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Levels of Physical Security

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Table of contents

  1. Minimum Security
  2. Low level Security
  3. Medium Security
  4. High Level Security
  5. Maximum Security

Physical security is necessary for an organization to protect its resources. However, no security system is completely secure. Physical security protects personnel, information, physical resources, systems, facilities and organization assets (Harris, 2013). Any system developed can be bypassed. Organizations always concentrate on technological and administration controls and so, intrusion may not be discovered instantly (Oriyano, 2014). If a system is developed to protect an organization from threats, it should have some weak links; for instance, an alarm system or a perimeter wall. In case the security system developed cannot fully provide protection from threats, it should delay the threat until the system can be up graded. Various parts of a security system cannot achieve the intended objective unless integrated in the right proportions. Lack of standards in security systems often deludes personnel responsible for the security systems into believing they provide high standard security systems for their organization than is often the case. The team should identify key performance indicators (KPIs) to raise the security program (Santander, 2010) KPIs ought to be monitored timely, quarterly, current year, and over years (Wailgum, 2005).

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The following security levels give a clear explanation on levels of security systems:

  • Minimum Security
  • Low-Level Security
  • Medium Security
  • High Level Security
  • Maximum Security

Minimum Security

Minimum Security Systems are developed to obstruct some unauthorized external activities. These unwarranted external activities are outlined as emanating outside the scope of the minimum security system and could span from a basic intrusion to an armed intrusion.

From the definition, a minimum security system could include very basic physical security systems like basic doors and windows made with regular locks. The most appropriate example for a place with minimum security system is an average American home.

Low level Security

Low level security systems are security systems that obstruct and detect some unauthorized external activities. When basic physical security barriers and locks have been developed, other barriers are always added in the security system implementation for instance reinforced doors, gates, high security locks and window bars and grates. Also, a basic lighting system that could be nothing more complicated than the regular security lighting systems over windows and doors and a regular security alarm system which would be an unattended device at the location of unauthorized intrusion which gives detection ability and sound alerts. Some of the places that implement low level security systems include storage houses, retail stores, and small business premises.

Medium Security

Medium security systems are security systems that obstruct, detect and evaluate some unauthorized internal activities and most unauthorized external activities. Some of these activities could be basic shop theft to intentions to commit sabotage.

Given a security system is developed into the medium level security, the minimum-and low-level uses previously developed into the system are extended with obstruction and detection capabilities and the threat evaluation capabilities. So as to achieve medium-level of physical security, it is important to:

  1. Use an advanced threat intrusion security alarm system that gives sound alerts at a manned remote location.
  2. Develop a perimeter fence past the confines of the location that is being protected from unauthorized intrusion and place advanced physical security barriers like intrusion resistant fences which are not less than eight feet high and extended with coaxial strands of barbed tape or barbed wire at that perimeter fence, or place guard-dogs in place of perimeter protection.
  3. Put in place unarmed guard (with primary training) armed with the ability of basic communication (e.g., cooperate telephone) to off-location agencies.

Medium security systems are often used in giant industrial producing plants, some giant stores, bonded warehouses, and armories.

High Level Security

High-level security systems are security systems that obstruct, detect and evaluate most unauthorized internal activities and most unauthorized external activities.

After those measures previously mentioned have been incorporated into the system, high-level security is realized with the addition of the following:

  1. State-of-the-art equipment installed.
  2. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) with state-of-the-art components and installation.
  3. A perimeter alarm system, remotely monitored, at or near the high-security physical barriers.
  4. High security lighting, which at a minimum provides at least 0.02 foot-candles of light around the entire facility.
  5. Highly trained armed guards or unarmed watch people who have been screened for employment and who are equipped with advanced means of communications, such as dedicated telephone lines, two-way radio links to police, and duress alarms.
  6. Controls designed to restrict access to or within a facility to authorized personnel such as using access control and/or biometrics.
  7. Formal plans prepared with the knowledge and cooperation of police dealing with their response and assistance in the event of specific contingencies at the protected site.
  8. Varying degrees of coordination with local law enforcement authorities.
  9. Annual assessment or security audits conducted.

Examples of high-level security sites include certain prisons, defense contractors, pharmaceutical companies, and sophisticated electronics manufacturers.

After those measures antecedently mentioned are incorporated into the system, high-level security is accomplished with the addition of the following:

  1. Addition of Advanced Equipment.
  2. CCTV with progressive parts and installation.
  3. An alarm at the perimeter fence, remotely monitored, at to the high-security physical location.
  4. Very high security lighting, with at least 0.02 foot-candles of lighting round the whole place.
  5. Guards with advance training or unarmed watchmen who have been screened before hiring in possession of advanced communications skills.
  6. Controls developed to limit access within a facility to unapproved personnel like biometric controls.
  7. Formal plans on response in case of any contingencies.
  8. Various level of engagement with law enforcement authorities.
  9. Annual assessment or security audits carried out.

High-level security is often used in some prisons, pharmaceutical firms, and advance electronic industries.

Maximum Security

Such a system is intended to impede, detect, assess, and neutralize all unauthorized external and internal activity. Additionally to those measures already cited, it’s characterized by:

  1. A refined, progressive alarm system too robust for defeat by a lone individual, remotely monitored in one or a lot of protected locations, tamper-indicating with a backup supply of power.
  2. Instant response force of extremely screened and trained people armed twenty four hours every day, equipped for contingency operations and dedicated to neutralizing or containing any threat against the protected facility till the arrival of off-site help.

The highest level of physical security protection can he found at nuclear facilities, some prisons, bound military bases and government special analysis sites, and a few foreign embassies. To upgrade a security system to consequent highest level, all criteria for that level should be met. Bear in mind that individual criteria from a better level of security will be done without upgrading the full system. For instance, if a medium security facility establishes access controls and installs a CCTV system, the over-all level of security has not been upgraded to a high level. Electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference can lead to disruption to communication-systems like cellular, computer network, phone, auditory, radio, television, etcetera (Stewart, Chapple & Gibson, 2012). Noise is comes from arching equipment, solid-state rectifiers with loads, improper grounding, control devices, arching equipment, and power supply switching (CEDIA, 2008). The reality is, what results could be a medium-security system with some high-level characteristics. Counting on its capabilities, high-level security systems might bring home the bacon by the extension of a neutralizing capability. By exploitation fashionable strategies, materials, and technology, a maximum-security system will be developed or system upgraded.

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Maximum security systems are mostly used in Federal Prisons, military equipment industries and nuclear firms.

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