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Security patrol = Just walk the route?

Why Spend The Money?

Many companies hire security officers to patrol their facilities. Why do they spend money on that? Patrolling often becomes a routine that many don't give it much thought.

If invested optimally and implemented correctly, patrolling can reduce risks to a large extent. For example:

  1. Deter criminals by advertising security presence and commitment.

  2. Reduce risks by spotting problems early such as water leakage, unattended package, or loitering people.

  3. Respond to incidents with a head start.


For a business to invest scarce resources into patrolling, security leaders must justify its value to risk reduction. Real life examples help:

Example #1:

A data centre was exposed to the risk of espionage and sabotage by insiders. There were routine security patrols, but such measure was ineffective against insiders due to its predictability.

The risk was significantly reduced when randomness in terms of time and routing was introduced. The untreated risk's potential loss could render the business unviable.

Example #2:

A financial service company has in possession its clients' information in both physical and digital forms. These informations are stored in an access controlled room. In one instance, a patrolling security officer saw a suspicious person going near the room and pro-actively greeted them. After some conversations, the person was found to be a recently terminated employee.

The officer's action prevented a critical area trespassing by an ex-employee who had sneaked in during lunch hour by tailgating. The ex-employee was allegedly trying to steal information for a competitor in order to gain personally.

Should the ex-employee's attempt were not thwarted, the loss could potentially be devastating in terms of legal liabilities, clients loss, future business loss, and stock price decline.

Example #3

A building was having a partial renovation. Flammable materials were found storing outside of their designated area. A patrolling officer spotted the anomaly and reported the issue. The issue was promptly rectified.

Later, a fire occurred at a nearby high rise building construction site, and fire tinders were spreading into open air due to strong wind. Nearby areas and high rise buildings were caught fire in many places. The officer's effort during patrol had significantly reduced the risk of a larger fire or even an explosion. The potential loss would be unbearable for any business.

Bottom Line

Security patrolling is _not_ simply walking the route.

Everyone including senior management, security department, and security officers should understand the value of a patrol's ability to spot real time risks, hazards, and deficiencies. In order to invest optimally, it is recommended to have fewer but quality patrols instead of more "route walkings".

Security manager is responsible to demonstrate to senior management its current risk profile and how to manage risks to an acceptable level. Security patrol is one of the tool to achieve that.

Speak to your trusted internal or external security consultant on how to reduce both costs and risks.


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