John Davies, Managing Director at TDSi, has shared his views on how to juggle reducing risks and getting the price right when it comes to access control and security.
When you think of access control and security, this often conjures up an image of formidable protection, putting up barriers that will repulse all intruders and ensure people and property are fully protected.
However, in the real world where (for most organisations at least) budgets must be met, this is of course only half the story. Like most purchases, buying access control and security means understanding what you need balanced against the resources you have.
In these times of inflation and even greater economic scrutiny, it’s never been more important to fully appreciate and understand the dynamics of Risk vs Cost.
Accurately assessing Risk is of course at the centre of any successful security system and this is where having expert assistance is crucial. A professional security integrator or installer will be able to accurately assess the genuine risks and suggest, consult, and design a solution which factors this in correctly.
For organisations looking to update or upgrade their security solutions, often one of the biggest factors is the unknown – or in other words, ‘You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know’! From opportunistic thieves up to the latest cyberthreats, industrial espionage, or even terrorists or rogue states (looking to attack key industries or infrastructure for example), organisations of all shapes and sizes can face seemingly random and certainly unexpected threats from a wide variety of malicious actors.
Different types of facilities and locations are another big consideration. Different organisations will certainly face different threats, but equally the threats to different sites within the same business can vary greatly. Sometimes a ‘One Size Fits All’ approach will work across a whole organisation, but a good security specifier will look at each site individually to see how these fit into the bigger picture.
Risk can also be highly complex based upon both the value of the premises and what is contained in it. For example, a pharmacy is unlikely to contain the same value of assets as a bank, however it may attract more unwanted attention due to the inherent value of drugs to criminals and relative perceived ease of attack, even if the overall monetary value is less.
On top of this, the nature of risk will also vary. A storage yard containing building supplies and heavy plant machinery is likely to be targeted by a professional gang of thieves, whereas a retail store is more likely to suffer from lone or opportunist shoplifters. Both are at risk from theft, but the modus operandi for each is very different and needs a different security approach.
The other side of the equation is Cost, and this is where the services of a professional security integrator or installer are equally important.
A good security professional will understand the operational and commercial pressures and needs of a business or organisation just as much as the security technology being supplied. This can range from a small SME organisation with a handful of employees right up to a large multinational enterprise, but there is likely to always be some level of budget involved.
The allowance of cost will also be closely linked to risk and the value of the facilities in question – a large datacentre for example has more intrinsic value (as an essential enabler of modern infrastructure) as well as physical value as an asset, than the administration building owned by the same company.
Therefore, the ‘value’ of the asset being protected will change and so should the security budget allocation too. If an endless budget isn’t available (which is usually the case) then a balance needs to be found against delivering the best solution for the money available.
Innovative ways to address risks and reduce costs
There are of course numerous ways to expertly balance Risk Vs Cost without short-changing either aspect, which can include:
Prioritisation: By prioritising security measures based on the risks and objectives you’ve identified, you can focus on addressing high-impact, high-probability threats first. This may involve allocating more resources to critical areas and accepting lower levels of security in others, but it’s a good way of directing the budget to where it is most needed and most effective.
Scalability: By investing in well integrated and scalable security systems such as those from TDSi you can plan for future growth and expand or upgrade as your security needs change or as your budget increases.
Re-using legacy systems: TDSi’s systems for example have a high degree of compatibility and integration capabilities with other current and even older systems, which means less ‘rip and replace’ where it isn’t needed. As with scalability, you can decide when components need to be changed or upgraded and mix and match new and old, to gain the security you need at the right price to match your budget.
Choose your supplier carefully: A reputable security manufacturer such as TDSi will offer you long-term investment solutions and components which are cost-effective options without compromising quality.
We look to add additional cost savings and performance enhancements whenever possible, such as the update to our GARDiS Web Embedded Access Control System, which now includes up to 12 Doors (up from eight before) as standard thanks to a firmware update, at no extra cost. These choices are also important when you consider long-term maintenance and support costs – systems which have a longer service life obviously deliver better ROI and fewer re-installation costs within the same timeframe.
Risk Vs Cost will always be important, but as we have seen here the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. If you get expert help to thoroughly assess the risks, agree on the budgets available, and look at finding a sensible balance it is entirely possible to find a solution which does everything it needs to do without costing a king’s ransom.