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 Business Continuity International


Building Security

How Safe and Secure is your location?

You may be surprised to learn the ingenious ways infiltrators penetrate your facility. Look at access control, security staff and contractors and vendors, the importance of creating a relationships enforcement and emergency services, and protecting your people your power and utilities.  

COMMITMENT
The first issue to address is management’s commitment to loss prevention and control. These efforts, initially, reduce the bottom line; they don’t improve the bottom line! Loss prevention, which ties directly into Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity, doesn’t turn a profit or make any money for the corporation. This, to some management folks, makes loss prevention hard to grasp or even unimportant.

 Is the management of the organisation truly interested in preventing losses, or ignorant of the concepts? If management is unwilling to commit to a rigid program of loss prevention and control, history tells us that the facility they manage may well be the lead story on the ten o’clock news. Commitment is reflected in programs that keep the loss prevention features in line with change. How does a company manage change? 

All of the decisions regarding loss prevention and control involve cost-benefit analyses. For example, it is probably a waste of money to provide any protection for a facility not worth, or valued at, the cost of the proposed protection. Not every facility in the world needs to be protected to the extreme, and some places aren’t worth the costs.  

This page addresses some of these issues, and suggests strategies to make your company the one that bounces back quickly. "It won’t happen to us" has destroyed too many companies; don’t let yours be the next!

 

Facility Evaluation
Business Continuity International`s  facility evaluation provides a professional, unbiased assessment of your data center operating environment and associated support systems. The facility evaluation covers all aspects of the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of the facility. Our evaluation will help reduce the risks of a prolonged outage of data processing services.

Physical Planning and Construction
The environment housing critical computer and communications equipment is reviewed to identify potential hazards that may adversely affect ongoing operations. Associated electrical and mechanical support equipment rooms and areas are also included in this portion of the review.

Mechanical Systems
The facility power, air conditioning, ventilation, and plumbing systems, which support data processing and other critical operations, are reviewed. Emphasis is placed on the mechanical systems’ design and installation for the adequacy, redundancy, and reliability to sustain continuous operations.

Electrical Distribution Systems
The electrical systems serving the data center and other critical areas are reviewed to determine potential single points of failure that may affect ongoing operations. Capacities of equipment are also evaluated to determine the adequacy for accommodating future growth requirements.

Fire Protection Systems
The facility fire detection, alarm, and suppression systems are reviewed. The effectiveness of the overall systems is reviewed together with maintenance, personnel training, and responsive actions.

The Facility Evaluation

Identifies potential failure modes and threats to critical operating environments.

Determines whether support systems can be maintained and serviced without interfering with the normal operations of critical computer and communications systems.

Determines physical requirements for computer and communications growth and equipment upgrades.

Provides recommendations for facility corrective actions that complement disaster recovery programs.

Provides conceptual planning and development of construction budgets to minimize existing single points of failure.

At the completion of the evaluation, we prepare a formal report and review. Budgetary costs for the recommendations are also developed. The report provides the client with a better understanding of conditions or events that could potentially disrupt operations and identifies limitations of the facility and support systems that could impede future growth.

Implementation of the recommendations for enhancements or modifications to the facility will result in a more secure and reliable operating environment.

Know your building:    

Business Continuity International can provide you with a full building assessment on and not limited to the following:

  • Structural

  • Infrastructure including:  alarm systems, biometrics, CCTV, Smart Card Access control

  • Mechanical and Electrical Including: VESDA, Gensets, UPS, Water Detection, Air Con

  • Physical Security Including: Guards, Smart Card Access Control, Biometrics

  • Bomb direction analysis

  • Infiltration opportunities

  • Personnel

  • Fire Hazards

  • Health and Safety

Loss Control is about staying in business, no matter what. Have you done what you can do to your facilities to improve your chances for uninterrupted operations?

SPRINKLERS
Industry has long looked at automatic sprinkler protection as the baseline for limiting fire in facilities. Fire is still the biggest headache in industrial loss prevention. If management wants to limit the size of a fire where combustible construction or combustible occupancy exists, sprinklers should be provided. This isn’t cheap, and the design of the system must be correct or the money may as well be thrown away.

Where sprinklers exist, they control 96% of all industrial fires! In the event of a fire, the statistics weigh heavily in favor of sprinklers. The 4% that aren’t controlled can always be traced back to poor practices, such as improper design or poor maintenance. Sprinklers work – their track record is impeccable. But are they for everyone? Maybe not; the cost of the installation has to be weighed against the benefits. Some points to consider:

  •  Sprinklers save lives; how much consideration should this be given?
  • How important are the operations in the areas to be sprinkled?
  • How long will it take to get a return on the investment?
  • Where will this ‘return on investment’ come from? Insurance premium reductions? Tax reductions?
  • Will this affect the resale value of the property?  

To have sprinklers work properly, there also must be an adequate water supply. This could be a connection to a public water system, or a private installation involving pumps and static supplies. The amount of water needed is based on the design of the sprinkler systems, which will be based on the hazards in the facility.

CONSTRUCTION
The construction of the facility must match the operations within. In an existing structure, there may not be much that can be done in this area. However, building construction can be used to segregate values, and reduce exposures to loss from one area to another. In new structures, this can be built in; in existing facilities, it can be added.

Will smoke or heat destroy the building or its contents? If so, maybe fire barriers are in order. A good rule of thumb is to always divide the warehousing areas from the manufacturing facilities using firewalls or barriers. If the warehouse burns down, the plant can still manufacture; if the manufacturing operation is damaged, the company can still sell out of the warehouse; if they’re both gone….

SURVEILLANCE
When nobody is on the site, (weekends or holidays?) the idle facility may become a concern. Are there extremely sensitive operations or materials to worry about? Must all areas be "watched"? Alarm systems and security personnel are an extension of management–the eyes and ears of those not there. Any surveillance system must be made to fit the property; one size does not fit all.

An alarm system that signals when the sprinkler system activates may be enough. It depends on the operations, the value of the place, and the comfort level management wants to achieve. Undetected idle plant incidents are always bigger; a problem in a facility without surveillance always has a head start—and a potentially lethal one.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
Many industrial facilities contain operations that are extremely hazardous. As such, "ordinary" sprinkler protection or the building’s construction features may not be enough to contain a problem, such as an explosion. Management should consider conducting a good risk and hazard analysis. Problems can be identified; special hazards protection needs and solutions can be evaluated. There are many ways to conduct hazard and risk analysis—again using computerized programs. It can be as simple as asking operations people "What if…?" Or it may involve a probability-based program, spelling out the "chances" that something may happen. There are also consultants with expertise in this field. Management gets to decide how deeply this gets examined, and which tools to use. Once again, management’s commitment is imperative.

Industry is private, and many times the public responders are only capable of protecting the public from industrial accidents. There are many instances where the public responders have not gone onto industrial property because they were not properly prepared. And in some cases, management would rather have the public fire service stay outside the property during an incident. Each individual site will be different; knowing the differences takes communications with all responders involved. Have you had a face-to-face meeting with the local responders in your area to discuss possible incidents?

Suppose the fire department responded to a fire in a plant and said they wouldn’t fight the fire because they didn’t know how to handle the chemicals that may be burning. And there is nobody on the site trained to fight the fire either; no in-house fire brigade, and the hazardous materials team isn’t trained to handle burning hazardous materials. (A hazmat team may be prepared to handle spills, but what about fires with hazardous materials?) What happens? Everyone looks at each other while the place goes up in smoke and the hazardous materials create a disaster. This has happened in the past, and it will happen again. What is your management’s level of commitment?

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK !
Once the components of protection are in place, they must be maintained. This is where management’s commitment will be most obvious. Most people won’t spend money to buy something that isn’t maintained. If plans and programs for loss prevention are in place and properly maintained, a potentially disastrous situation can remain small and manageable. When the plans and programs aren’t complete, or they have not been maintained, the situation escalates. Management must plan for the unthinkable. If the plans are in place and well thought out, the unthinkable might never occur.

Again, there are many tools to help in this area; the two most important being training and software programs. The training is available all over the world, and today it can be customized to fit. Insurance companies, contractors and consultants have programs to train people on all types of loss prevention equipment and procedures. Business continuity and disaster recovery experts are valuable in this area. The computer with specialized software makes scheduling simple. Programs are available for everything encountered in loss prevention maintenance and testing, business continuity planning and disaster management.

Keep in mind that management also has the choice to do nothing. "It won’t happen to us." Many people view this as a viable alternative. Every choice has consequences, some of which are not nearly as pleasant as others. Everyone can choose how far to go. There is no secret formula to keeping a building standing, avoiding disaster or keeping the business operating. The principles are there, and have been for 150 years. Loss prevention and control is the best way to achieve business continuity make sure that the disaster never occurs, and if it does, it stays small.

 

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