and if used for storage, it should be organized to easily identify disruptions.
Private roads can be used to restrict access to a facility and the management of this facility can decide who can access the facility. Public roads do not allow for additional controls. Various barriers can be used to restrict access like gates, electronic access controls, roadblocks etc. are some of the barriers used on the roads.
Fences, Walls, Gates, and Other Barriers
There are two types of barriers which are generally used for perimeter protection. Natural barriers which include river, lakes, canyons, cliffs or any other form of terrain that deny access to the facility or difficult to traverse. Rivers or other water bodies provide good barrier protection against vehicles but not against boats in these cases structural or man-made barriers are to be used to along with the natural barriers. One of a famous example of an optimal use of natural barriers is the prison on Alcatraz Island in California.
Structural barriers include highways, fences, walls, gates grills, bars, or other structures that deter penetration. Fences are the most commonly used form of barriers, which varies by type, size, use, and effectiveness. Fence include electrically charged wire, barbed wire or concertina wire, an alarm system which makes it more effective. Walls have a similar function as fences but are much stronger and more expensive than fences. Walls do not allow free visual access to the area outside the perimeter, but it is most penetration resistant barrier. Barbed wire can be used on top of the wall to make it more difficult in scaling the wall. Gates are the movable part of the outer perimeter and control access to allow the authorized individuals to enter the facility. A variety of controls can be used to control access like guards, electronic access control systems such as access pass/card, pin access, or remote-control access.
Effective lighting reduces accidents and serves as a deterrent to any intruder. With proper lighting, the outer perimeter can be properly monitored, and any intruders can be easily identified. Intruders are less likely to enter a well-lighted area and lighting should be kept within the perimeter to avoid any damage.
Surveillance is necessary for security in an effort to protect assets which are accomplished by using security guards or surveillance cameras. The need for the type of surveillance depends on the purpose of surveillance, deterrence or observation. Surveillance is usually done using security guards or security cameras or a mix of both. CCTV cameras are the most commonly used means of security surveillance.
Alarms are used to alert the security personnel in case if any unauthorized effort to enter the facility. Audible alarms act like a deterrent and stop the intruder from moving further with their plan. Alarms systems are used in all layers of physical security and for outer later it provides warning that outer layer or perimeter has been compromised. An alarm system is only useful as long as there is any response from the security team, hence it is essential to respond to the security alarms. Alarm systems reduce the need for a large number of security guards.
Fennelly, L. (2016). Effective physical security. Butterworth-Heinemann.