Who is the biggest threat to your company?

The answer may surprise you. Everyday employees and security officers, who haven’t been adequately trained, will say that the biggest threat comes from something outside the business. Fraud, theft, violence, and etc.

To most security practitioners and some C-suite executives, and more every day, the threat is known to come from both inside and outside the business. Crimes such as insider hacking of the computer to steal ‘secrets’ or intellectual property, insider theft of real property, violence, fraud, and so on.

But these people have it wrong in most respects. Yes, the threat comes from outside in the form of theft and violence. And it comes from inside when it comes to computer hacking and theft of digital and real property as well as violence and fraud. But the biggest threat comes from one step higher than that.

These crimes, most of them anyway, could not occur if one thing didn’t exist within the company. That one attitude that coincides with all of these and every crime in a business. It is virtually ignored by business owners and employees alike. It contributes to 99% of all crimes in the business. Now you’re asking; what is it?

‘If we do this just once it won’t happen again. I promise’ unfortunately this attitude is nearly as deadly as the can’t happen here smugness attitude, that occurs with workplace/school violence. Everyone in the security field has heard this come from, not necessarily security officers, the mouth of a company employee, supervisor, manager, or higher.

It results from moving large amounts of supplies in and out. Possibly furniture during a renovation or move to another office. It comes from those who want to go to their vehicle because “I forgot something. I’ll just be a minute.”  Or one of the most common “I’m smoking I’ll be standing right here!”

Any and all of these can result in someone getting into the building for unknown purposes. In my career, I’ve heard nearly all the excuses and chided my officers for allowing any and all of them. In most cases it was because they had formed a too close and comfortable friendship with employees.

But I have also been over ridden by supervisors and managers on more than one occasion as well. And since I was a lowly security contractor I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to question them, although I did make a note of it in my notebook and ‘casually’ mentioned something. A couple of times this lax attitude came to no good.

One time employees became fearful because an individual came into the building, after a smoker left the door propped open to go to their vehicle. This individual began threatening employees and complaining about the company taking away the scenery of a park.

Another time, at a different client, employees were propositioned by a homeless man with a firearm. Yet another time in a different city 3 individuals were caught trying to steal computers. At the same location 25 computers disappeared several weeks before.

All because doors were left propped open for one reason or another. “Just this once. It won’t happen again. I promise.” Yet, it did happen again and continued to occur until measures were put into place to combat it. Those measures?

Alarms on the doors if left open too long…30 seconds.

Access cards necessary to gain access to any and all doors of the facility

Smoking allowed in only one area out of sight of the main entrance

Security officers posted at every door that needed to be open for an extended time with the time billed to the department’s budget

These along with several others, technological and physical, were implemented.

Of course the attitude that ‘just his once’ or ‘it can’t happen here’ are more dangerous than just the theft of computers or other materials. As illustrated above it could have led to the death of more than one employee.

The main issue here is simple. As security professionals we can’t allow either ourselves or our officers to accede to the wishes of employees, management, or visitors when it comes to opening doors, not even if we know or trust them. The policies and procedures are in place to safeguard the lives of those inside and if we bypass them…then we could be putting those lives in danger.

Am I saying there aren’t circumstances where we shouldn’t bypass the policies? Of course not, because there may come a time when it is clearly necessary to do so. A person running to escape someone wishing to assault them. Hurricanes, tornados, mind numbing cold, sweltering heat and the like.

But you have to have policies and procedures in place for these. And your officers need to be trained on them and in the use of selective judgement. There may also be the possibility that disciplinary action needs to be taken if they are allowed to violate the protocols.

You can never allow employees or officers to say it’ll never happen again. Or be influenced by how attractive someone is, male or female, how well they know someone, or any other. The following cliché that I learned decades ago needs to be told and reiterated ad nauseam if necessary, into them at all times; you have NO friends while you are at work.

Facebook.com/oneistoomany or Twitter: @robertsollars2

            I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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