Matthew Dimmick

Security Directors and Managers today are challenged with successfully fulfilling organizational security responsibilities with diminished budgets and personnel.  The successful application of security technologies can provide widespread economic benefits throughout an organization.  This said, technology can never be all things to all organizations.  A comprehensive technological security program should work towards the optimization of personnel, processes and facilities as they navigate the current business climate.

Regardless of the type of security technology you select you must focus your business case to senior management on the Return on Security Investment (RoSI) for the project.  Many of the items utilized in determining return on investment are common knowledge.  The thought that an organization can utilize technological solutions and reduce the amount of / qualifications of its staff is one example. Our SAFETY Act Certified SmartTech System applies this concept to x-ray screening, putting the knowledge of a bomb technician within easy reach of screening staff not trained to this level of proficiency in x-ray interpretation.  This type of case is very valid as well as often being easiest to demonstrate a rapid turnaround on the money invested.  We recommend that beyond these more practical Return on Investment (ROI) indicators you encourage your business leaders to look at how security can help achieve other corporate goals, such as sustainability, when considering new security investments.

There is no silver bullet to sustainable security technology.  The key here is to look at the system holistically and determine methods for optimizing building management systems (BMS) by utilizing your security infrastructure.  You should talk to your systems integrator (or without being too overbearing, ours) about ways that your BMS can be utilized in coordination with the new or upgraded access control system you would like to purchase to set lighting levels and temperature controls in a given area based on occupancy.  Periods where the building occupancy is nominal could be designed to utilize less energy resulting in a net measurable savings for the organization and increasing your rate of return.  Other items such as changing lighting systems, monitors etc. to lower energy / reduced heat signature systems based on LCD technology can reduce energy draw from the systems themselves as well as reduce the amount of air conditioning required to sustain comfortable working temperatures in the facility.  

This same cross pollination can be applied to other security related projects.  Let’s talk about chemical, biological, radiological (CBR) hazards.  One of the key enhancements for a facility’s protection from CBR threats is the sealing and improvement of the building’s envelope.  Let’s say that an industrious security director has determined that the threat from one of these hazards is significant enough that a mitigation strategy should be implemented.  Improving the seals of windows, doors, HVAC systems (reducing leakage and / or increasing filtration levels), etc. is one industry best practice to protect against CBR.  While the benefit seen through the eyes of the security director may be directed at the CBR threat the director’s RoSI case can, additionally, be built around the improved energy efficiency and health and safety of employees.  Management can be made aware that improved filtration, reduction in air pollutants and possible enhanced filtration methods such as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) to destroy microorganisms will likely improve a facility’s internal air quality.  Improving a buildings air quality may subsequently reduce employee illness and increase productivity; again, allowing the organization to accomplish more work with a leaner workforce.  If I remember correctly, that  is where we began this blog.     

If you have any questions regarding our testing and assessment programs or the Security Technology Center at MSA Security’s Headquarters please contact Matthew R. Dimmick, PSP, Board Certified in Physical Security,

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